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Antonio Guansé

1926 — 2008

Antonio Guansé was born in Tortosa, but from early childhood lived in Barcelona.

His interest in painting appeared around 1945. He painted his first paintings, portraits, and landscapes of Cerdanya. But his work and his personality are rooted in the deep telluric visions of where he was originally from, the lands of the Ebro. From 1948 to 1951, at the time when he joined the group of New Art Experimental Cycles and frequented the French Institute of Barcelona , he met a young generation eager to shake art, which had been dormant since the civil war. Guansé spent long periods in Ibiza and in the Balearic Islands, where he painted the world of fishermen and farmers.

On January 26, 1953, he arrived in Paris with the help of a grant from the French government. There he met Pablo Picasso, one of his main influencers. In 1954 he settled permanently in Paris and began to present exhibitions regularly. From 1956 to 1958, color played a predominant role in his works, and shapes exploded. Subsequently, an orgánico organic dynamism ’created compositions that approximate what we call‘ abstract expressionism ’.

In 1959, his research focused on a new visual language, what would later be called ‘Neofiguration’: an artistic movement that traverses the transition from hegemonic abstraction of the 1950s to ‘narrative figuration’, launched in 1965.

In 1962, he won the Critics’ Prize in Paris.

In 1965, he perseveres in the representation of man: the body, the woman, the couple, and the space that surrounds it, made of windows, mirrors, crowds, cities. In 1967, he was selected for the International Marzotto Prize.

From 1968 he produced his first literary illustrations, by French and Spanish poets, including Paul Eluard’s “Dit de la Force de l’Amour”. He made his first tapestries and painted subjects that affected the man of his time, such as urban landscapes, televisions, telephones. In 1977 Guansé made his painting Béton (4 x 3 m) on the platform of the Saint-Augustin metro in Paris before the public and with eight other painters. He worked hard on shapes and colors, reflecting his concerns, his anxieties, and his evolution.

During his career, the artist collected more than a hundred individual exhibitions, recently highlighting those of the Tarragona Museum in 2001 and Paris in 2008, as well as a posthumous tribute to “Guansé and his friends from Paris” in Madrid. His work could also be seen at the great UNESCO exhibition in 1996, during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Paris School.

He never tried to convince anyone of the legitimacy of his artistic approach. His work speaks for itself and affirms a character that always throws us a little more towards simplification. The presence of man is reaffirmed in the course of the pictures and stages.

Antonio Guansé died on November 22, 2008 in Paris. His works are present in many prestigious public collections, as well as in the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid and the Museum of Toledo. Antonio Guansé had his own language – figurative and explosive, virtuous language, which gradually softened over time in the form of constant upheavals in shape and color.