The Spanish realist movement started in a way not dissimilar to the French realist movement – both movements sought to reject the predominant style that was practised in their respective regions at that time. However, unlike the French movement which started in the salons, the Spanish development was started in the student body of the Madrid School of Fine Art by Antonio Lopez-Garcia and his brother Julio Lopez. This was in 1955.
By looking back at the works of Spanish masters such as Diego Velazquez, Antonio and Julio refocused the emphasis on precision of painting and techniques. Antonio Lopez-Garcias would later helm the group and became one of the most important figures within the style and realm of Spanish art. Like the French realists, Antonio depicted his subjects without idealization, presenting them as naturally as possible (sometimes going as far as to present an ugly side). His fine precision and rendering of his subjects, capturing of complex lighting problems and creation of ambience through light, would later become identifiable features of the group.
50 years on from the first-generation pioneers, Spanish realist painters today retain the tradition of precision painting and complex light rendering. However, with the advent of technology, artists have more sources to draw their inspiration and expose themselves to complex ideas. Spanish realist painters today infuse ideas from both the traditional and the contemporary. They even harbour traits from conceptual works when painting hyper-realistic works.
By looking to the long heritage of Realism in Spain, contemporary artists continue to transcend the technical excellence of the realist style, and bring their own interpretation of Realism into a contemporary context. This group exhibition features works from some of our most popular artists - Alex Prunes, Marc Figueras, Monica Dixon and Paco Ferrando and Xavier Visa and examines how their works reflect the sensibility of the Spanish Realist tradition.