Lyrical Abstraction and Normative Art

The decade of the fifties witnessed the opening of Spain’s borders, as a result of which news of a new artistic trend virtually unknown in the country began to arrive: Abstract Art.

The first debates on abstraction in Spain date back to 1949. In 1953 the first International Abstract Art Conference held in Santander revealed the importance of non-representational art among young Spanish painters. However, Abstract Art was chiefly fuelled by the trips that local artists made to Paris and by the travelling exhibitions Spain welcomed from abroad, such as the show devoted to American painting presented in 1958 at the Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid.

As was the case in other countries, the new nonrepresentational styles ranged from the lyrical abstraction indebted to Kandinsky and exemplified by the early paintings of Luis Feito, the oeuvre of Albert Ràfols-Casamada and Manuel Hernández Mompó, to the normative abstraction of Gerardo Rueda, whose works are characterised by a geometry closer to the precision of music than to the coldness of mathematics.

  • Blue-Red Composition (Seascape)

    Alfred Manessier
    Blue-Red Composition (Seascape)

    Oil on canvas.
    41 x 62 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Alfred Manessier, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Composition

    Luis Feito

    Gouache on paper.
    50 x 31 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Luis Feito, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Low Tide

    Albert Ràfols i Casamada
    Low Tide

    Oil on canvas.
    114 x 146 cm
    © Albert Ràfols I Casamada, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011