Matías Quetlas

Ciudadela, 1946

Matias Quetglas is a figurative painter belonging to the group of Spanish realists born in the postwar period. He made his first exhibition at the age of eighteen in his hometown. Then he moved to Madrid where he entered the School of Fine Arts.

In the seventies he began to exhibit in different Spanish and European cities, such as Madrid, Oviedo, Paris and Stockholm. And in the eighties he began a series of trips to Italy that served him to learn about classical painting and deepen his pictorial techniques.

In his early works, Quetglas's style is related to different currents of realism such as hyper-realism, magical realism and surrealism. In that beginning his compositions are inspired by the human figure that begins to acquire an important presence, which later will be one of his most recurrent themes.

In the eighties he began a series of self-portraits of a painter and a model. In the last works of this stage it is frequent that the same painter and the same model appear, who seems to be his wife, Maria Antonia. In this way, the painter shows his world, his life in the studio and his different plastic experiences.

Immediate reality is replaced by imaginary landscapes and models where the artist's environment is no longer the protagonist. The naked figure of the woman begins to appear with the sense of representing harmony and understanding, for him it is a transposition of humanism, of teaching human nature in a spiritual sense.

The profile of these figures take a Greek canon, as they are reminiscent of the classical tradition. Another theme within this period are intertwined couples, such as the Gran escen pasional (1984) and Conversa amorosa (1985). Thus, the figure is used to capture human relationships such as hatred, love and passion. At the end of the eighties, being true to this style, couples on the beach and bathers were frequent, who also appeared in the nineties. It is then, when he transforms reality into a suggestive vision surrounded by a metaphysical atmosphere full of allusions and symbols of its environment.


A very important stage in his career is when his great interest in the human body leads him to sculpture. His style is known for the exaggeration of the volume of large bodies and figures, he defines the contour and volume with great freedom, which sometimes causes the figures to acquire some disproportion. He used very characteristic colors such as green and yellow between 1995 and 2005. During this period he lived in Italy, where he ended up being influenced by Renaissance and Baroque painting.
A very outstanding sculpture is the bronze Tors Mític (1985) and Gran cap de freixe (1994) following the classical canons. His last monumental sculpture that he made in Menorca is Talia that is located outside the Teatro Principal of Maó. It represents a female figure, with two theatrical masks in hand, one represents tragedy and the other the comedy.

Exhibited Works

  • “Autorretrato”, drypoint on plastic, 1981.Courtesy of the artist.
  • “Fiesta en el campo”, oil on canvas, 1990.