Paris, France, 1848-Atuona, Islas Marquesas, 1903
Oil on canvas, 74 x 92 cm
Contributed by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia in 1920
Washerwomen in Arles was painted in that French town, where Gauguin settled late in 1888 summoned by Vincent van Gogh, who hoped to found a community of artists there. The work captures the painter’s concern in emphasising expressiveness over and above formalism, which entailed his final break with Impressionism. This principle, for which Gauguin coined the term Syntheticism, was characterised by non-mimetic representations of nature, the rejection of the third dimension taken from Japanese prints and the separation of colour in broad contrasted planes by means of dark lines. Exceptional features of the work are the abstract background, the impression of movement, the photographic framing that silhouettes certain elements, the flat shapes with dark contours and the areas of pure colour. The distortion and rigidity of the figures betray the influence of the rough stone statuary in Breton churches. In the last few decades of the nineteenth century Gauguin, who began to paint late in life, led the transformation of Impressionist principles into more subjective forms of expression. His artistic language was determined by his trips to Pont-Aven and Arles, not to mention the South Seas. The brightness of the colours and the light in Polynesia and the close ties between the indigenous society and nature caused a great impression on the painter; consequently, the exotic locations and primitive beliefs of Brittany and Tahiti, alongside the pictorial expressiveness of his friend Van Gogh became the references that helped materialise his ideas, which were also rendered in prints, ceramics and, in his last years on the island of Hiva-Oa, in sculpture. [J.N.G.]
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.
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THE GUEST WORK
07|02|14 • 10|13|14
09|23|14 • 01|12|15
10|07|14 • 01|19|15
06|10|14 • 09|15|14
05|16|14 • 09|01|14
04|30|14 • 08|25|14