Duquesa de Alba, 1972
The MACBA Collection has a representative selection of paintings by Alberto Solsona, with works from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Already in one of his first paintings, Amarillo, negro y azul (Yellow, Black and Blue, 1968), a haunting central figure – halfway between automatic drawing and psychedelic illustration – announces the combination of Pop and Surrealism that will guide the work of Solsona for a decade. In line with the aesthetic language of other Spanish painters of the period, Solsona uses comic elements and mass culture to voice a political critique. Also at this time, he produced a series of works based on the repetition of signs and icons, for example Símbolos (Symbols, 1971), with military and religious images such as the Greek cross or the swastika, the U.S. flag and other serial elements that served as a lever against the repressive nature of the late Franco regime. In Duquesa de Alba (Duchess of Alba, 1972), the reference to Goya’s work connects with the historical review conducted by other artists of the time, such as Eduardo Arroyo and Equipo Crónica.
From 1972–77, the social and political critique in Solsona’s work became more accentuated and explicit, and he began signing his paintings jointly with Fernando Almela. In Hazañas bélicas (‘Combat’ comic, 1972), and in the work of the same title from 1975, a brain over military imagery evokes human irrationality. In El arte de la guerra (The Art of War, 1973), the representation of a military parade refers to the domestic and traditionally female skill of cross-stitching. In other works, Solsona placed mannequins and grotesque erotic women in theatre sets full of objects. A game of associations that is reinforced in works such as Ateneo de Madrid (XVII) (1974), one of the artist’s most iconic paintings, in whichshows festive and also threatening elements are displayed on the steps of this cultural institution. Romance de cielo (Romance of Heaven, 1974) combines these elements with the language of comic strips, while Nothing to Say (1976) shows a room lined with comics (Mickey Mouse, Virolet, Mafalda, TBO), where a couple kiss while some hands gesticulate.
In the late seventies, the work of Solsona takes a dramatic turn toward abstraction. The new social and political situation of democracy marks the end of Spanish Pop as critique and painting moves toward languages such as the New Figuration or a new abstraction. This move aligns Solsona with the Cuenca Group, formed by Fernando Zóbel, Gustavo Torner and Gerardo Rueda, who practice introspective painting with much ornamental purity. Solsona is now interested in the sensual use of colour, curved lines and the tension between fiction and reality, aspects especially valued by Baroque painting. Diagonal verde (Diagonal Green, 1979) and Plano Rosa (Pink Plane, 1980) are some of the first works of this new turn in his work. In the abstraction practised by Solsona, the arabesque gradually gains in importance, as reflected, for example, in Gran arabesco en gris (Great Arabesque in Grey, 1982). In his final years, Solsona’s work becomes colourful and playful again, with a partial return to figuration and an interest in plant elements. Good examples of this late style are found in Lirio negro sobre blanco (Black Lily on White, 1987) and Lirio rojo sobre blanco (Red Lily on White, 1988), two of his final works.
- Original title:
- Duquesa de Alba
- Registration number:
- Solsona, Alberto
- Date created:
- Date acquired:
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
- Object type:
- Acrylic on canvas
- 73 x 60.1 x 1.6 cm (height x width x depth)
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium. Gift of Fundación Almela-Solsona
- © Fundación Almela-Solsona
- It has accessibility resources:
The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.
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