Permanent Collection

José María Yturralde

Cuenca, 1942
Rhythm, 1966Rhythm, 1966

As can be seen in many paintings in this museum, the core ideas of Spanish abstract art began to set at the end of the 1950s. It was then that Spanish abstract art decisively followed the road of non-objectivism and abstract expressionism, tendencies that were dominated by appearance, action and a certain form of subjectivism. But, fortunately, these were not the only roads trodden by Spanish artists at the time—on different fronts, the members of the Equipo 57 group, as well as some sculptors from the Gaur group, the artists of the Parpalló group and the painters of Cuenca, attempted other paths of abstraction that made use of objectivity, geometry, constructivism and certain formalist ideas.

Born in Cuenca, educated in Valencia, where the Parpalló group took shape —including Andreu Alfaro, Amadeo Gabino and Eusebio Sempere, among others—and closely linked to the painters of Cuenca's Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Yturralde practiced an abstraction rooted in geometry and close to op art. Some of his works include objects that are reminiscent of "matter" painting, but these objects do not imbue his works with an expressionist or brutalist tone. On the contrary, the ideas of order and serial progression strengthen the objective character of his work.

Ritmo is a good example of this tendency. In it, Yturralde arranges a number of fine rods—which to all intents and purposes are objects—diagonally in three rows. As each row is slightly shifted with respect to the others, a slow, contained and serene rhythm is established, removed from any subjectivism.

Although we can vaguely appreciate in this work the influence of essentialism that encouraged the works of Piet Mondrian or Theo van Doesburg, the immaculate white that bathes the whole surface distances Yturralde from these artists.

Juan Manuel Bonet, en Catalog Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, 2016