Juan Alcalde, “the last of Paris”, dies

The painter and engraver Juan Alcalde, one of the greatest exponents of the Paris School, died last Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Madrid, surrounded by his family, when he was 102 years old.
The artist had received the Medal of Honor of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors four years ago, an award that recognizes those artists who have distinguished themselves in an outstanding way in the world of artistic creation, and which turned out to be the last award and act attended.
Just 15 days ago, in his studio in a central Madrid street, he boasted before the AEPE Medal, which presides over the fireplace in the living room, acknowledging that he was very excited to receive it and meet again at that event with other artists, held in 2016 , with a multitude of friends who wanted to accompany him in such a special moment that he also had the assistance of Infanta Elena de Borbón, friend and admirer of the painter’s work.

Juan Alcalde felt unwell less than a week ago, entering the Clinical Hospital of San Carlos, where kidney failure ended his life. His sons Juan Luis and Sergio, who have been with him until the last moment, have respected his most intimate wishes for discretion. After his exhibition in the Madrid mortuary of San Isidro, this morning the crematorium of La Almudena was taken, after which he will be buried in an intimate and family ceremony.
We recall the speeches that the Secretary General, Mª Dolores Barreda Pérez, and the President of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, filled with references about his life and work, made at the AEPE Medal of Honor ceremony.
Mª Dolores Barreda Pérez, made a brief tour of the artistic and professional career of the renowned painter, with special emphasis on providing those present with a summary sketch of what Juan Alcalde is like, and not just his biography, with cold and distant data and dates, but introducing those present to life, thought and a little bit in the artist’s magical soul.
“A great person and an excellent painter is the reason that brings us together today to make a simple and emotional tribute, like the ones we do in this century-old institution.
I could sketch you a biography here and carefully read dates and events of his long life, and I would do no more than save you going to the art encyclopedias, where you can find everything related to his artistic life, countless number of exhibitions, he could also describe his Haphazard life and fruitful work.
But if I did all this, you would still not really know the man to whom we pay tribute today, so I am going to try to talk about the man, the artist and what his work is like.
Juan Alcalde Alonso is pure, here we would say that he is an authentic cat, born in the Rastro, near Cascorro, and with parents who, far from falling into typism, only reinforce that stamp: his father, shoemaker, and mother , cigarette factory of the tobacco factory on Calle Embajadores, next to the gate, (There it is nothing).
At this point, perhaps you could specify the street and the exact number where you were born, so that this Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors may request the Madrid City Council to place a commemorative plaque on the Plan’s facade. Memory of Madrid, to remember the happy event.
He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Madrid, with Agustín L. González, at the Museum of Artistic Reproductions and at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, and later entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, having among other professors Aurelio Arteta, who was his supporter for the “Molina Higueras” Prize, awarded by the Academia de San Fernando, with a painting that Juan himself defined as “decadent realism”, although it is true that he was already given very good.

