DATE: 7/12/2011 | BY TODD BRADWAY
ARTBOOK | D.A.P. Director of Title Acquisitions Todd Bradway traveled to Madrid, Spain, in late June to attend the opening of renowned figurative painter and sculptor Antonio López’s retrospective exhibition at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. This is the first of three blogs chronicling Todd's stay in Madrid, which included multiple visits to the museum, a studio visit with the artist and his wife, and a trip to TF Editores, who is printing D.A.P.'s forthcoming publication, Antonio López García: Paintings and Sculpture, which will release in the United States in September of this year.
Antonio López’s first museum exhibition in Spain in nearly 20 years opened on June 27, 2011 at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. It is a comprehensive, career spanning exhibition that features over 100 works, including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures. The exhibition is organized thematically—Memory, Madrid, Gran Vía, Trees, Nudes, Characters and Interiors.
The exhibition includes a number of López’s sculptures, including a cast of his enormous 18’ sculpture Woman of Coslada (2010), which is the first thing you see upon entering the museum. A bronze version of this work is permanently installed on Avenida de la Constitución, in Madrid.
The exhibition includes many of López’s best known works, including the masterwork Gran Via (1974-1981). Unlike many of the artist’s other cityscapes, which are often quite large, this is a medium-sized work. As Miguel Fernandez-Cid writes in MFA Boston’s Antonio López Garcia, “this is a human being’s view (of the city), justifying the painting’s more modest scale.” It took López seven years to complete this painting. He worked on site, 20 minutes per day at most, in order to maintain consistent light throughout his working process.
A detail of View of Madrid from Torres Blancas (1974-1982). Torres Blancas is the highrise tower where López positioned himself to paint this image. In the MFA Boston catalogue, Lopez says of the painting: “I realized this (urban landscapes) was a subject I had made my own and that it would stay with me for the rest of my life. A panoramic view of a major city is mankind’s great stage, where individuals lead their lives, and at the same time it is much like the indoor space of my studio. I identify with it.”
The making of the painting Quince Tree (1992) was documented in Victor Erice’s Quince Tree of the Sun, a beautiful film that captures López’s creative process from choice of subject through execution. In Antonio López Garcia, the artist is quoted: “My insistence on painting quince trees is due to the fact that just by looking at them, they convey the beauty of life to me. The aroma of the fruit excites me, and when I sit in the shadow of the quince, it’s as if I were sitting beside someone truly charitable.”
An early morning view of López’s sculpture Carmen Sleeping (2008), installed in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza courtyard.
Antonio López’s sculptures Day and Night (2008) were commissioned by and are permanently installed at the Atocha train station in Madrid, just blocks away from the Reina Sofia. According to Miguel Fernandez-Cid, “the work alludes to the horses of day and night, among which Phidias depicted the birth of Athena on the Parthenon friezes.” For López, this was “one of those commissions that allow you to do something you’ve never done before, such as turn a small sculpture into something huge.”
ARTBOOK | D.A.P. is honored to represent the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisz’s catalog for the exhibition in our Spring 2012 catalog. ABOVE LEFT: the cover of the forthcoming exhibition catalog. ABOVE RIGHT: Pages 228-229, showing two versions of The Table (1971-1980); a collaged drawing and the final work.
FUNDACIóN COLECCIóN THYSSEN-BORNEMISZAClth, 9.5 x 10.75 in. / 264 pgs / 176 color / 45 b&w.
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