This is Esteban Vicente’s last painting, created when he was 97, weak and tired. He painted in his Bridgehampton studio, facing the garden, it is therefore not surprising that his work in these final years looked towards nature. The scene is achieved using a minimum of elements: the tree tops permeating the light and ground vegetation, thicker and more entangled. The gradation of ochres and greens is accomplished by diluting the pigment until it becomes almost transparent. The tree trunks become more slender in the distance. The central area, unpainted and with the canvas exposed, creates a sense of luminous depth. But, in actual fact, this period does not represent a break from previous times, the tension between abstraction and representation, and the use of colour as a medium to create light, are maintained. The presence and intensity of light is another distinguishing feature of his painting in the last few years. Vicente had said it many times: “The quality of the colour is the light”.
Esteban always painted for himself, but at this time more than ever. He believed that to paint one has to believe in the art of painting and make experience one’s master. By then, with his long experience, he reduced his work to its essence, something that was present throughout his career. This paining is the end of a lifelong process, during which the artist searched for light though colour, and freedom through, above all, control.