«The world places you in this category and you accept it, but we didn’t work under the premises of this label. First there was ‘new figuration’, then came ‘realism’, and finally ‘pop’, we didn’t fit in any of these categories, we simply developed a new way of understanding figurative subject matter.»
Manolo Valdés (Valencia, 1942) is an acclaimed Spanish artist known for his unique method of drawing from art history to create his paintings, prints, and sculptures in a signature style of pared-down forms and unrefined mark-making.
He formed the group Equipo Crónica in 1964, an offshoot of the Pop Art movement with the focus of creating work imbued with political critique, they were in firm opposition to the abstract and informal tendencies championed by Francisco Franco’s administration, and they were among the artists who contested the Spanish regime, questioning its official culture as repressive.
He finds inspiration in the creation and ideals of the great masters like Velázquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, Matisse, Picasso, and others. He realizes works of art in large scale in which the lights and colors express a feeling of tactility thanks to the treatment given to the materials.
His artistic production has been recognized with various international awards, including the Lissone and Biella in Milan in 1965; the silver medal in the second International Prints Biennial in Tokyo; an award from the Bridgestone Art Museum in Lisbon; the Alfons Roig Award in Valencia; the National Award for the Fine Arts in Spain; a medal from the biennial International Festival of the Plastic Arts in Baghdad; and in 1993 the Medal of the Order of Andrés Bello in Venezuela.
He is among the most important Spanish artists of the 20th century and his artworks are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Guggenheim Bilbao, and the De Young Museum in San Francisco, among others.