Pablo Palazuelo

Madrid, 1915 - Galapagar 2007

Pablo Palazuelo, painter, sculptor and engraver, is one of the artists with the most significant trajectory within Spanish Abstraction.

He was born in Madrid on 8th October 1915 and began his architecture studies, also in Madrid, in 1933 and after the war, he dedicated himself exclusively to painting. In 1945 began to hold exhibitions afterward s in 1947 taking classes from Daniel Vásquez Díaz. Thence, from 1948, he began to steer away towards abstraction, being very influenced by the works of Paul Klee.

Having been given a scholarship by the French government, he went to Paris and there coincided with other Spanish artists, making friendship with Eduardo Chillida.

In 1949 began his relationship with the Maeght Gallery, and he was put on the pay roll of this prestigious gallery – one of the most important in the world – where he was to exhibit continually up to the 80s. In 1954, he exhibited his first bronze sculpture in Berne. In his biography, it is highlighted that 1955 was the year when he celebrated his first individual exhibition in the Maeght Gallery and he was invited to participate take part in the Carnegie Contest in Pittsburg. He collaborated in several editions of the art magazine “Derrière le Mirior” (Behind the Mirror).

In 1961, he took up sculpturing again. As from 1963, he returned to Spain but without yet fixing his residence in that country. He continued exhibiting in the Maeght Gallery and participated with a work of his in the foundation which this gallery opened in Saint-Paul de Venice. He took part in a collective exhibition in the Juana Mordó auditorium in Madrid in 1964, thence continuing to send works to the contests at the Carnegie Institute of Art in Pittsburg where Saura and Chillida were awarded prizes.

He installed himself in a family house in Galapagar in 1969, but it was not until 1973 that he opened an exhibition of his own in Spain. During all those years, he continued to exhibit in France, Switzerland, the United Stated, etc.

He acquired a castle in the Spanish Extremadura province of Monroy where temporarily he established an art workshop. One of his works was exhibited in the famous exhibition “Art of our time” in the Madrid Theo Gallery, directed by Fernando Mignoni and Elvira Gonzalez - a gallery that would support him up to 1991 when he began to exhibit with Soledad Lorenzo.

One of his sculptures inaugurated the Open Air Museum of Abstract Sculptures in the avenue Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid. In 1981 he was awarded the Gold Medal of Fine Arts.

During all these years, his sculpture activity would go on very actively, he receiving numerous prizes. In 1995 a great retrospective collection of his works was shown in the Reina Sofía Madrid, and in 2005 he was to also give a retrospective exhibition presenting his work over the previous decade.

In 2006 he organized himself for another retrospective exhibition, but this time in the Macba in Barcelona which was to afterwards travel to the Guggenheim and Sao Paolo Museum.

Pablo Palazuelo passed away in 2007 in his residence at Galapagar at the age of 91. In his work are differenciated two great moments, marked by his stay in Paris (for more than two decades) and by his return to Spain. A determining factor in the projection of his work was the fact that he installed himself in the French capital at the end of the 40s and that this would soon link him to the Maeght Gallery in that city. Only a few years after beginning to paint, the work of Palazuelo was internationally present in exhibitions, not only of the Spanish art of the time, but also in theme shows which approached abstraction from different perspectives. Very soon his work was incorporated into private collections and European and American museums. The work of Palazuelo above all is the fruit of a dominant conception of excessively lineal abstraction which starts out from his postimpressionist experiences on the way to the XX century when, in the 60s of that century, it reaches its ultimate consequences with minimalism.

Geometric abstraction being the main driver, Palazuelo’s work reached enormous value in the field of engraving, with a magnificent artistic production which enjoyed great recognition. His folder called Lunariae, which was edited in 1972 for the Maeght gallery, was made up of eight engravings in a powerful black and white, accompanied by the poems of Max Holzer. It is considered one of the most relevant works of graphic art in all his generation.

Exhibited Works

  • “De somnis segundo tiempo”, gouache on Arches paper, 2001.
  • “Serie Lunaria”, aquatint, 1972.

In this series of engravings in aquatint edited in 1972, Palazuelo successfully shows the geometry that is characteristic of him: alive and in perpetual transformation. The artist delves into the matter as if he wanted to get to an occult order of nature, utilizing his talent in order to penetrate and get to know; however, not in a cold and meticulous way, but with organic warmth and the elegance of stone: It is mysterious sometimes, but is coherent and harmonious, inclusively in its complexity.

Palazuelo said: “Don’t let’s talk about pictures, but also ideas.” His search has not only been aesthetic. He fed himself from a philosophic conception of the world, a world that he was to explore all along the time of his work. It was as if he wanted to arrive at hidden structures, but that were sensed in life, as if he wanted to exhibit an intimate visionary comprehension of creation.

“Energy is the form and source of the ways that make up the universe. The ways of life are born from other existences, they live and die in other lives. Nothing is total and definite in the living and endless universe.”