Visita Los Venerables
<em>Membrillero</em> (detalle), 1990. Antonio López.

Membrillero (detalle), 1990. Antonio López.


Conversation With Art

Seville, April 4th 2018. Today, the first Conversation with Art was held at the Hospital de los Venerables, with the painter Antonio López García (Tomelloso, 1936) as the protagonist, who spoke with the general director of the Focus Foundation, Anabel Morillo, and with the artist and professor at the University of Seville Mar García Ranedo, as part of the exhibition A panorama of contemporary art in the Focus Collection, which is currently on display at the Hospital de los Venerables in Seville.

This new cultural initiative of the Focus Foundation aims to be the starting point of others that will be organized in the future, without a fixed periodicity, around the Focus collections: Centro Velázquez, Contemporary Art, Baroque Library, stamp collection, etc., in which reflections and dialogues are established between artists, academics, directors and curators of museums or art critics, which will serve to share experiences and perspectives about an art work or some unpublished aspect of a creator, always in relation to said collections.

In this case, the program begins with Antonio López, one of the great masters of European realism, around an emblematic work, Membrillero (1990), which is part of the current exhibition at Los Venerables. "I always was interested in the theme of the still life, although very linked to the city, in nature. I like the urban landscape; the nature transformed by the hand of man", he said.

Since he painted La parra in 1955, Antonio López has continued to draw or paint plum trees, peach trees, apple trees and quince trees, which are the fruit trees he met during his childhood in Tomelloso. Tha’s when he discovered the world and now remembers: "The quince trees in La Mancha were in the countryside and in the uncovered courtyards where the La Mancha gardens were. The quinces did not have a utilitarian character, but they provided shade and adorned. "

Membrillero was painted by Antonio López in 1990, together with a drawing of quinces, during the filming of El sol del membrillo, directed by Victor Erice, premiered in 1992 and which is an exceptional document of the artist's work process. He tried, and perhaps succeeded, to capture the time, to retain it, taking as a model the quince tree from the garden of his house in Madrid. "I wasn’t able finish the painting and I preferred to start the drawing by the outline of the forms. On the canvas, I did not have the same control you have in a studio. When you work on a tree or on a flower, the limit is marked by light and the theme itself. Membrillero expresses basic feelings of my painting and my truth", he said.

In this unfinished work, Antonio López knew how to capture the transience of a reality that is transforming until it glimpses a rich variety of green and yellow tones, in different ranges and intensities, getting it to outline the leaves and define volumes. There are two delimited levels: on the right, a greater clarity can be seen, close to a conceptual reality of the fruit of the quince, while on the left the forms dilute delicately towards abstraction. The painter achieves an essential image of fullness in the composition.

Antonio Lopez and the Focus Foundation

Anabel Morillo recalled that, in November 1994, the Antonio López exhibition was organized. Process of a work, curated by the artist's daughter, Maria López Moreno, gathered a set of canvases belonging to Antonio López's studio, which included what he had been able to keep, unfinished or abandoned, as well as works in process of execution, numerous sketches and preparatory notes for new paintings and sculptures.

When the exhibition ended in January 1995, Membrillero became part of the funds of the Focus Foundation, added Anabel Morillo. "The exhibition was conceived as the visit of a friend to the studio of a painter who teaches the back room of his workshop. And the idea of artistic friendship, in the words of Francisco Calvo Serraller in his text Lignum, included in the Lucio Muñoz catalog, led Antonio López in 1999 to curate the first posthumous exhibition dedicated to Lucio Muñoz, which took place in Los Venerables of Sevilla".

New Urban Perspectives: Seville and Bilbao

Currently, Antonio López is working on urban landscapes that move away from Madrid and Tomelloso to paint cities such as Seville and Bilbao or the landscape of Cabo de Gata. They are new scenarios, that in the case of the capital city of Seville, -admired for its beauty by Velázquez and many more contemporary artists-, have led him to start two large paintings on two scales: one in large scale and other one in a smaller scale that will reflect almost half of Seville.

"For me, the view of Seville has to include all the elements that attract the gaze of a traveler. The axis is the Guadalquivir river, but it also includes the sun, La Giralda, the Torre del Oro and those singular spaces of the city. He added that "I like to paint in summer because Seville is Spain at that station, but it is also a little Africa. It is a place that has wonderful aspects to paint. "

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