Almendros: A special gift from Fernando Zobel to the present owner, his God Son

Images from left to right: Fernando Zobel and the present owner, 1962. Fernando Zobel and the present owner, 1962. Standing from left Arturo Luz, Tessie Luz, Fernando Zobel, and the present owner's father. In front, left to right, the present owner and his brothers.

“[In my paintings] there are references to the immensity of landscape or, by contrast, to the smallness of an insect or a still life, though in fact, I really wasn’t painting still life’s or landscapes,” Zobel said. “The real subject matter of [my] paintings is movement. Movement in a very wide sense of the word [physically and metaphorically], in the sense that you might say a landscape or a chair has movement”

The Philippines born Spanish artist Fernando Zobel was a driving force behind the Cuenca School of artists in Spain. Educated in Spain, the Philippines and at Harvard in America, Zobel’s oeuvre is a constant mediation between light, color and essence: an attempt at revealing truth through reduction to an abstract essence in lyrical abstraction.

In his own words, he wished “to remember in pictorial terms” using “impacts of light, brightness and color relationships”

Zobel’s works were made from careful observations of nature. Almendros (Lot 740), as this piece is titled, takes its name after almond trees. In it, a misty field of greys and beige is interrupted with the calligraphic strokes of black at the left of the painting. Zobel's strokes are wistful yet energetic, emanating the branches of trees swaying in the wind, reminiscent of his Serie Negra series which he concluded a few years before. A delicately painted mosaic of tiny white impasto squares at the upper left quadrant, provide textural variation to the otherwise smooth surface of the painting, while also suggesting almond fruits within trees. This rare composition, is a statement to the cerebral labor that goes into understanding even a singular moment, once we begin to fully consider its emergence and implications.

A meditation on cognitive expression within an artistic paradigm, his paintings address the underlining influence memory has upon experiences, or within the artist’s worldview, the importance of memories upon his own life story. Inspired by his time spent living in the Philippines, America, and Spain, the artworks are a culmination of his mental and emotional relationships with the world around him.