From Surrealism to Art Informel

The Spanish Civil War entailed a brusque interruption in the renewal of Spanish art. Almost ten years would pass before a new generation of artists emerged in the late forties, and even then this was only possible thanks to the support of a small number of critics, dealers and collectors active in the thirties.

Once the country’s borders had been closed, young Spanish artists turned their gaze at Surrealism, a movement that had marked many of the artistic initiatives before the war, such as the II International Exhibition of Surrealism held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1935. Another relevant factor was the prestige of Surrealists painters Dalí and Miró, especially the latter, who became a model for the new generation of artists.

The styles of Antoni Tàpies and Antonio Saura evolved from the Surrealism inspired by Miró of their early works to the Art Informel of their mature paintings. Tàpies forsook the magical realism characterising the works in his «Dau al Set» period to delve deeper into the expressiveness of matter and the evocative capacity of walls, in a formal divestment process similar to those carried out by Slovenian artist Zoran Music. In his turn, Saura concluded his ‘constellations’ and ‘landscapes of the subconscious’ and in the mid-fifties experimented with several techniques that verged on Surrealist automatism. After this experimental period, around 1957 he began to produce his mature works within a gestural figuration in sober colours, inspired by Goya and by traditional seventeenth-century Spanish painting.

  • Composició

    Antoni Tàpies i Puig

    Oil on canvas.
    60 x 81 cm
    © Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona / VEGAP, Madrid, 2011
  • Caña

    Antonio Saura

    Oil on canvas.
    196 x 130 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Succession Antonio Saura,, VEGAP, 2011
  • Petitcastell de focs al pla de la calma

    Pere Jaume Borrell i Guinart
    Petitcastell de focs al pla de la calma

    Oil on canvas.
    81 x 130 cm
    © Perejaume, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011