Category Archives: Exhibition

Opens Today: Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, NGA, Washington DC, until 17 February 2020

Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain will be the first major exhibition held outside Spain to celebrate the expressive art of the most important sculptor active on the Iberian Peninsula during the first half of the 16th century, Alonso Berruguete. The exhibition will present an impressive range of more than 40 works from across his career, including examples of his earliest paintings from his time in Italy, where he trained. His abilities as draftsman will also be celebrated with the largest group of his drawings ever to be assembled. The primary focus will be on his painted sculptures in wood, which generally decorated large altarpieces, or retablos. The Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid, Spain, will be lending a substantial group of some of his very best figures. A section of one of his altarpieces will be loosely reconstructed in the exhibition to convey an idea of how his sculptures were originally seen.

The exhibition is curated by C. D. Dickerson III, curator and head of sculpture and decorative arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

A fully illustrated catalog accompanying the exhibition will be the first general book on Berruguete published in English and will feature essays by Dickerson as well as Manuel Arias Martínez, deputy director, Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid, and Mark McDonald, curator of Italian, Spanish, Mexican, and early French prints and illustrated books, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas.

It will travel to the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, from March 29 to July 26, 2020.

Click here for more information.

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New Exhibition and CEEH Publication: VALENTÍN CARDERERA Y SOLANO, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid, September 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020

VALENTÍN CARDERERA Y SOLANO (Huesca, 1796 – Madrid, 1880) was a painter, scholar, communicator, collector and traveller. His life was marked by his efforts to safeguard Spain’s historical heritage and he journeyed around much of the Spanish mainland to bear witness in his drawings and watercolours to significant monuments, many at risk of disappearance as a result of the modernising drive ushered in by the new liberal order. Member of the Romantic generation and friends with the Madrazo family, Carderera was also in contact with some other figures like Richard Ford and Prosper Mérimée, with whom he shared the same nostalgia for the past and the need to define his position in the complex debate between tradition and progress.

The exhibition—featuring more than a hundred pieces including paintings, drawings, engravings, manuscripts, books, maps and objects—pays tribute to Carderera’s work and the significant legacy he left in the Biblioteca Nacional de España. In 1867 the Spanish State adquired his collection of drawings and prints: more than 45.000 pieces which enriched the department of Fine Arts with engravings of Mantegna, Dürer and Rembrandt, among others, along with one of the very few drawings attributed to Velázquez. Click here for more information.

The exhibition opens on 27 September in the Biblioteca Nacional de España’s Sala Hipóstila. It was curated by José María Lanzarote Guiral and organised by the Biblioteca Nacional de España and Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica.

It is accompanied by a an exhibition catalogue which reconstructs Carderera’s intense life in six thematic sections, published by CEEH. Until 25 September, the catalogue can be purchased from the CEEH website at special discount price. Click here for more information.

Closing Soon: Balenciaga and Spanish Painting, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, until 22 September 2019

Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Casilda, ca. 1635
Oil on canvas. 171 x 107 cm
© Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Spanish fashion designer’s approach to his designs was informed by his lifelong love of art sparked by his youthful admiration of the paintings owned by clients of his seamstress mother, in particular the Marquis and Marchioness of Casa Torres, who spent their summers in the Palacio Aldamar (also known as Vista Ona) in Getaría. Three of the paintings on display in this exhibition, and loaned by the Prado, were in that collection: Head of an Apostle by Velázquez; Saint Sebastian by El Greco; and Cardinal Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga by Goya. The latter establishes a dialogue with a magnificent red dress suit with a short jacket loaned from the Museo del Traje in Madrid. Balenciaga frequently drew on the heritage of his Spanish homeland, going further than adding flamenco ruffles to his dresses and seeking inspiration by re-imagining bull fighters’ jackets. The exhibition explores the influence of four centuries of Spanish painting on the couturier’s work. Zurbarán was one inspiration, his drapery influencing Balenciaga’s bold sashes. In 1939 Velázquez’s portraits of the Infanta Magarita were reinterpreted by the dress designer’s work. Also notable is the interaction between a spectacular blue silk evening gown and cape and the mantle of the same colour seen in The Immaculate Conception by Murillo from the Arango collection. The curator Eloy Martínez de la Pera, has drawn together some 90 examples of Balenciaga’s work alongside 55 paintings, including works by El Greco, Murillo, Goya and the nineteenth-century artist Antonio María Esquivel. Paintings have been lent by the Prado, Bilbao, Seville and Valencia and costumes, some of which have never been displayed before and designs have been lent by the Balenciaga Museum in his hometown in Getaría, and archives in Paris. The exhibition also explores the impact of Philip II’s court making the use of black fashionable for clothing throughout Europe, and how Balenciaga chose to transform it in his own way. As the magazine Harper’s Bazaar wrote in 1938: “at the new Spanish house Balenciaga [in Paris] the black is so black that it hits you like a blow. Thick Spanish black, almost velvety, a night without stars, which makes the ordinary black seem almost grey.”

