David Delgado Ruiz
Historical Context of Spain
Spain has played a crucial role in the development of art in the twentieth century. In the early 1900s, a young Pablo Picasso developed a distinctively expressive approach to figuration in the post-Impressionist era, firstly with his Blue then Rose periods, although he was to settle in Paris in 1904. Picasso was also the key founding member of the Cubist movement, a group in which he was joined by fellow Spaniard Juan Gris. Both Salvador Dali and Joan Miro were prominent figures in the Surrealist movement, though they were also domiciled in France for large parts of their careers. During the twentieth century the political and cultural landscape of Spain was dominated by the totalitarian autocracy of General Franco whose dictatorship ruled the country, in one form or another, from 1939 until 1975, at which time the monarchy was restored to Juan-Carlos I who subsequently implemented substantial reform. The Franco regime was noted for its brutal anti-communist stance, and the departure of key intellectual and cultural figures that elected not to live under an oppressive regime. The cultural life of the avant-garde suffered significantly, since liberal artistic movements are often known for their leftist leanings. Important modern and contemporary Spanish artists include Antoni Tapíes, Eduardo Chillida, Eduardo Arroyo, and Manolo Valdes.