Manolo Millares - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, March 7, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    J. Peter W. Cochrane, London (gifted by the artist)
    The Estate of J. Peter W. Cochrane, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005

  • Exhibited

    London, Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., La nueva pintura de España II. Six Contemporary Spanish Painters (Feito, Lago, Lucio, Millares, Saura, Victoria), 4 January - 3 February 1962, no. 23 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Alfonso de la Torre, Manolo Millares Pinturas. Catálogo Razonado, Madrid, 2004, no. 210, p. 243 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Texturally engaging and visually emotive, Cuadro 128 is a striking example of Manolo Millares’ abstract assemblages whereby the artist tears, bunches, ties and stitches materials together in a way that has revolutionised the pictorial tradition. Having been in the collection of John Peter Warren Cochrane, director of the influential Arthur Tooth & Sons Gallery in London, for circa four decades, prior to his death in 2004 the work had not been seen publicly since 1962. Driven by the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and Second World War, Millares’ enforces an austere palette, combining dark tones and flashes of red, that set about reflecting the artist’s response to the past climate of destruction and ravages on humanity. In the present work, the torn and stitched canvas emulates the wounds both on and off the battle field as the paint drips and bleeds across the picture surface, bringing forward a powerful and impactful presence.

    These potent collages first occupied Millares’ oeuvre from 1954, as he set about creating enigmatic picture surfaces by drawing upon a combination of sackcloth, ceramics, wood and sand. The artist’s sackcloth works are the product of his early childhood. The years following the Spanish Civil War saw rationed supplies of basic food, such as beans and flour, stored in sacks made from the coarse hessian material. Additionally, the artist’s youth was spent in his home city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, where he developed a lifelong fascination with archaeological and anthropological remains. Millares was a regular visitor to the museum in Las Palmas, becoming particularly fascinated by the mummified remains of the Guanches – the island’s original inhabitants, who had been driven to extinction by conquest and invasion. These visits would become particularly significant in his exploration into the possibilities of humble materials.

    The year following the execution of Cuadro 128, the canvas was exhibited at Arthur Tooth & Sons in London within their Six Contemporary Spanish painters exhibition. Alongside Millares’ canvases, was the work of Luis Feito and Antonio Saura. These two Spanish artists were part of the El Paso group, of which Millares co- founded in 1957. The group shared the same philosophy; contemporary Spanish painting had stagnated in the post-war era and was in need of renewed drive. The group was not homogenous in membership, as the artists employed a multitude of styles. Together, however, the members stated that ‘a revolutionary plastic art which will include both our dramatic tradition and our direct expression, and be our historic response to a universal activity… Our goal is a great transformation of plastic art in which may be found the expression of a new reality’ (Manolo Millares, quoted in Jose-Augusto Franca, Millares, Barcelona, 1978, p. 64). Within Cuadro 128, Millares has masterfully adopted and utilised raw materials to create a visually emotive composition, reinventing the direction of Spanish contemporary art.

Property from the Triton Collection Foundation


Cuadro 128

signed 'MILLARES' lower left; further signed, titled and dated 'MILLARES - "CUADRO 128" / 61' on the stretcher
mixed media on burlap
60.3 x 73 cm (23 3/4 x 28 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1960 - 1961.

We are most grateful to Mr Alfonso de la Torre Vidal for the information he has kindly provided.

£100,000 - 150,000 ‡♠

Sold for £206,250

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2018