Dublin, Ireland, 1909-Madrid, 1992
Oil on canvas, 198.5 x 147.5 cm
Acquired in 1982
A male figure is reflected in a mirror framed by two white lines, which also depicts part of the circular interior—an arena or a stage for erotic performances—in which it is placed. The geometric and chromatic reduction of the floor, walls and roller blinds forms a sharp contrast with the sensual and elastic treatment of the deformed headless presence that dominates the composition, the plastic quality of which matches the interest that sculpture held for Bacon at the time (he kept a picture of Michelangelo’s Day from the Medici Chapel in his studio). Far from making the room larger, the mirror—a common feature in his oeuvre since the late sixties—stresses the idea of confinement and transforms the viewer into a voyeur of his own distorted reality. Having settled in London in 1925, from 1926 to 1928 Bacon travelled to Berlin, Munich and Paris, where he came into contact with the work of Picasso and Buñuel and began to paint. In the early years of the following decade he produced his first major paintings, albeit the little impact they caused led him to destroy a part of his work and to give up painting completely until 1944. During the fifties he would create his own personal style of figurative painting, inspired by the oeuvre of Rembrandt, Velázquez, Van Gogh and Picasso and by the pioneers of photography. The retrospective exhibition of his works held at the Tate Gallery in 1962 built up his reputation, which was confirmed in 1971 by the huge acclaim of his show at the Grand Palais in Paris. In 1990, two years before his death in Madrid, he visited the Velázquez exhibition at the Prado Museum. [M.G.M.]
Independently of its permanent collection, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum regularly organises temporary exhibition programmes.
Please consult the exhibition calendar for more information about the museum's latest proposals.
Usually classed as a realist painter, Antonio López (born in Tomelloso in 1936) is one of the most idiosyncratic artists at work in Spain after the Civil War. From the 1950s, he has produced drawings, engravings, paintings and sculptures, fashioning an oeuvre of a remarkable technical virtuosity that somehow seems outside time, despite focusing on the realistic representation of living beings and objects. López’s iconographic repertoire always springs from the reality of the visual world and oscillates between scenes of intimacy and the vast outdoors: portraits, still life works, interiors and domestic objects jostle with broad panoramic views.
In 1992 film director Víctor Erice shot the extraordinary El sol del membrillo (The Quince Sun), which concentrates on Antonio López’s creative process, on the intensity with which the artist contemplates objects. This act of rapt attention gives the film a halo of silence and a sensation of time suspended, which moves the viewer to a similar state of meditative absorption. the painter’s highly distinctive use of light contributes enormously to the dreamlike, metaphysical atmosphere, to the suggestion of the visible as a door, slightly ajar, to the invisible.
Despite his realist style, Antonio López has shaped an oeuvre independent from the other, more recent European realist or naturalist trends and from American hyperrealism. What he seeks in the reality that surrounds him are the quotidian aspects that awaken his interest; he works slowly and painstakingly towards his goal of capturing the essence of the sitter or of the objects or the land- and cityscapes portrayed. Curated by historian Guillermo Solana, art director at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, and the artist' s daughter María López, the exhibition will include a very complete overview of the oeuvre of Spanish artist Antonio López.
The selection of around 130 works, oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, represent his most recurrent themes: interiors, where the fantastic and emotive irrupt into daily life, the human figure, landscapes and the famous cityscapes of Madrid and Tomelloso, and his fruit compositions.Although works dated between 1949 and 2010 will be on show, the project concentrates largely on his output from the last two decades, which will include signature works like his earliest, slightly surreal family portraits, the legendary view of Madrid’s Gran Vía and the drawings of his studio. But attention will also be paid to more recent works, some of which are still unfinished and, logically, as yet unseen.
The exhibition as a whole will highlight the slow, meditative process by which Antonio López, one of today’s leading and most admired Spanish artists, arrives at his art.
Babeslea • Patrocinador • Sponsor
Koproduktorea • Coproductor • Coproducer
06|10|14 • 09|15|14
THE GUEST WORK
07|02|14 • 10|13|14
10|07|14 • 01|19|15
05|16|14 • 09|01|14
04|30|14 • 08|25|14
THE GUEST WORK
04|09|14 • 06|30|14