Antonio Saura

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Antonio Saura (born September 22, 1930 in Huesca , † July 22, 1998 in Cuenca ) was a Spanish artist.


Antonio Saura was born in Huesca. His father was employed in the Ministry of Finance, his mother was a pianist, and his brother is the film director Carlos Saura . Tuberculosis forced the adolescent Antonio to be completely calm for five years, which prompted him to start painting and writing in 1947. He experimented with creating images. He received his artistic influences first from Hans Arp and Yves Tanguy . He developed a personal style early on in numerous drawings and paintings with a surrealistic “dream world character”. Imaginary landscapes in particular were created using a flat and liquid applied, rich color material. After a first stay in Paris in 1952, he returned there in 1954 and 1955. There he met Benjamin Péret and was briefly among the surrealists, which he soon left with his painter friend Simon Hantaï . He turned to the technique of grattage . Using his gestural style, he found a radically abstract, always colored painting, with an organic- aleatoric conception.

He often worked on the surface of the canvas in different working methods, making use of formal, very specific structural elements that he continued to develop. This is how the first forms emerged that mutated into archetypal models of the female body or human heads. These two basic themes made up the majority of his further work. From 1956 Saura began with his extensive series of works: Ladies, Nudes, Self-Portraits, Sweatcloths, Crucifixions, which he painted on canvas or on paper, sometimes using the collage technique.

In 1957 he was a co-founder of the El Paso artist group in Madrid, which he directed until it was dissolved in 1960. He got to know the French art critic and collector Michel Tapié . His first solo exhibition was shown at Rodolphe Stadler's in Paris, where he exhibited regularly throughout his life. The gallery owner introduced him to Otto van de Loo in Munich and Pierre Matisse in New York, both of whom also exhibited and represented him. From this time on, Saura's color palette was limited to black, gray and brown. Because of his very own style, he remained independent of the artistic movements and tendencies of his generation. His work can be seen as a continuation of Velázquez and Goya .

From 1959 onwards he produced an extensive oeuvre of graphic works, including original illustrations for Cervantes ' Don Quixote , Orwell's 1984 , Pinocho ( Pinocchio ) in the version by Christine Nöstlinger , Kafka's diaries, Quevedo's Trois visions and numerous other texts. From 1960 he worked with sculpture, welding various metal elements together to create human heads, entire figures or crucifixions. From 1967 he lived exclusively in Paris. He was involved in the resistance against the Franco regime and took part in numerous discussions and debates on questions of politics, aesthetics or artistic creation. The subject matter and the creation of images became richer from then on. The cycles “Frau-Stuhl”, imaginary portraits, Goya's dog and Goya's imaginary portraits were created. In 1971 he turned away from painting on canvas (but returned to this work carrier in 1979) and devoted himself to writing, as well as drawing and painting on paper. From 1977 his writings were published. He also created several sets for theater, ballet and opera. From 1983 until his untimely death he took up his themes and characters again and developed them into an extensive work.

Antonio Saura died in Cuenca in 1998.

Exhibitions (selection)

  • 1959: documenta II , Kassel
  • 1964: documenta III , Kassel
  • 1963: Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
  • 1964: documenta III Kassel, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • 1966: Institute for Contemporary Art, London
  • 1974: M-11, Seville (Spain)
  • 1977: documenta 6 , Kassel
  • 1979: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • 1979: Galerie Lauter , Mannheim
  • 1981: Caja de la Inmaculada, Saragossa (Spain)
  • 1985/86: Galerie Lauter, Mannheim
  • 1986: Neue Galerie, Aachen (today Ludwig Forum for International Art)
  • 1989: Musée d'art et d'histoire, Geneva
  • 1994 Museum of Modern Art, Lugano
  • 2002: Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg
  • 2003: National Museum Krakow
  • 2012/13: Retrospective at the Museum Wiesbaden , Wiesbaden

Prices (selection)

  • 1960 Guggenheim Prize New York
  • 1979 Prize of the First European Graphic Biennale, Heidelberg
  • 1982 Gold Medal for Fine Arts of the Spanish State
  • 1995 Great Art Prize of the City of Paris (France)

Public collections (selection)

  • New National Gallery, Berlin
  • Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
  • Folkwang Museum, Essen
  • Städelsches Kunstinstitut and Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main
  • Archbishop's Diocesan Museum, Cologne
  • Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim
  • Pinakothek der Moderne, State Museum for Applied Arts, Munich
  • Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
  • Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao
  • Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao
  • Musée National d'Art Moderne, Center Georges Pompidou, Paris Cedex 04
  • Musée Picasso Antibes, Antibes
  • Tate Modern, London
  • Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  • Boijmans-Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
  • Musée d'Art Moderne, Brussels
  • Ateneumin Taidemuseo, Valtion Taidemuseo, Ateneum Art Museum - Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki
  • Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek
  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • Museum of Modern Art, Vienna
  • The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires
  • Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro
  • Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Brochure michel tapié. Retrieved January 28, 2020 (English).
  2. Result for 'antonio saura'., accessed January 28, 2020 .