Ad Code: 3
from Auction House Records.
Nature morte aux instruments de musique
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|Biography from Papillon Gallery:|
|Ismael Gonzålez de la Serna was born in 1898 in Granada, Spain.
He began painting and drawing when he was nine years old. While
in school, he became friends with Federico Garcia Lorca, later to
become a famous poet. Indeed, it was De La Serna who in 1918
illustrated Garcia Lorca's first book, Impresiones y Paisajes.|
De la Serna pursued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in
Granada, where he learned the traditional rules of composition, form,
and color. A turning point came in his life in 1917, when he
viewed an exhibition of French Impressionists in Madrid. By his own
testimony, thereafter he was determined to be a “free” painter, devoted
to new forms.
In 1915, at age seventeen, he exhibited for the
first time in Granada. A few years later, upon his second
exhibition, the art critic Manuel Robles wrote: “There is no doubt that
de la Serna knows color and his spirit penetrates the essence and line
of his work.” Nonetheless, Robles hoped that de la Serna would
abandon the spirit of Modernism.”
The Spanish artistic
community, unlike that in neighboring France, was resistant to the
innovations of Post-impressionism. Granada in particular imposed
intolerable limits on such an “extraordinary soul” as De La Serna's, as
it was described by Lorca.
De La Serna, impassioned in his
pursuit of his vocation and life's work, and yearning for a stimulating
cultural environment, moved to Paris in 1921, where his compatriot,
Picasso, had been an international figure in the cubist movement for
more than a decade. He was introduced to Picasso by the writer,
critic, and art collector known as Tériade. According to Tériade,
Picasso, upon seeing de la Serna's work, exclaimed: “At last, a true
painter! As grand as Juan Gris!”
The year 1927 was one of
remarkable success for De La Serna. Tériade devoted an article on him
in issues of the art review, "Cahiers d'Art", which simultaneously
covered the works of luminaries such as Renoir and Picasso.
Tériade wrote that De La Serna was the painter “we had all been waiting
for.” That is, his poetic sensibility lent in certain unity to
his work and deftly combined a vigor of expression with a delicacy of
Paul Guillaume then organized an exhibition of fifty of De
La Serna's works to wide acclaim. An individual exhibition at the
Gallery Flechtheim in Berlin was equally successful, all of the works
found buyers. The gallery even signed De La Serna to a contract,
which remained in effect until 1933, when Hitler's rise to power forced
The Nazi rise to power definitely had
unfortunate consequences. It is thought that those works of De La
Serna's still residing in Germany, including many of his most
vulnerable paintings, were destroyed by the Nazi regime.
De La Serna had been warmly received throughout Europe. In 1928, he
signed contracts to exhibit his works at the Galerie Zak in Paris and
at the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels. Christian Zervos wrote
enthusiastically in Cahiers d'Art that De La Serna's incredible skill
at drawing allowed him to make abstractions of reality.
number of his works certainly echo the influence of Picasso and Braque,
such influence was mirrored within a Cubism of his own making. In
the instinctive equilibrium of his work, the blend of exuberance and
sober expression, the use of color, and the strength of the lines, De
La Serna reminded Zervos of Zurburan, El Greco, and Cézanne.
to Zervos, Cubism brought out either a deep expressiveness due to the
distortion of the central object or figure represented, or resulted in
an abstract painting composed of forms independent of the exterior
reality. In any case, representation of both possibilities was
typical of de la Serna's work. The artist easily balanced and
reconciled the extremes of both representation and abstraction.
Although a traditional Cubist subject, Nature Mort de la Guitare is a
strong example of de la Serna's Cubist technique of the late 1920's.
1930, the Galerie Zak devoted an entire exhibition to de la Serna;s
works. The National Gallery of Berlin,and the museum of Mannheim both
acquired paintings of his. In 1932, he returned triumphantly to
Spain, where he toured with successful exhibitions throughout his
homeland. In 1936, he took part in an exhibition at the Musée du Jeu de
Paume in Paris. During this time, he rarely participated in
public showings of his work. After the Second World War, he
released works he had painted secretly which honored the Resistance and
decried the atrocities of war.
De la Serna continued to work
throughout the 1940's and 1950's. His style evolved into pure
combinations of color and form. His paintings continued to be
shown in France, Germany, Spain, and Mexico. In 1963, he was
invited to participate in an exhibition of French paintings at the Tate
Gallery in London and in an exhibition at the Hammer Gallery in New
In 1974, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
organized a retrospective of nearly one hundred of de la Serna's
paintings from throughout his career. The retrospective tracked
the artist's diversity of subjects and the technical scope of his
De la Serna died in Paris in 1968. His personal contributions to the language of art endure.
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