Mixed media on canvas, 194.5 x 170 cm
Acquired in 1985
Large Oval is one of Tàpies’ first masterpieces, produced shortly after he had begun to experiment with the abstraction of Art Informel and matter painting. It is characterised by its formal simplicity, the sober presence of matter, shapes, signs and scratches and a moderate range of colour, limited to variants of ochre and grey, typical of old walls. The titles of Tàpies’ works always refer to the specific formal, iconographic, objectival or chromatic motifs they contain, stressing their materiality, their textual and physical nature. However, the evocative lyrical capacity and the contemplative solemnity that emanate from his oeuvre make it one of the most profound existential reflections in twentieth-century art. In 1953 Tàpies’ initially Surrealist oeuvre began to develop in two directions: towards the drama of Existentialism, on the one hand, and towards the meditative attitude of Zen Buddhism, on the other. The Catalan painter is probably the most complex and creative example of matter painting, one of the main branches of Art Informel previously developed by Fautrier and Dubuffet. The introduction of gestural marks, signs and waste materials, and the creation of three-dimensional works have enhanced the painter’s evolution, by means of which he has made significant contributions to both Arte Povera and Installation Art. [J.V.]
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.
Cristóbal Balenciaga (Guetaria, Guipúzcoa, 1895–Valencia, 1972) is one of the most important designers in fashion history. He was born in the small coastal town of Guetaria, in the province of Guipúzcoa, where his mother worked as a seamstress. At the tender age of 13, Balenciaga copied a dress belonging to the Marquesa (Marchioness) of Casa Torres. After such a precocious start, the Marquesa became his patron and sent him to Paris to train in haute couture.
En 1913 he opened his own studio in San Sebastian, which was at the time one of the aristocracy’s favourite holiday resorts. The success of his creations, instantly recognizable by the geometric beauty of their cut, his profound understanding of the fabrics he used and the exquisite harmony of his colour ranges helped him to perfect his craft and soon encouraged him to open boutiques in Barcelona and Madrid. This early experience in dressmaking left an indelible mark on his idea of couture, to be seen clearly in the superb cut that characterizes his creations and the masterly handling of the quality of the finest fabrics.
In 1937 he decided it was time to step into the international fashion arena, which he did by opening a boutique for haute couture at number 10 on Paris’s chic avenue George V. Over three decades in the capital of the fashion world, Balenciaga reigned supreme as the ultimate benchmark in haute couture; every collection came replete with innovations as he continued on an obsessive search for a feminine ideal of perfection and elegance. In Paris he also forged the legend of himself as the ultimate hermetic male who shunned high-powered social events. This was his way of drawing attention to himself and earning the admiration of international fashion critics and the loyalty of a clientele of high-society women from Europe and the United States. Balenciaga’s undisputed predominance lasted until May 1968, when he closed all his salons, as prêt-à-porter took the fashion world by storm.
Balenciaga. Designing the limits contains 35 examples of haute couture from the collections of the Basque regional government, the Cristóbal Balenciaga Foundation, and two private collections in the Basque Country and Madrid. The exhibition is an exceptional staging divided into seven different ambiences, taking visitors on a fascinating itinerary of the creations of one of the greatest fashion designers to have graced the golden age of haute couture.
Babeslea • Patrocinador • Sponsor
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