Fernando Zóbel Biography

Manila, 1924 - Rome, 1984

Fernando Zobel de Ayala y Montojo is one of the most important spanish painters in the 20th century. He fundamentally was dedicated to abstract painting. During the spanish civil war he was a refugee in Phillipines, where he stayed until the end of the World War II, in 1945. After this, he gained a degree on Philosophy and Literature in Harvard University, with a study on Federico Garcia Lorca. In this period he was more and more interested in painting and actually started painting since 1942, when he had to stay in bed for some time due to a back injury.

His first show was held in Boston, in 1951 and then in Manila, in 1952. One of the main artistic influences of that period was Mark Rothko, along with photography and its infinite possibilities.

In 1955 he travelled to Spain (from where he had left at the beginning of the civil war) and there he met the avant gard artists of the time: Luis Feito, Antonio Lorenzo, Gerardo Rueda... nevertheless, he still lived in Phillipines, where even the Universidad de Manila grants him a doctorate honoris causa.

From the sixties, he begins an evolution as a painter, developing his characteristic style, in which the japanese handwriting represents one of the main topics. Zobel's paintings have a simple and spontaneous appareance, even though they're created after a detailed study and perfect planning.

In 1963 he visited Cuenca, alongside his great friend Gustavo Torner and with him and Gerardo Rueda they founded the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in the Casas Colgadas, possibly the most emblematic place in the city. In it, beside the work of the three founders, reside pieces by Millares, Chirino, Lorenzo, Sempere, Saura, etc.

Fernando Zobel's prestige as a painter is immense and his pieces hang in the world's most important museums. He participated in more than 150 group exhibitios and more than 40 solo shows.