Meadows Museum presents major U.S. survey of Spanish modern art

Meadows Museum presents the most comprehensive exhibit of Spanish modern art to be shown in the 50 years.

Meadows Museum exhibit

Dallas (SMU) — The Meadows Museum at SMU is presenting the most comprehensive survey of Spanish modern art to be shown in the United States in 50 years.

The exhibition, which features more than 90 works of art dated from 1915-1957 by approximately 50 artists, is drawn predominantly from the Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo (ACAC), one of the most significant repositories of Spanish modern art in the world, with select masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Meadows Museum.

The collaboration and exhibition mark the first time many of these works will travel to the U.S., and the first opportunity for American audiences to experience the exceptional breadth and depth of the ACAC’s modern art collection. Curated by Eugenio Carmona, an internationally recognized scholar of 20th-century art, Modern Spanish Art from the Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo will be on view at the Meadows—the only venue for this exhibition—from October 9, 2016 through January 29, 2017.

The ACAC, which was formed in 1987 by a group of private companies in Spain, offers the only complete visual narrative of the development and evolution of Spanish art, from the beginnings of modern art to the present, through the work of many of the most important artists of the time. Leveraging the exceptional scope of the ACAC, the exhibition explores five distinct trajectories taken by Spanish artists of this period.

Among the artists featured are Eduardo Chillida, Óscar Domínguez, Pablo Gargallo, Julio González, Antoni Tàpies, Joaquín Torres-García, Josep de Togores, and Jorge Oteiza, who were little appreciated in their time but today have found international acclaim; Rafael Barradas, Leandre Cristòfol, Ángel Ferrant, Alberto Sánchez, and José Guerrero, who influenced the practice of their contemporaries in the U.S. and Spain alike; and artists, who — though critical to the history of modern art — remain lesser-known, including Alfonso Olivares and Martín Chirino. Works by these artists, and many more, are further augmented with masterpieces by some of the most famed Spanish modern artists, drawn from the collection of the Meadows Museum, including Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso.

“The 20th century was a fertile and creative time when it comes to modern art in Spain. In spite of the Civil War and the Franco regime, great art continued to be created throughout the era,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “The exhibition, through our collaboration with the ACAC, revisits this important artistic period and re-engages with artists and art that deserve greater recognition and a place in the popular understanding of modern art.”

While Spanish art of this period cannot be fully separated from its historical context, the exhibition focuses on the tremendous aesthetic contributions of Spanish artists to modern art at large, including those of the diaspora of Spanish artists who were working in cities such as Paris.

The five sections of the exhibition highlight five sensibilities that were present among modern Spanish artists; connective threads are evident among the featured artists, yet the diversity of the formal and conceptual approaches they took is underscored as well. The sections are as follows:

Rafael Barradas (Uruguayan, 1890-1929), Calle de Barcelona, 1918. Oil on canvas.
Rafael Barradas  (Uruguayan, 1890 ­‐ 1929),
Calle de Barcelona, 1918. Oil on canvas. Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Patio Herreriano



Form: Towards a Constructive Art

Works in this section represent a transition from the Cubist style to a freer interpretation of concrete, structured forms. Both abstract and figurative in subject, many of the works of art in this section highlight a powerful connection to the art of Latin America.

Alfonso de Olivares (Spanish, 1898-1936), Doric Column, 1932. Oil on canvas.
Alfonso de Olivares (Spanish, 1898 ­‐ 1936),
Doric Column, 1932. Oil on canvas.
Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Patio Herreriano



Lyricism and Free Expression

With these works, artists embraced a freedom and spontaneity in both gesture and subject matter. The paintings and sculptures in this section are connected by a sense of action and energy. Several of the works in this section represent a precursor to the advent of North America’s Abstract Expressionist movement.

