May 16, 2011


visit guided tour to exhibition "Menchu Gal, The joy of color".

D. Francisco Javier Zubiaur Carreño

The guided visit to the exhibition "Menchu Gal, The Joy of Color", in the Mixed Pavilion of the Citadel of Pamplona, was to position of its curator, Francisco Javier Zubiaur Carreño, professor at the University of Navarra.
Zubiaur began his explanation with an introduction in which he highlighted the biographical profile of Menchu Gal Orendain (Irun, 1919-San Sebastian, 2008): her apprenticeship with Gaspar Montes Iturrioz in her hometown, her first trip to Paris where she spent four months at the academy of the purist Amedée Ozenfant, the beginning of her programs of study at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, which was interrupted by the Civil War, and then continued under the tutelage of Daniel Vázquez Díaz and Aurelio Arteta; his knowledge of Benjamín Palencia and participation in the Young School of Madrid; and the powerful attraction he always felt for the mouth of the Bidasoa River, a place he visited frequently, abandoning for a while his residency program in Madrid. He also alluded to the predominant genres in his painting and its most outstanding characteristics, among them the dominant figuration and the feeling for color.
As for her figurative option, the curator pointed out that it was not an imitation of reality without further ado, but an interpretation of the natural world, which was influenced by the subjective emotion of the painter, which was translated stylistically, and in an evolutionary way, by means of impressionism, neocubism, and neocubism, neo-cubism, and expressionism, more properly fauvist, although she also mentioned the strange echoes that in her painting resound of other and diverse painters, from the Italian Renaissance to the Central European expressionists, the Nabis, Chagall and a long etc., test Menchu Gal's painting summarizes very well the evolution of the arts in the last eighty years and its link with tradition.
The value of Menchu Gal's work has been recognized by the main Spanish critics and historians, and is articulated around the great domains in which she worked: landscape, portrait, still life. The brilliant execution of her work, her freshness, her vitalism, her penetrating vision to see beyond appearance, all within a renewed figuration that allows her successors to link with the Spanish pictorial tradition without underestimating the new art from beyond our borders, vitalizing it with her Basque contribution, have been highlighted in her work.

Light and color played absolutely protagonist roles in his work. The attraction for color leads to light and vice versa. And the form, or a certain Degree of informalism, speak to us of his emotional capacity, of his passion or, on the contrary, of his delicately poetic feeling at the moment of applying his brushes.

As for her contribution to Spanish painting as a whole, Zubisur emphasized her belonging to a generation of survivors, those of the Spanish post-war period that emerged between 1940 and 1960, and not only survived, but flourished in the hardest moment, which is even more admirable being a woman. It is praiseworthy that in that environment she knew how to defend her artistic vocation and impose her name to the specialized critics. Her career never ceases to amaze us, as it reaches 70 years of production, with a trajectory recognized by important awards: the Great award of Watercolor in the II Biennial of Art of the Caribbean (1954), the award to the Best Portrait in the III Hispano-American Biennial of Art of Barcelona (1955), the award National of Painting (1959) and the award Biosca (1960), having obtained all the existing ones in her land, Gipuzkoa.

Menchu Gal, "View of Fuenterrabía".

Menchu Gal, "View of Fuenterrabía", dec. 1960.
Photo: Property and courtesy of the Menchu Gal Foundation (Madrid).

Menchu Gal, "Still life with bird".

Menchu Gal, "Still life with bird", dec. 1980.
Photo: Property and courtesy of the Menchu Gal Foundation (Madrid).

Menchu Gal, "Portrait of Ramón Faraldo".

Menchu Gal, "Portrait of Ramón Faraldo", ca. 1945.
Photo: Property and courtesy of the Menchu Gal Foundation (Madrid).

A moment of the visit guided tour of Menchu Gal's exhibition explained by its curator, Professor Francisco Javier Zubiaur Carreño.

A moment of the visit guided tour of Menchu Gal's exhibition explained by its curator, Professor Francisco Javier Zubiaur Carreño.