Sands - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Chillida, Gonzalo

San Sebastián, 26/01/1926-San Sebastián, 05/07/2008

Oil on canvas

114 x 146 cm

J. Chillida (bottom left hand corner); J. Chillida (on the reverse, on the frame)


Last quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 1990

Marked by an almost ritual reiteration, Gonzalo Chillida's painting developed away from any particular art movement. From a highly personal figuration of landscapes and still life paintings, amongst which are his earliest important works, executed with a refined, though dense and geometric sense of form, colour and light, he moved on to a style of painting bordering on abstraction and the representation of some peculiar characteristics of nature, embracing highly specific details that nevertheless seem to contain reality in its entirety. Many of his paintings, going under the often repeated title Sands, show images of shores, the beach and the infinite changes to which the frontier between sand and seawater is subjected, with which he achieved an abundantly lyrical oeuvre.

Sands is one of those descriptions done with a colour range limited by the actual colour of sand and yet full of nuances and shades, and with a remarkable ability to convey its texture. There are linear elements of natural origin, which, oddly enough, recall a formal abstract world. This linear group gives the painting greater structure than many others by the artist, which tend to be evanescent and shape-shifting, mysteriously avoiding references to the image portrayed that would facilitate its clear identification as some kind of formal structure or an obvious or evident composition. [Javier Viar]

Selected bibliography

  • Gonzalo Chillida : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 1990.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 133.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 133.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. p. 132, n° cat. 72.
  • Gonzalo Chillida [Cat. exp.]. San Sebastián, Kutxa Fundazioa, 2016. p. 63, il.
  • Viar, Javier. Historia del arte vasco : de la Guerra Civil a nuestros días, 1936-2016. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2017. pp. 169, 172, il.
  • Bilboko Museoaren alfabetoa = El alfabeto del Museo de Bilbao = The alphabet of the Bilbao Museum = L'alphabet du Musée de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2018. pp. 291, 293, n° cat. 169.
  • Después del 68 : arte y prácticas artísticas en el País Vasco, 1968-2018 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2018. p. 376, il.