The Director of the Royal Academy, the Count of Romanones, promises him a scholarship to study in Paris, plans that will be cut short by the start of the civil war, where he will fight on the Madrid front.
He has to retire to France, being interned in a concentration camp where he is about to die of dysentery, until he is admitted to an old Perpignan hospital where he lives with mentally ill patients.
In 1944 he returned to Madrid where he married Conchita Moreda and continued his difficult life as a painter, having to paint film posters to cover his bare necessities.
In 1950 he emigrated to Caracas, where he managed to live well from his profession as a painter, carried out commissions and exhibitions, painted landscapes, made illustrations … his sons Juan Luis and Sergio were born there.
However, he does not feel at ease, the easy success bothers him and he decides to return to Paris, make his golden dream come true and paint the barges that cross the Seine, the taverns, the workers on the river bank.
There he meets other members of the Spanish School in Paris such as Baltasar Lobo, Joaquín Peinado or Hernando Viñes and he meets great friends, such as Marcel Marceau, Picasso, Neruda, …
The samples and exhibitions take place in Madrid, London, Paris, Caracas, …
In 1979 his wife died who had shared so many dreams and difficulties with him. For four years, Juan Alcalde did not exhibit again, until 1983, which he did in Madrid.
In 1984, he married Patrocinio Molero, with whom he began a new and important stage of his life.
So far, synthesized and summarized, a few biographical data that outline an intense life, but nothing yet that can show us his rich inner life, his thought and personality.
Of him it has been written, I will not be the one who says that little enough, but with really beautiful and admirable words, that describe his work like this:
“Stripped of all unnecessary artifice, beautiful in its absolute nakedness, it is an essential painting, in the most exact sense of the term. In his paintings we find loneliness, but not despair ”.
“The Work of Juan Alcalde, full of intelligence and sensitivity, has a poetic charge that transcends beneath its apparent coldness.”
“Painting of very personal invoice, without antecedents in the future of our artistic creation and without the mimetic influences of other great contemporary masters”.
“The painting of the Mayor is poetic. Lyric of the feelings made light; by the free verses of color. Without academic rhymes that tie it. With no other metric than yours. The one of the few things that are painted in his painting ”.
“Juan Alcalde is a classic above the academies and the conventional balances of writers because, alone with his heart, with his palette and with his solitude, Juan Alcalde knows how to paint the world first hand and with the gripping line –and overwhelming- of the wisest and most angelic of all innocences: that of the artist who has the magical grace – and even pain – of turning into speedy and mature art everything he touches ”.

“Mayor paints things that make a man, an artist, an essential and essentialist ascetic in painting, a lover of reality and life, a delicious and natural man.”
“The Mayor’s painting is one of those that go deep without the need for transcendentalism. He feels what he says and transmits it with the simplicity of what is important ”.
“Mayor addresses classical figurative themes: landscape, still life, still lifes immersed in a background of very original and distinctive cities, maternities, nudes and the human figure in general, treating them with great beauty in a style full of mysticism, harmony, delicacy and softness, qualities that affect both its shape and its background, and of course the color, abundant in whites. But also, the forms are simplified and synthesized ”.
I could go on to tell you pieces of writing that revolve around his work, but I think it is more interesting to know what he thinks of himself and how he defines himself.
“I work with oils because oil lives like a human being, it does not stay perpetual. Oil works by itself and I am sure that my paintings are not what they will be ”.
His inexhaustible vitalism is reflected in the phrase: “I would not like to die knowing, I would like to die learning.”
For Juan Alcalde, art is the search for itself.
His life is a continual uncertainty, but as he himself admits, “misfortunes can bring thanks.”
“The worst thing that can happen to human beings is not having grace or misfortune,” he adds.
“Problems are what generate thought; without them, the brain dies, ”he nods emphatically.
“Every day I think about rejuvenating myself, I would like to be somewhat less figurative, but I am not able to abstract myself completely, I am not able to reach pure abstraction. I carry a very heavy weight on my back, which I cannot unload, even if I try. I am interested in the abstraction of Velázquez, by Goya. The bad figuratives of the last century hurt, although there is also Rosales, who is fabulous. What matters is pure, what comes from the spirit of the soul, from the interior of man ”… Sensitivity above all.
To speak of Juan is to speak of his thumb. As he himself assures, his thumb is more important than brushes, he is the one that leads the colors to the canvas, and he also has a sensual component that the brush does not have, and in his own words, “it is that when you put your thumb on a cloth, there is your sensitivity, the projection of your spirit on the finger, almost like a self-portrait ”.
Juan has been his own patron, he has supported himself, he has believed in him, because the only thing he has tried to be all his life is Juan Alcalde.
That is why, far from schools, far from influences, far from comparisons or friends who interfere in this semblance, far from similarities and analogies, today we pay tribute to who has tried to be his whole life, and I would say that he has succeeded, Juan Alcalde ”
For his part, the President of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, José Gabriel Astudillo, reminded everyone that his art is characterized by the personal style that has made this painter a benchmark for new creative generations in a dissertation in which He explained why Juan Alcalde has earned this award:
“This recognition to an artist like Juan Alcalde, is the unequivocal testimony of the constant commitment of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors to culture, and is also our most determined support for its creators and diffusers.

