Artist biography

Antonio Saura born 1930

Spanish painter, born at Huesca. Began to paint, self-taught, in 1947 during a long illness. Working in complete isolation in a Surrealist style, made paintings of a mysterious, poetic world inhabited only by monstrous organic forms. First one-man exhibition at the Galeria Buchholz, Madrid, 1951. Spent 1953-5 in Paris, where he was affiliated for some time with the Surrealist group, experimented with new techniques and materials, and adopted a gestural, automatist manner of painting. The brutal suppression of student demonstrations shortly after his return to Madrid led him to adopt a violently Expressionist style: took forms inspired by the human body as his starting-point and worked almost entirely in black and white. Co-founder with Millares, Feito and Canogar of the avant-garde group El Paso (The Step) in Madrid 1957. Oil paintings, drawings in ink and gouache, collages, montages, lithographs, etchings and screenprints of women, crucifixions, imaginary portraits, etc. Awarded one of four equal main prizes for painting at the 1964 Pittsburgh International. Lives in Madrid and Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.670-1