New Art

In Spain the art produced before the Spanish Civil War lacked the plastic radicalism of the French isms, although it did boast some original proposals. The first news of the avant-garde did not arrive until 1909, although the presence of French and Latin American artists in the country did stimulate artistic exchange, as did the return of a number of Spanish artists during World War One: Celso Lagar, who produced his own synthesis of the isms, alongside Uruguayan artists Rafael Barradas and Joaquín Torres-García in Barcelona. In Madrid, Barradas also exerted an influence on the early work of Salvador Dalí and Moreno Villa.

However, the early days of the avant-garde in Spain coincided with the return to more conservative styles in the rest of Europe in what was known as the ‘return to order’. To the example of classical Picasso we could add those of André Derain, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Carlo Carrà and Giorgio Morandi. Catalan painter Josep de Togores was one of the first Spanish artists to adopt the new trend on French soil. In Barcelona the ‘return to order’ extended the currency of Noucentisme, while in Madrid it gave rise to what was known as the 1925 Style, one of the best representatives of which was Benjamín Palencia.

Palencia, Francisco Bores and Pancho Cossío, among others, moved to Paris between the years 1922 and 1926, where they joined the so-called School of Paris. In the late twenties and early thirties they developed a sort of lyrical figuration that combined Cubist elements with the plastic freedom of Surrealism, that was widespread in the French art scene of the period. In the case of Bores and Cossío, this type of pure painting would continue to be produced well after the thirties.

  • The Reader

    José Moreno Villa
    The Reader
    c. 1924

    Oil on canvas.
    73 x 59 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
  • Conversation under the Olive Trees

    Henri Matisse
    Conversation under the Olive Trees

    Oil on canvas.
    100 x 82 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Succession H. Matisse, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Artuby Valley

    Josep de Togores i Llach
    Artuby Valley
    c. 1924

    Oil on canvas.
    46 x 65 cm
    © José De Togores Llach, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Still Life with Flowers and Pears

    Francisco Bores
    Still Life with Flowers and Pears

    Oil on canvas.
    46.5 x 55.2 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Francisco Bores, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011