On Beauty and the Sacred is the first survey of the entire oeuvre of Isabel Baquedano (Mendavia, Navarra, 1929 - Madrid, 2018), one of the most personal figures in Spanish painting in the second half of the 20th century. As encapsulated by the words of the painter Juan José Aquerreta, 'Isabel's fate was painting', a vocational yearning which stayed with her throughout her entire life.
Renowned in the 1960s as the driving force behind the Pamplona School, and a highly respected artist in restricted circles her work enjoyed early recognition by expert critics, and she showed them regularly in Madrid and the Basque Country Baquedano, who soon stopped signing and dating her paintings, sought not fame but instead the pure exercise of painting. This is why she is little-known by the public at large, and that was the main reason why the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum has now organised this exhibition with the twofold objective of sharing her works and furthering awareness of her.
On Beauty and the Sacred brings together more than 150 paintings and 50 drawings most of them held by the family and private collectors chosen by the sculptor Ángel Bados, Isabel's friend who is very familiar with her work, and by Miriam Alzuri, an officer in the museum's Exhibition Department.
The works chosen include Table (1979), an iconic piece whose 'silence' has often been compared to the stripped-down still lifes by Zurbarán and Morandi.
Grouped into series, the paintings and drawings offer viewers a sweeping survey of the artist's long professional career and life, while also revealing the topics that interested her which she explored via her art. As explained in the introductory essay to the catalogue by Adelina Moya Valgañón, 'Her entire career was a constant flux, a quest depending on her motivations and her mental elaboration of the concept of painting, in which feeling was always the point of departure'.
The catalogue that the museum is publishing with the exhibition is particularly valuable, since to date no monographic study of Isabel Baquedano has been conducted. Contributors to the catalogue include Ángel Bados and Miriam Alzuri, the writer Ignacio Gómez de Liaño and the art historian and former professor at the University of the Basque Country Adelina Moya Valgañón.
Author: Miriam Alzuri, Ángel Bados, Ignacio Gómez de Liaño y Adelina Moya Valgañón
Date of publication: 28/10/2019
Measures: 20 x 24 cm
No. of pages: 272
No. of illustrations: 156 (color)