Antonio Saura - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galeria Val I 30, Valencia
    Private Collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Antonio Saura’s explorations of the human figure form a series of portraits that exemplify a total liberty in pictorial expression. With a background in surrealism, the artist soon experimented with new techniques and, in the 1950’s, adopted a gestural, strongly expressionist style. Forms inspired by the human profile are integrated into Saura’s artistic legacy in his re-visitation of portraiture in 1983. El Narigudo, carried out at the beginning of this endeavour, draws a characteristic association between corporeal form and satirical interpretation. The profoundly deformed anatomies fashion depictions that are dark, mysterious and obscure.
    The heavily gestural brushstrokes, suggestive expressions of line and selectively reduced palette build a disjointedly carnal image. The artist has gradually and cautiously added greys, ochres, browns and reds to the initial blacks and whites emblematic of his earlier canvases. The earthy palette implies at the frailty of the human body, in a similar manner to the strongly influential Pinturas negras by Goya. In his works there is an amalgamation of the traditional and the progressive: Saura maintained that, in a portrait, the presence of the model is less important that the artistic illusion created, stating: “Beyond useless discussions of figurative or abstract art is the imperious necessity to express oneself as one is, making ours all the energetic possibilities of the universe.”


El Narigudo

oil on canvas
130.2 x 97.5 cm (51 1/4 x 38 3/8 in.)
Incised 'SAURA' upper right. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Day Sale

+44 207 318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 October 2014 2pm