This Medal recognizes a life, a personal journey that you thus come to transmit in your works, a visible reference in which you offer us, by reliving and contemplating them, the possibility of also being artists.
Your work, all your work, is also an unequivocal source of hope, because you have exerted as a painter and engraver, a profession in which you not only see the enthusiastic and optimistic charge that your targets give off, but also reaches the public and the viewer with a new look, as a gesture of encouragement and encouragement in which to demonstrate that in their lives and works the idea can come true that on many occasions, it is in difficulties and limitations where creativity is expressed with special intensity.
Juan Alcalde is a great artist, and he is because he dominates what is in his heart, and only the one who best understands and knows his affections and passions, becomes a great artist; an artist who dominates light and form through sensitivity.
That essential part of his artist soul is the one that manages to unite matter to the immaterial, giving shape to the spirit. My always admired Sorolla, who honored this institution when he was its President, used to say that painting is a “state of the soul”, a phrase that perfectly fits the art that Juan Alcalde gives us.
Juan is a great artist, a painter who has made his work a lifestyle, a painter who paints all day, every day of the year, who paints even when he does not. That when he sleeps he paints and when he sails he paints. Because the gift he has given to all of us who love art, the gift of being a painter, has hidden the poison and the sweet burden of the total dedication and dedication with which he has governed his life.
The world of culture, society in general, we can only thank him for his contribution and recognize the creative art that underlies the back of all his work, in which the most original illusion that fits for life beats, that of making life pure beauty.
That is what this Medal that we give you today intends, to be the shared vision of who you are and what we want to be through your work. Miguel de Unamuno, whose sensitivity is shared by each and every one of Juan Alcalde’s works, said that “the artist and especially man, will continue to speak through his work, for the benefit and enjoyment of many generations.”
That is the example that you leave and that in a simple way, we appreciate.
Today we pay tribute to who, as the Secretary General said before, has managed to be Juan Alcalde. May this shared moment always remain in your heart, as it will remain in our history and our memory.
Let it be engraved in gold. Forever, dear Juan. There is no medal that can be made of the alloy of affection, friendship and gratitude, with which this Medal is symbolically made, which we present to you today from the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors ”.
The President then presented the Medal of Honor to Juan Alcalde, who received it excitedly and addressed a few words to the attendees in which he could only thank the honor and declare himself happy and excited for being there, and knowing himself to be the object of such special attention.
He was later required to sign in the Book of Honor of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, and he did so with firm, clear and neat handwriting, before the expectation of those present for the comments that the honoree made at all times and in the that jokingly was about the 99 years he had already completed.
The Infanta Doña Elena, sitting up to that moment among the public, came to congratulate the friend and artist and affectionately posed with the members of the presidential table, as well as how many assistants and friends were in the act.
It is worth remembering the multiple occasions in which the royal family has attended events organized by the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, taking into account that SS.MM. the kings don Juan Carlos and doña Sofía are the Honorary Presidents of the centennial entity, which is about to announce the 52 Queen Sofia Prize for Painting and Sculpture.
He then signed the Infanta in the entity’s Book of Honor, just below the signature that he dedicated in the year 90 on the occasion of his visit to the traditional Autumn Salon, and promised to attend, to the extent possible, other events of the entity.

Summoned the 86th Fall Salon 2019

The visual image of the contest is the work of Javier Ortas

The Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors announces the 86th edition of the Autumn Salon, which has the support of the Maxam Foundation

Until October 5 the works can be presented

The winning works will be announced on November 7

The finalist works will be exhibited at the Casa de Vacas del Retiro in Madrid from October 31 to November 24

The Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, with the unconditional support of the Maxam Foundation, announces the 86th Autumn Salon, the oldest and most prestigious artistic event in Spain, whose purpose is to stimulate creation and contribute especially to the promotion and the projection of artists in Spain.
The call has 7 free access prizes, the Down Madrid Painting Medal, reserved for artists of this group who will exhibit the winning work for the third time within the framework of the Exhibition and a total of eleven more Medals, reserved for the members of the centenary entity, whose attraction lies in the recognition of artists by other artists and in the prestigious awards, which bear the name of the founders of AEPE.
“Reaching the 86th edition of a renowned event such as the Salon de Otoño, says José Gabriel Astudillo, President of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, is a triumph in itself, since no other contest in Spain treasures that age, nor a list of names such as the one that the institution has gathered all these years, names that are already part of the history of art such as Picasso, Alberti, Benlliure, the Benedito brothers, Benjamín Palencia, Vázquez Díaz “…
The 1st Autumn Salon of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors was born in 1920 and since its inception seeks the promotion of new values ​​in a line of innovative culture, that is, does not seek a display of awards that involve an economic endowment, but a excellence that transforms into the dissemination of the work and the artist, and that, according to José Gabriel Astudillo, means not endowing the awards economically, but being creative and channeling those selected and awarded on the difficult path of artistic creation.

Recognize talent is just what entities like Tritoma Cultural Management, the Getafe City Council, the Baluarte Hall of the City of Tres Cantos, Codina Escultura, Encuentro Real Estate, Santiago de Santiago and the Spanish Association of Watercolor Painters, which converge in this new edition of the Autumn Salon, next to the City Hall of Madrid, which will exhibit the selected and awarded works in the Casa de Vacas from the Parque del Retiro in Madrid from October 31 to November 24, and the Maxam Foundation, the official sponsor of the Hall.
The jury of the award, which will be made up of prestigious people in the fields of criticism, art history and artistic activity, will be chaired by the President of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, José Gabriel Astudillo, acting as Secretary of the same Maria Dolores Barreda Perez, Secretary General of the AEPE, will make a selection of the works presented, from which will come the winners, which will be exhibited in the Casa de Vacas of the Retiro Park in Madrid between October 31 and on November 24, 2019. The winners will be announced on November 7, at the moment of the jury’s decision, awards ceremony and opening of the exhibition.
Throughout these last 6 years, the Salon de Otoño has become a traditional event within the Spanish art scene, a must in terms of novelties, trends and new contemporary plastic proposals, as well as a showcase for the best painting and current sculpture.
Each year the artists have the opportunity to present their new creations and opt for an accredited Prize that includes the edition of a catalog, the exhibition of their pictorial work and the knowledge that it has been selected by a highly qualified and prestigious jury .
The Prize can present Spanish artists or residents in Spain, in the modalities of painting, sculpture, drawing, engraving and watercolor in formats designed to enable the participation of all creators, from 46 cms to the maximum size of 200.
The bases and the registration form can now be downloaded from the AEPE website www.apintoresyescultores.es, tab “Contests and Awards”, sub-tab “Bases”, and in the same tab, sub-tab “Salón de Otoño”.

