Antonio López was born in 1936 in Tomelloso, Ciudad Real, in the heart of a wealthy family dedicated to cultivating their land. n spite of having suffered the Civil War and the postwar years, it is assured that he remembers his childhood in his small town as a peaceful and happy time of his life. His uncle, the painter Antonio López Torres, is the person who introduced him into the world of art on observing the ease with which he was able to draw and the passion he applied on copying, during interminable hours, sheets from the XIX century which he gave him as a task.
The year 1949 marked the beginning of his artistic training when he went to Madrid to prepare the entrance exam to the Fine Arts School at San Fernando. For that exam, he worked in the mornings on the drawing of the plaster statues in the Museum of Artistic Reproductions, and in the afternoons he went to the courses in the School of Fine Arts and Trades where he met a large number of those who later were to be his friends and his principal companions of the generation: Enrique Gran, Amalia Avia, Lucio Muóz, Julio and Francisco López Hernández, who all made up the so called “Madrid School”.
At the age of 14, he was admitted into the School of San Fernando where he was to carry out official studies of Fine Arts between 1950 and 1955. At the end, he went to Italy and exhibited in the galleries of the General Direction of Fine Arts.
In 1957 he presented his first individual exhibition at the Atheneum of Madrid and months later he went to Greece and Rome as a prize after having won the Fine Arts competition of the Rodriguez Acosta Foundation, and also a a new scholarship from the Ministery of Education. At this stage, his pictorical works as fully figurative with still lifes, portraits and paintings of the city, whilst in sculptures, he worked impacting polychrome reliefs.
In 1960 he began to paint the first scenes of Madrid which was to be a recurrent subject in his works. At that time he still mixed surrealistic elements with reality.
One year later he received a scholarship from the Juan March Foundation, he married, and gave a second individual exhibition in the Biosca Gallery Madrid, with Juana Mordó as Director. She then took the exhibition with her years later when she set up her own gallery with her most promising artists. The international contacts of Juana Mordó contributed to increase the number of exhibitions, above all in the United States and Germany, with which he achieves that his works pass on to form part of collections and in international museums.
In 1964 he began to teach in the professorship of the Preparation of Colour in the Fine Arts School of San Fernando, leaving this in 1969 with the intention of dedicating himself completely to his artistic career. Because of the exhibition in the Staempfli Gallery in New York in 1968, he is internationally hallowed and his works begin to be included in different north American collections, coinciding with the surge of realism and hyperrealism in the United States.
In the decade of the 70s he worked on sculpturing, painting and drawing and at the same time made studies of light, utilizing different techniques and formats with which he could manage to capture reality. His long hours dedicated to drawing would influence notably his painting afterwards. Portraits of people, urban visits and plant themes abound in the work of this period. It is then when he began to be represented in the Marlborough Gallery.
An exhibition organized by the Galatea Gallery in Turin was visited by many people and passed over to being part of various collections, multiplying the number of collective and individual exhibitions
He was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Prize for Art in 1985.
In 1992, the film director Victor Erice proposed that he should film Antonio in his creative art process whilst painting a quince in the courtyard of his house and he filmed “The Sun of the Quince” for which he would receive a multitude of national and international prizes.
He was named member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1993. That same year, the Reina Sofia National Museum Art Centre in Madrid dedicated its first large anthological exposition, showing the almost totality of his production, including one hundred and seventy works among drawings, sketches, painting and sculptures, this supposing the definitive enshrining of his work. Shortly after, he was named Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid.
In 1995 he represented Spain in the Bienal of Venice together with Antonio Saura, Eduardo Arroyo and Andreu Alfaron. In 1998 he was to be named member of the Prado Museum Heritage, a post which he maintained until May 2009.
In 1999, the Town Council of Valladolid requested from Antonio López and the sculptors, Francisco and Julio López Hernández, a monumental bronze sculpture which represents the sitting figures of the King and Queen of Spain. This supposed the first sculpture work carried out in a team of three sculptors. The sculpture was inaugurated in 2001 and its current siting is in the Cloister of the San Benito Museum in Valladolid, today the Herreriano Courtyard.
As regards prizes, 2004 was one of his best years on being named honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters of New York, when he received the medal of honour from the International University of Menéndez Pelayo, and also the City of Alcalá de Henares Prize in Arts.
Currently, Antonio López still resides and works in Madrid
- “Rosas de Ávila”, engraving on four plates of photopolymer, (19 colours) on Hahnemühle paper and Chiné-collé, 2018.
- "Rosas de Invierno", seven plates for an engraving, lithography and etching, 2015.