Presentation of “The History of Basque Art. From the Civil War to the Present (1936-2016)”
Thanks to the sponsorship of Metro Bilbao, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is presenting the first volume of an ambitious publishing project that offers a complete reassessment and detailed study of Basque art from approximately 1930 to the present. Historia de arte vasco will be published in three volumes in a project directed by Javier Viar, former director of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and author of the volume now being presented. Begoña González, head of the museum's Library Department, has compiled the exhaustive bibliographical documentation that accompanies this publishing project, entirely produced by the museum and available in Basque and Spanish.
In chronological terms, Historia de arte vasco. De la Guerra Civil a nuestros días (1936-2016) is the final volume in the series, focusing on modern and contemporary Basque art. It is published as two books, in which Javier Viar offers an exhaustive survey of the most outstanding and most internationally recognised periods of Basque art. These run from the dramatic situation created by the war and the immediate post-war period to the emergence with Chillida and Oteiza's return from Latin America of an avant-garde art that achieved almost immediate international recognition. The book also testifies to the changes which took place in the Basque Country's social and political circumstances and the influence that succeeding new art movements have had on Basque artists. It concludes with the exceptionally interesting proposals of the current art scene in an account that reveals the rich contribution which the visual arts have made to Basque culture and society.
The book makes reference to more than 300 artists. Among the numerous artists who have worked in the Basque country in the past eighty years, the text focuses on Ucelay, Oteiza, Chillida, Balerdi, Mendiburu, Larrea, Ibarrola, Zumeta, Ortiz de Elgea, Mieg, Ferrer, Cárdenas, Herrero, Ameztoy, Nagel, Goenaga, Tamayo, Gortázar, Badiola, Irazu, Iglesias, Talayero, Pérez and Mendizábal.
Historia de arte vasco. De la Guerra Civil a nuestros días (1936-2016) will be presented this Thursday, 7 December, from 1.30 to 2pm in the 52nd edition of the “Durangoko Azoka” cultural fair. The book will have a price of 60 euros – for the two sections, they will not be sold separately –.
This first volume will be followed by two more, also sponsored by Metro Bilbao. One volume, by Mikel Lertxundi and Javier Novo, will be devoted to Basque art from the late 18th to the late 19th centuries, and the other to Basque art and the Basque art world in the first three decades of the 20th century, written by Pilar Mur and Miriam Alzuri.
Javier Viar (born Bilbao, 1946), the author of this book, was director of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum from 2002 to 2017. A graduate in Pharmacy, since 1972 he has published art criticism in numerous journals and magazines (Gazeta de Arte, Kurpil, Común, Album, El Correo, El País, El Mundo del País Vasco). He is a corresponding academic in Bilbao of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Santa Isabel de Hungría in Seville and was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture in 2008. Javier Viar has also been active as an art historian and his publications include the biography, critical study and catalogue raisonné of the work of the painter Rafael Ruiz Balerdi (Balerdi. La experiencia infinita, 1993), and the historical studies Bilbao en el arte (2000) and Bilbao en las revistas ilustradas (1843-1900) (2003), in addition to numerous texts on Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Palazuelo, Vicente Larrera and Carmelo Ortiz de Elgea, among other 20th-century artists. In 2017 he curated the retrospective devoted to Balerdi in the Basque Country (Balerdi, 1934-1994, San Sebastián, Kutxa Fundazioa).