Fascinated by Velázquez and Goya since childhood, Antonio Saura reconciled like no other painters of his generation the legacy of great Spanish painting and the contributions of the most radical post-war avant-gardes.
While at the beginning of his career he developed a vocabulary similar to the one used by surrealists, especially Miró and Tanguy, Saura emerged in the mid-50s as a pioneering figure of a gestural and expressive painting of which Annie dans son fauteuil is emblematic. Between the Europeans informalists and the American abstract expressionists, the artist drew on the theme of head-and-shoulder portrait, which allowed him to follow once again in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors with a very classic female portrait in close shot, while at the same time standing out for his treatment of space and his use of a dark and enigmatic color palette.
Confronted to the violence of Spain under Franco's rule, and traumatised by the bombings of Madrid he witnessed at the age of 6, and, a year later, by the newspaper images his father showed him of the Condor legion destroying Guernica, Saura also elaborated an aesthetic of terror close to that of Francis Bacon, the other master of obscene beauty. Similarly, Saura gave shape to darkness and created frightening and fascinating portraits, of which Annie dans son fauteuil remains the best example, as it captures all the mindsets of artistic creation with a rare dramatic intensity.
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