donated to AEPE a portrait of alvaro delgado

On April 12, 2019, the act of donating the “Portrait of Ignacio Molina Niño”, by the artist Álvaro Delgado Ramos and the kindness of his son, Ignacio Molina de la Peña, who decided to donate it to the AEPE, took place at the headquarters of the AEPE. The Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors for its custody and as a way to guarantee its adequate conservation.
The generous gesture of those who understand that art should be something that must be preserved for future generations, has understood that our centenary institution treasures a prestige and respect for artists, whether or not partners, which has become worthy of the custody of a beautiful work of art by that famous Spanish painter.
This detail is what was highlighted by the President of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, José Gabriel Astudillo López, who thanked Ignacio Molina for his selfless gesture and confidence in the institution on behalf of all its members and lovers of art in general.
He also revealed some details of the painter’s life and work, with special emphasis on the coincidence of the fact that the last portrait that was also donated to the AEPE was another disciple of Vázquez Díaz, as was Rafael Botí Gaitán and in this Álvaro Delgado Ramos, an artist who developed with particular intensity the genre of the portrait, interpreted in a unique expressionist way, conceiving this genre as a kind of serial essay approach to the intimacy of the portrayed until reaching its most defining features, which he underlined with expressive crudeness through some agile and bold strokes in line with the gestures and invoices of abstract expressionism.
In addition, the President commented how he personally experienced the repercussion that the portraits of Álvaro Delgado had in the city of Madrid, when he was commissioned to paint the Mayors Tierno Galván, Juan Barranco and Luis María Huete, since he was part of the municipal corporation at that time.
Astudillo also wanted to highlight the art of a Madrilenian who approached the group of painters of the Second School of Vallecas, embryo of the School of Madrid, where the importance of technique in painting and the sensuality with which the matter, treatment with which you could get various effects, including the intimate sense, endowing his works with a particular lyricism. De Solana took the trend towards monochrome.
Member of the Royal Board of the Prado Museum, appointed in 1970. He studied at the School of Painting in Madrid, forming part of the Second School of Vallecas. In 1949 he received a scholarship from the French Institute to travel to Paris, which allowed him to get in touch with the European avant-garde and to strengthen his admiration for the Cubist masters, Picasso and Braque. He is also interested in traditional Spanish painting and studies the work of Velázquez, Zurbarán and Goya. According to the artist himself, it is, however, El Greco the painter who has most influenced his work. In 1951 he participated in the Venice Biennial and, among other prizes, he won in 1953 the painting of the II Hispano-American Biennial, in 1955 the great painting prize of the Alexandria Biennial and in 1962 the gold medal of the National Engraving Salon . He is academic of number of the Real Academy of Beautiful Arts of San Fernando, from 1974; holder of the Academy of Art, Sciences and Literature of Europe, since 1988, and corresponding academic of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Our Lady of Sorrows, of Granada, since 1991. He is patron of the Friends of the Prado Foundation since 1995 to 2011. He has received, among other awards, the medal of the Madrid City Council for Artistic Merit, in 1991; the gold medal of the Villa de Madrid in 1995, and the national gold medal of Fine Arts, in 1996.

José María Juarranz will present the paper on Guernica and Picasso

At the headquarters of the Spanish Association of Painters and Sculptors, next Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. will take place the presentation of the paper on the Guernica and Picasso made the prestigious professor of geography and history of the Complutense University of Madrid, José María Juarranz de la Fuente.

The book “Guernica. The unknown masterpiece “is the fruit of fourteen years of research and almost 300 pages, testimony to the serious commitment of José María Juarranz in showing that Picasso’s Guernica is not a metaphor for the Nazi bombing of that Basque city, but a compilation of elements that through a language, relatively encrypted, symbolize details of his biography.
“The decision to title the canvas was opportunistic, a trompe l’oeil that hides the reality of the painting (…) All the paintings that Spain took to its pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition were propaganda works”. “And in a pavilion where everything was propaganda works … How could I put a painting about his life?”
For the teacher, the name of the work comes from the visit to the Parisian studio of Picasso that his friends made him, the poet Paul Éluard, and Zerbos, Basque nationalist poet, among others.
In the words of Larrea, upon seeing the work, one of them exclaimed “¡Guernica!” and Picasso found the “perfect plinth” to elevate the work of category and “multiply his ancestry and visibility throughout Europe”: “Picasso the bombing of Guernica did not affect him, he did not care what happened in Guernica, like no he cared what happened in Spain. ”
“There have been coherent studies,” he said, “but I have made the real jump.” The painting is a synthesis of the most important moments in its history, the 1864 Andalusian earthquake, the death of his friend Carlos Casagemas and his marital conflict in the 30s with his wife Olga Khokhlova “, has qualified.
Thus, the book maintains that the minotaur is a “self-portrait” of Picasso with which he wanted to put himself at the height of Velázquez and Goya in his paintings Las meninas and La familia de Carlos IV, respectively; and the horse would be his wife Olga Khokhlova, “he says.
In addition, for the author, the figure of the fainting mother holding her baby would not mean suffering for war, as understood until now, but would be her lover Marie Thérèse Walter and her daughter Maya; and the woman with the lamp, identified with the figure of the Republic, is the painter’s mother.
Among other conclusions, the dead warrior lying on the ground is his friend Carlos Casagemas. “This interpretation is the most successful of those that have been made so far,” concludes the author of this book, prefaced by Vicente Verdú.

(Español) Rosario de Velasco Belausteguigoitia

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