Manolo Millares

Manolo-Millares-portrait-1971-Photograph

Manolo Millares was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on February 17, 1926.

 

A self-taught painter, his first and early forays into painting were modeled on the landscapes of Lanzarote and his native island made in watercolor. He also collaborated in literary magazines with his brothers Agustín and José María. After a brief contact with surrealism, he promoted the founding of the LADAC group (Los Arqueros del Arte Contemporáneo) already immersed in Torres García's constructivism and the aboriginal paintings that would evolve into his first Canarian Pictographs. In them his passion for archeology is revealed, which will permeate his work to a great extent from then on, with the inclusion of the signs of the Guanche painting of the Barranco de Balos and other island sites, the later use of burlap, emulating the Guanche mummies that he had the opportunity to meet on his visits to the Canarian Museum, as well as in his relationship with the Altamira School.

The year 1955 marked a turning point both in his personal life and in the direction of his artistic production. This is the year in which he leaves the islands to reside permanently in Madrid in the company of his wife Elvireta Escobio, and the moment also in which he simplifies his painting and incorporates new materials - wood, ceramic, sand - and especially burlap, material which will become the basis for all your future production. Now the Walls, Compositions with harmonic textures and Compositions with lost dimension appear.

In 1957 he co-founded the El Paso group, which despite its brief existence - it dissolved three years later - was a shock to the Spanish avant-garde of the 1950s. Millares burlap bags become more violent and the use of color is drastically reduced to black, white, red, and the ocher of the burlap itself. The international projection of Millares is consolidated under the tutelage of its dealers in the United States and Europe, Pierre Matisse and Daniel Cordier, with exhibitions in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Brussels, Rome, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro among other. After a period in which black conquers the sackcloths with large-format and volume paintings, in its last stage, the color white takes on greater prominence - "the triumph of white" that José-Augusto França would point out - although his work does not lose any an iota of its drama. From these periods arise the Homunculi, Neanderthalians, Fallen Characters or Anthropofaunas.

Parallel to his paintings with sackcloths, he works extensively with other supports and techniques, such as painting on paper and Indian ink drawings. It also has an important production of graphic work where the serigraph folders, Mutilado de Paz and Torquemada, the dry tips of Auto de fe and the magnificent folder of etchings, Antropofauna, edited by Gustavo Gili stand out.

In 1971, at just 45 years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor from which he died in Madrid on August 14, 1972.