PROPERTY FORMELY FROM THE COLLECTION OF GERARDO RUEDA, MADRID
Manolo Millares and Luis Feito changed the face of Spanish art in the post-war period by extending the possibilities of what could be achieved through artistic abstraction. In 1957, Millares and Feito, along with artists Antonì Saura, Rafael Canogar, Manuel Rivera, Juana Francés, Antonio Suárez, Pablo Serrano and art critics Manolo Conde and José Ayllón, formed the ‘El Paso’ group in Madrid. The group sought to unify different aesthetic proposals which arose in the Spanish avant-garde following the cultural decline of the Civil War in 1936 – 1939 - their manifesto laying out ambitions to go beyond existing artistic borders in “a historic response to universal activity” (El Paso Manifesto quoted in José-Augusto França,Millares, Barcelona 1991, p. 64).
The resultant works were open to experimentation, adhering solely to the authentic motivations of each artist despite prevailing institutional norms in Spain. Each artist therefore had individual creative trajectories, although they concurrently took abstract gestural aesthetics or action painting as their point of initial departure. The El Paso group made artworks in which figuration was almost absent; in its place they experimented with gesture, violent brushwork and impasto - puncturing the canvas and exploring the use of unusual materials. Both Millares and Feito epitomised this ambition, using abstraction and the adoption of new ideals and mediums to reach more elevated truths than they could possibly express with representation alone.
Both Nº 132 and Animal de Fondo (3) represent truly archetypal examples of the respective artists’ most sought after artistic styles.