The Dance - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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The Dance

Ortiz de Elgea, Carmelo

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 20/12/1944

Oil on canvas

196 x 390 cm

ORTIZ DE ELGUEA (lower right side of the right panel); Elguea (on the reverse)


Third quarter of the 20th century


Donated by the artist in 2000

His earliest paintings were Expressionist landscapes derived from the artists in the School of Madrid, with Van Gogh as the ultimate benchmark. Later, landscapes of muted colours and thick impasto led him to an informalist material abstraction (an experience practically unique in Basque art) in the shadow of Tàpies, which was to end in a short Pop Art-related phase. From that he came to his characteristic figuration, with people and landscapes composing narratives full of imagination and autobiographical references, rendered in dislocated perspectives, grotesque configurations and a vivid colour range. The Dance, large like many of his works, is one of the best examples of a series that he worked on until 1973. From that year, the figures disappeared and the abstract structures remained, although still recognisably landscapes. (Javier Viar)

Selected bibliography

  • Euskal artea eta artistak 60ko hamarkadan = Arte y Artistas Vascos en los años 60 [Cat. exp.]. Donostia-San Sebastián, Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia = Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, 1995. p. 320. (Con el título Gran Desnudo Rosa)
  • Carmelo Ortiz de Elgea : 153 pinturas [Cat. exp.]. Vitoria-Gasteiz, Ayuntamiento, 1999. pp. 13, 62-63, n° cat. 39.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 162-163.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 162.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 162-163, n° cat. 90a.
  • Carmelo Ortiz de Elgea : retrospectiva, 1963-2016 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2016. pp. 22, 46, n° cat. 11.
  • 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. 468-469, il.
  • 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. 418.
  • Viar, Javier. Hijos de la angustia. Bilbao, Muelle de Uribitarte, 2019. pp. 254, 286, 303, il.