On the occasion of Ramón Gaya's hundredth anniversary IVAM
exhibits "Homenaje a la pintura" [Homage to painting], which is co-organized by the State Society of Cultural Commemorations (SECC), in order to recall the love for painting expressed by Ramón Gaya through his tributes to past distinguished painters. It was during his exile in Mexico when, away from European museums but surrounded with painting reproductions he was fond of, he decided to pay tribute to the works he considered, more than historic witnesses, fully alive, as years after being created still impress those who gaze at them.
This homage to painting was not focused on a particular school or culture, as it includes Chinese or Japanese together with Spanish, Dutch or Italian painters, by observing, more than their formal appearance, their pictoric essence.
A catalogue has been published on the occasion of the exhibition. It includes the exhibited works and texts about Ramón Gaya's life and work by Andrés Trapiello, Pascual Masiá and Consuelo Císcar, as well as poems by Enrique de Rivas, Alex Susana, Carlos Marzal, José Rubio Fresneda, Eloy Sánchez Rosillo, Vicente Gallego, Francisco Brines and Tomás Segovia.
Ramón Gaya (Murcia 1910 Valencia 2005). He left school when he was ten years old to devote himself completely to painting, with the support of his father and the advise of the Murcian painters Flores and Garay. In 1928 he had a grant to go to Paris, where the illusion to meet Vanguard could only be compared to the disillusionment he felt when he bumped into them, which made him turn his gaze to the Louvre and, above all, to El Prado, "his" museum, where he found the ones who would be his pictoric references and his masters throughout seventy years: Tiziano, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Rubens and those who have spontaneously contributed to conform his pictorical universe and with who he set an uninterrupted dialogue. When he came back to Spain, Gaya settled down in Madrid in 1933 and took part in the Misiones Pedagógicas [Pedagogical Missions] traveling all over Spain in order to accompany Rafael Dieste, Luis Cernuda and Antonio Sánchez Barbudo.
With the outbreak of the war he was in favor of the Spanish Republic and collaborated with the Valencian magazine Hora de España, together with Antonio Machado, Dieste, Gil-Albert, María Zambrano, Bergamín or Luis Cernuda. At the end of the war he went into exile to Mexico, where he lived for fourteen years. Estrangement from European museums, from the work of the masters of painting, was the origin of his tributes to Tiziano, Picasso, Velázquez, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Hokusai, etc, who inspired many of his paintings. His modern and cutting edge conception of painting, as well as his character and his silent work, turned him into "one of the deepest and most solitary Spanish artists of the twentieth century", as well as one of the most singular and original.
In 1956 he moved to Rome, where he went on with his lonely and isolated life, he scarcely met another Spanish exiled, María Zamabrano, or the sculptor Giacomo Manzú and the writer Elena Croce. After a first visit to Spain in 1960, he extended his stays in Barcelona and in Valencia, where he set his studio in 1974. In the meantime, he wrote and published his two most important books El sentimiento de la pintura [The feeling of paiting] (1960) and Velázquez, pájaro solitario [Velázquez, a lonely bird] (1969), and he organized an exhibition in Madrid in 1978, which was considered as his official presentation in Spain. Since 1984, he lived in Madrid, though he often traveled to Paris, Rome, Valencia and Murcia, where a museum named after him was inaugurated in 1990. The IVAM dedicated a thorough exhibition to him in 2000.