Joaquim Sunyer (Spanish, 1874-1956), Portrait of Josep M. Albiñana, 1918-19. Oil on canvas.
Joaquim Sunyer (Spanish, 1874 ­‐1956),
Portrait of Josep M. Albiñana, 1918­‐19. Oil on canvas.
Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo, Museo



New Physiognomies, New Realisms

The artists represented in this section were at the forefront of modern realism; these artists depicted the men and women of a transforming European society in compositions that underscored their differences, their modernity and complexity, and particularly for women, their changing role in society.

Joan Ponç (Spanish, 1927-1984), Composition, 1947. Mixed media on board.
Joan Ponç (Spanish, 1927 ­‐ 1984),
Composition, 1947. Mixed media on board.
Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Patio Herreriano



Surrealisms Expanded

This section explores the range of approaches Spanish artists took to what is commonly understood as Surrealism. The work of these artists reveals a broader perception of what it meant to depict the unconscious, dream-state associated with the genre; these representations, in both two and three dimensions, uncover new ideas of paranoia, exile, memory, and human nature—both individual and collective.

 Manolo Millares (1926-1972), Collage, 1954. Mixed media and collage on burlap.
Manolo Millares  (Spanish, 1926 -­ 1972),
Collage, 1954. Mixed media and collage on burlap.
Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Patio Herreriano



Nature and Culture

The distinct relationship between nature and culture as expressed through art is explored in this section. The convergence of popular culture with nature and ethnography resulted in a vibrant approach to the creative process through which modern art and cultural identity were uniquely joined.


“In order to understand the scope and intensity of Spanish modern art, we have to ignore the common use of ‘isms,’ and look to the content of the works themselves,” Carmona explained. “The Spanish artists active during the heart of the 20th century continually pushed and eroded formal boundaries. Today, their work cannot be easily categorized as it falls dynamically across style, approach, and movement. With this exhibition and the groundbreaking partnership between the Meadows Museum and ACAC, we are providing new access to some of the major works of modern art.”

This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and the Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo in collaboration with Acción Cultural Española. BBVA/Compass is the main Supporting Corporate Sponsor, with the collaboration of Técnicas Reunidas, S.A.; Fundación Aon España; Fundación ACS; and Gas Natural Fenosa. A generous gift from The Meadows Foundation has made this exhibition possible.

About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The Museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’s vision to create “a small Prado for Texas.”

Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters. Since 2010 the Museum has been engaged in a multidimensional partnership with the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, which has included the exchange of scholarship, exhibitions, works of art, and other resources.

About Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo

The Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo (ACAC) was founded in 1987 by a large group of private Spanish enterprises with a mission to contribute to the conservation and dissemination of Spanish artistic heritage through the establishment of a collection of modern and contemporary art. In a unique arrangement, the companies contribute annually to an acquisition fund for the ACAC; these funds are then used to purchase works for the collection, guided by the ACAC’s distinguished panel of art advisors, including Antonio Bonet, Eugenio Carmona and Simón Marchán. Titular ownership of the works is then assigned to the participating companies by lottery, while the objects themselves remain under the care of, and publicly accessible through, the ACAC. This method ensures that the artworks acquired reflect the collection’s commitment to showcasing the brilliant history of Spain’s artists and to restoring to prominence works by many lesser-known artists.

The ACAC is chaired by José Lladó, renowned businessman, philanthropist and benefactor for arts and culture. Since 2002, María de Corral has been director of the collection, which now numbers more than 1,100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, in which most Spanish artists of the 20th and 21st centuries are represented. ACAC has developed its outreach mission with more than 1,110 loans to some 300 institutions and museums all over the world, and has also organized 23 exhibitions with its own funds, both within and outside of Spain, in order to achieve one of its main objectives: putting the collection in the service of society. In January 2000, a loan agreement was signed with the city of Valladolid for the deposit of the collection to the city’s Museo Patio Herreriano, focusing on the public enjoyment of these works in a permanent venue.



Sascha Freudenheim
PAVE Communications

Carrie Hunnicutt
Meadows Museum