Click here for more information.

Featured Exhibition: Balenciaga, Shaping Fashion, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, until 10 November 2019

A version of the V&A’s exhibition Balenciaga, Shaping Fashion is now showing at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, until 10 November 2019. The Spanish couturier, whose female dress and master tailoring was admired by Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, was one of the most innovative and influential fashion designers of the 20th century. The Australian exhibition shows highlights of the V&A’s display including garments crafted by Balenciaga from the 1950s and 1960s—arguably the most creative period of his career, when he dressed some of the most renowned women of the time—through to pieces designed by protégés and contemporary designers working in the same innovative way today. The exhibition features examples of Balenciaga’s revolutionary shapes—the tunic, sack, baby doll and shift dresses—all of which remain style staples today, and marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris.

Click here for more information

Featured Exhibition: ‘De Mena, Murillo, Zurbarán. Masters of the Spanish Baroque’, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges, until 6 October and MNHA, Luxembourg, 24 January–07 June 2020

20 works of Spanish religious sculpture and painting are currently on display in the monumental wards of the ancient hospital of Bruges. It is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with some lesser-known aspects of Spain’s Golden Age. The highlight of the exhibition, in addition to paintings by famous Spanish masters like Murillo and Zurbaran, is a group of six hyper-realistic sculptures by the greatest sculptor of the Spanish Baroque, Pedro de Mena.
This project is in collaboration with the Luxemburg Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art and the exhibition will travel to this museum in 2020.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English, with texts by Ruud Priem, Sibylla Goegebuer, Malgorzata Nowara, Gilles Zeimat, and Noël Geirnaert. Click here for more information on the exhibition and here for the catalogue.

Featured Exhibition: Thoughts on Portraiture, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 3 August–18 November 2019

A free one-room show which draws on Birmingham’s collection of modern and contemporary art to explore how artists have used a wide range of styles and imagery to interpret complex human emotion and experiences. The display is centred around the sculpted polychrome group Man and His Sheep (1989) by the Brazilian-born artist Ana Maria Pacheco, which has not been on show for over five years. The striking installation consists of eight lifelike carved wooden figures arranged in a procession. Each imposing figure is carved from a single piece of limewood then painted and waxed to give a startling lifelike appearance, enhanced by their onyx eyes and acrylic teeth, which add a somewhat sinister expression. Pacheco’s oil painting In Illo Tempore I (1994) is also on display. The display also includes two Picasso etchings from the Vollard Suite. Winged Bull Watched by Four Children (1934) shows a monstrous mythological beast, whilst Portrait of Vollard (1937) uses lighter and darker shades to depict different characteristics of Ambroise Vollard, the art dealer who commissioned the Suite of prints. For conservation reasons neither of these works on paper are likely to be on display again soon. Other artists whose portraits are featured in the exhibition include a self-portrait by the Birmingham-born David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach’s etching of his friend the art historian Michael Podro.
Click here for more information.

Featured Exhibition: ‘Frente a Frente. Dos visiones fotográficas de la Guerra Civil. Constantino Suárez y Florentino López “Floro”‘, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Madrid, until 29 September 2019

At the start of the civil war, Constantino Suárez was a 37-year old professional photographer. 36-year-old Florentino López, known as Floro, owned a shop selling groceries, typewriters, and phtographic material. The two never met, yet between July 1936 and October 1937 both portrayed the conflict from the perspective of their different cities—Gijón y Oviedo—and sides—Suárez was active on the republican front, while López lived in a besieged city always controlled by the Nationalist rebels. Entitled ‘Frente a Frente’, a play of words on the ambiguity between ‘el frente’, the front, and ‘la frente’, the forhead, this exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Antropología presents photographs in the collection of the Museum of the Asturian People (Gijón), focusing on the similarity of subject rather than on differences in politics and outcome.

Eighty years have passed since the end of Spain’s most recent Civil War (1936–1939), but its traumatic legacy continues to cast a long shadow over the lives of generations of Spaniards. The dictatorship of Francisco Franco kept the wounds of the conflict open and raw. In the wars that raged across Europe from the 1930s onwards, the armies on the battlefield fought alongside the civilian population, which unfortunately took centre stage as the greatest victim of the violent conflicts. This exhibition shows different aspects of life during wartime in Asturias, among both civilians and combatants, between July 1936 and October 1937, when the fall of Gijón marked the definitive defeat of the Republican Northern Front. The images captured by these two photographers are similar in ways that transcend their attachment to the two opposing sides in the war. Both depicted the same society caught up in conflict. What they found was something in common: the same destruction, the same pain, the same suffering, but also the same wish to have life go on despite it all.

Click here for an article on the exhibition, published on 23 July in El País.

Click here for the exhibition website and here for a booklet.