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Rostre, 1963

Face, 1963
Painting, 65.5 x 50 cm

In the paintings of Josep M. de Sucre, portraits of distressed characters are the main subject. These men and women are portrayed with obsessive faces and hallucinating eyes that suggest intensely existential inner universes. With an Expressionist air and a certain primitivism suggestive of Fauvism, they are closely linked to the world of the Russian painter Alexej von Jawlensky or to Paul Klee, whom de Sucre admired. With a broad brushstroke and a use of colour often close to tenebrism, his characters condense much of the pain associated with the twentieth century.

His technical simplicity (he generally used wax crayon on small format paper) and his obsessive character (he repeats faces and eyes, while the majority of his portraits are full-frontal) merge with the Expressionist and dramatic character. While in some works the grotesque element comes close to caricature, in his painting de Sucre explores the subconscious in an unremitting search for the truth. Like other creators with whom he established a close complicity, such as the painter Rafael Barradas and the poet Joan Salvat-Papasseit, he felt a need for moral depth. In a 1955 article on the work of Àngel Ferrant, published in the magazine Inquietud, de Sucre wrote: ‘What is art but a means of sharing our inner life?’

Technical details

Original title:
Registration number:
Sucre, Josep Maria de
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan
Object type:
Watercolour and gouache on paper
65.5 x 50 cm (height x width)
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan. National Collection of Art. Formerly Salvador Riera Collection
© Josep Maria de Sucre
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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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