Lot #030

Fernando Zobel

Sin Titulo
signed (lower left)
oil on canvas
57” x 44 1/4” (145 cm x 112 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 3,000,000
HP + BP : Php 11,096,000
Authenticity This piece is accompanied by a certificate issued by Don Rafael Perez-Madero confirming the authenticity of this lot
Provenance Private collection, Madrid
Towards the year 1963, and after several years painting in black and white, Zóbel felt the need to return to the color, to experience new ways, new sensations, to try to give a twist to his painting, but never break with what has already been experienced. Zóbel evolved what he had already done, using his own techniques and methods but incorporating little by little the color in his painting. It was during this time that he began to observe the landscape, the lights, the shadows or anything that touched him. Not only was his painting enriched by color, but also by the diversity of themes and the different ways of attacking them. Angeles Villalba, in the biography he made for the catalog of the exhibition of Zobel in the Reina Sofía in the year 2003, gives us one of the most interesting points to follow in the trajectory of the painter: “This year, [Zóbel] returns to color and allows slowly entry to sienas, toasts, ochres and grays. (...) The subject of memory takes shape in this new stage, in which Zóbel, through forms, objects and imagination — I would also say landscapes — proposes to ‘remember in pictorial terms.’ In the prelude to this colorful stage, Zóbel develops the idea of a painting based on the memory of the lived experience that finds its literary paragon in the great work of Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time.” Zóbel, in different conversations and interviews, said: “I do not paint what I see; I paint what I remember seeing.” That is to say, the work sifts the memories, creating a climate in the picture so that the spectator completes it with its own memories — a painting directed to the intellect rather than to the senses. And this work that we are dealing with, painted in the years 1963/64, contains many of the qualities exposed and with which the painter gave a new trajectory to his works. Using color is introducing more elements to support and stabilizea painting, in different formats of composition. Zóbel began to divide the space as a landscape, with an up and down, with sky and earth or sky and water, but everything always suggested, abstracted, as it happens with this painting. A work somewhat enigmatic and contradictory in itself; where the earth, the bottom, is resolved by an ethereal nebula, which floats in the lower part of the painting, while the upper part is more material, even harder, forming a large square, based on small squares, in which the thickness and the texture of the painting can be appreciated. This apparent contradiction where the ethereal is in the earthly part and the matter is above, in the part of the sky, creates a great tension within the work, and all of it wrapped, in turn, within that evocative climate, in those memories abstracted from the painter, which somehow mentally involve the viewer in the contemplation of the picture.