The Esteban Vicente Museum of Contemporany Art presents the exhibition The Colour Path. Ràfols-Casamada and Esteban Vicente.
The reason we bring together the works of both these artists is not strictly speaking their formal similarity. The paintings by Ràfols-Casamada are not the only ones that resemble those created by Vicente, nor are they the ones that resemble them the most. Their connection lies at a more general level but it is at the same time more profound. Both devoted themselves to their artistic work with total dedication, a dedication only shared with their teaching. Both developed their own language fully rather late. Both acknowledged the decisive influence of Matisse and of the North American abstract expressionism on their work. Both, although fundamentally painters, became interested in the technique of collage and occasionally in small format sculpture. Finally, or to start with, the manner they approached abstraction was (at least at the beginning) a mere derivation and simplification of reality. Both also regarded colour as a constitutive element of the composition. And both practiced an abstraction arranged around signs and geometrical structures, using a bright and contrasting palette from which paintings of unexpected balance and extreme elegance emerged.
To complete the scene we must remember that, as their biographical details show, time and space separate them from one another: Esteban Vicente (Turégano, 1903 – Long Island, 2001) and Albert Ràfols-Casamada (Barcelona, 1923 – Barcelona, 2009), it was therefore by following their own path that they converged in their painting.
For this exhibition, which takes up the two first rooms of the Museum, 10 works by Ràfols-Casamada have been selected, which span from 1956 to 2002 and originate from the Reina Sofia National Art Centre (Madrid), the Fran Daurel Foundation (Barcelona), the Joan Prats Gallery, along with others from some private Segovia collections. Displayed alongside these, there are as many pieces by Esteban Vicente (as well as the Museum’s whole collection exhibited in rooms 3, 4 and 5), as to enable the spectator to make their own comparisons. The point of the exhibition is to establish how the inquisitiveness, resources and solutions of such different artists can be so similar. In this way we may be able to better understand what painting means.
José María Parreño