Permanent Collection

Pablo Palazuelo

Madrid, 1915–Galapagar (Madrid), 2007
Rising (A Cubist Dice), 1954Rising (A Cubist Dice), 1954

In the summer of 1954, having already embarked on a successful career as an abstract painter in Paris, Palazuelo decided to start producing sculptures, possibly encouraged by his friend Eduardo Chillida. The result was a small clay piece that he initially entitled Un dado cubista. In September of that same year Palazuelo took his "dice" to the Codina foundry in Madrid, where he produced a bronze cast of it. But Ascendente, the title by which it is now known, is an expression of intention, more than a reality—although the "cubist dice" is unfolded, with its faces now opened, and one of them twisting upwards, in general, and despite its small size, it has a solid and heavy appearance. The roughly-textured modeling also emphasizes the weight of this compact and opaque mass of the bronze.

That same autumn of 1954, when Palazuelo showed his "dice" to Louis Clayeux, the director of Paris’ Galerie Maeght told him he did not like sculptures made by painters, thus seemingly truncating the idea that Palazuelo might be able to expand his work towards sculpture. However, the artist was not daunted and, around 1962, he began to cut out drawings and make cardboard models with them. Using a pair of scissors, he would cut flat forms from thin metal sheets which he then folded, giving a dynamic and three-dimensional character to his work. Thus, in the 1970s Palazuelo finally achieved a mature, serene and elegant form of sculpture, far from his failed attempt at m deling abstract sculptures with compact volumes, which he fortunately never attempted to produce again after his initial fiasco.

Javier Maderuelo, en Catalog Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, 2016

Omphale V, 1965-1967Omphale V, 1965-1967

In the summer of 1954, having already embarked on a successful career as an abstract painter in Paris, Palazuelo decided to start producing sculptures, possibly encouraged by his friend Eduardo Chillida. The result was a small clay piece that he initially entitled Un dado cubista. In September of that same year Palazuelo took his "dice" to the Codina foundry in Madrid, where he produced a bronze cast of it. But Ascendente, the title by which it is now known, is an expression of intention, more than a reality—although the "cubist dice" is unfolded, with its faces now opened, and one of them twisting upwards, in general, and despite its small size, it has a solid and heavy appearance. The roughly-textured modeling also emphasizes the weight of this compact and opaque mass of the bronze.

That same autumn of 1954, when Palazuelo showed his "dice" to Louis Clayeux, the director of Paris' Galerie Maeght told him he did not like sculptures made by painters, thus seemingly truncating the idea that Palazuelo might be able to expand his work towards sculpture. However, the artist was not daunted and, around 1962, he began to cut out drawings and make cardboard models with them. Using a pair of scissors, he would cut flat forms from thin metal sheets which he then folded, giving a dynamic and three-dimensional character to his work. Thus, in the 1970s Palazuelo finally achieved a mature, serene and elegant form of sculpture, far from his failed attempt at modeling abstract sculptures with compact volumes, which he fortunately never attempted to produce again after his initial fiasco.

Project for a Monument II, 1977Project for a Monument II, 1977

In the twentieth century there is a long tradition of what we could describe as "painter's sculpture," or sculptures produced by artists whose main occupation was painting—within this museum's collection, we can highlight the cases of Eusebio Sempere and Gustavo Torner.

Palazuelo also felt at a given point in his career the attraction of the three dimensions. His first sculpture, made in bronze, dates back to 1954. Entitled Ascendente [Ascendant], it has much in common with some of the works of his friend Eduardo Chillida.

In the 1960s Palazuelo began to produce sculptures on a more regular basis. In his three-dimensional works he defined spatial atmospheres by folding metal planes. On certain occasions his sculptures were even planned according to the specific space they were destined to occupy.

But it would be in the 1970s when Palazuelo would devote himself most intensely to this second vocation of his, abandoning at times painting almost completely in favor of s culpture, as visitors to his exhibitions verified during that decade.

Made of weathering steel, Proyecto para un monumento II is characteristic of Palazuelo's work in this field during the 1970s. It is a dynamic, aerial and immaterial sculpture, suggestive of the sensation of flying. With poetic precision, Claude Esteban described it as "seagulls gently balanced on the rocks, wings still flapping, drawn by the infinity of the wind and the saline gusts of the high seas."

The paradoxical weightlessness of this monument is reminiscent of another work produced by Palazuelo in the same year: entitled Rêve de vol [Dream of Flying], it is also part of the Fundación Juan March's collection.

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