Esteban Vicente

(Turégano, Segovia, 1903 – New York, 2001)

Untitled

1956

oil on canvas

101.5 x 121.5 cm

Inv. no. 1040



Colour is perhaps the quintessential element in Esteban Vicente’s practice; the artist used it to evoke feelings and the beauty of life, the keys of humankind and nature. Vicente’s brushstroke was dense and precise, giving his opaque colours endless tones. But he was also a master of collage, a technique he returned to on a regular basis throughout his practice, both in his works on paper and on canvas.

In Spain he was part of the group of so-called “poet painters”, with his work acting almost like a visual extension of the Generation of  27. His painting is based on the symbol, on rhythmic elements and is clearly aligned towards the expression of beauty.

After the Spanish Civil War the artist moved to the United States where he was to remain the rest of his life. There he entered into contact with Abstract
, joining the movement and becoming close friends with many of the members of the School of New York.

The personal blend of his poetic art, Abstract
, a taste for Cubism and for the work of Juan Gris lead to the development of an individual style based on vibrant chromatic harmony predicated on apparently geometric structures held in check by a rigorous spatial organisation.

As from 1955, the forms began to gravitate towards the centre of the composition, as in the case of this work from 1956, whose green background acts as a formal gambit for those squares congregating in chromatic and rhythmic harmony. The warm-hued lyrical geometries are set off by the darker box that functions as a visual counterpoint.