PARIS – A set of abstract portraits of French movie icon Brigitte Bardot by Antonio Saura will go on show at a Paris gallery.
Jordi Mayoral, director of the Mayoral Gallery, told EFE: “Saura is one of the great masters who knew how to capture yesterday and today.”
He said the painter developed the main themes of life, which has rendered his work timeless.
Born in Huesca in 1930 and the elder brother of movie director Carlos Saura, the artist harnessed an expressive style, regularly monochromatic and with a powerful narrative.
“He saw the canvas as a battle,” Mayoral said.
“His paintings portray the tragedy that Spain was living at that time, recovering the spirit of Goya or Picasso in his darkest works.”
Mayoral recently opened a headquarters in Paris after 30 years of organizing shows in Barcelona.
The six works shown at the gallery date from 1956 to 1962 and among them two portraits of Bardot shine.
One of them was exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York in 1964 but has not seen the light of day since then.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bardot became a sex symbol and although Saura never met the actress, he thought it was better this way.
His portrait attempted to capture the fascination and myth behind the star.
Curator Martine Hereida said that for the painter “the figure of women is more a field of research than a subject of predilection.”
She added Bardot’s portrait shows how he transforms and exaggerates human forms and turns them into monsters.
This is a theme that travels across the other five paintings featured in the exhibition.
“Saura portrays a black and white Spain because the context was doubly difficult, a postwar period and a dictatorship were combined,” Mayoral said.
Both the economy and culture were destroyed after the Spanish Civil War.
The artistic ecosystem collapsed and it took almost 20 years for a new generation of artists to emerge, the director of the gallery director added.
A generation that was connected to international artistic movements, such as the brutalist art of France, the expressionism of the United States or the COBRA movement of northern Europe.
The Spanish painter visited the French capital for the first time in 1952 and returned to establish his residence from 1954 to 1956.
According to Mayoral, “for Saura and his generation, Paris was not only the capital of art, it was also of freedom.”