Texto publicado en el catálogo
MANOLO MILLARES OBRA GRÁFICA [1959-1972] CATÁLOGO RAZONADO
Madrid; Cuenca; Toledo y Marbella, 2017: Museo de Arte Abstracto Español-Fundación Juan March; Fundación Antonio Pérez-Diputación Cuenca; Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha; Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo. pp. 9-31
THE URGENT NEED FOR THE NEW
The Graphic Work of Manolo Millares [ 1959-1972 ]
Manolo Millares, c. 1960. Autor desconocido
Cortesía de Elvireta Escobio
[…] He feels the urgent need to say something new or that leads to something new
Joan Josep Tharrats, 19571
[…] And the new painters, sustained on a tradition that started at the beginning of this century, obstinately continue their pure efforts, their endeavours to invent as Apollinaire would put it uncharted territories where they could pluck the mystery in flower.
manolo millares, 19512
- BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION: MANOLO MILLARES TYPOPHILE
It should not strike us as odd that Manolo Millares Sall (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1926 – Madrid, 1972) had an abiding lifelong interest in etching and graphic techniques in general systems for multiplying images, to fall back on a term more of our times especially if we recall that one of his childhood fascinations was Goya’s Caprichos (1797-1799) and Disasters of War (1810-1815). He used to look at them in reproductions in books at the family home in Plaza de San Antonio Abad in Las Palmas. This was around 1933, and they exercised a powerful hold over the child and future artist.3 These images, a sublime pinnacle of chalcography, also inspired another element: they are a source of reflection on the geography of contemporary horror, and their affiliation with the vast expanse of images during the twentieth century should not be underestimated. Goya proved to be an exceptional predecessor of the modern topography of violence long before the rise of photography as a chronicler of wars and conflicts.4 And then, just another ten years later, in 1942, this “fond son of Goya”5 made his first monotypes, in what would prove to be a recurring practice right up until the sixties, using the one-off printing method of applying paint on a smooth surface that is later printed on paper by pressing the two together. The monotype would also run over into some areas of his drawings on paper, more as a technical than a reproductive resource, and it was frequent, even in the seventies, to find drawings that seemed to have come about from an initial phase of inking on another surface, later applied, and then finished with other direct methods. Those early monotypes from the forties were qualified by the artist as “some works with a cave painting structure”, that came from his work during a period of illness6 and that would inevitably have to be connected, however symbolically, with the pintaderas in the holdings of El Museo Canario, one of the places the artist visited, almost obsessively, in his youth7: “the so-called pintadera is a tool used to reproduce patterns represented on it by means of applying pressure. As such, it is a kind of stamp, though it is true that that was not its only function.”
Continuing this brief introduction to the events prior to his interest in chalcography, one ought not overlook his engagement with publishing from his time associated with Planas de Poesía9 for which he did illustrations for several issues until 1951. A pioneering artist, and a voice of his time,10 he maintained close links with books and journals, and publishing in general, addicted to a kind of typophilia, and he also did many posters and covers,11 as well as illustrations for magazines and other publications throughout his long career, including among others the often cited early book on US art, written in 1957 by Vicente Aguilera Cerni.12 This fascination with books and publications could also be traced back to Millares’s youth, as can be seen in those early “editions” of beach magazines (mirrored in their titles: Racha or Viento y Marea), conceived in the excitement of youth on the Las Canteras beach13 and it would eventually reach its zenith after his meeting with Lourdes Castro and his subsequent involvement in the KWY artistic project.
One would also have to highlight his collaboration, between 1959 and 1961, with the short-lived yet fruitful journal KWY, a publication which was practically made by hand, and this is especially true for its beginnings, created using a silkscreen process with various graphic formats. A project led by René Bèrtholo and Lourdes Castro,14 it was published at irregular intervals. The Millares met the Castro-Bèrtholos in Paris towards the end of May 195915, at the opening of the exhibition La jeune peinture espagnole. 13 Peintres espagnols actuels16 in Musée des Arts Décoratifs, at a time when KWY was produced on the sixth floor at number 71 rue des Saints-Pères, in Saint Germain.17 Bèrtholo was well conversant with silkscreening and was therefore in charge of the printing. Manolo Millares collaborated in two issues of this short-lived small-circulation journal, doing the silkscreen cover and the reproduction of a drawing for issues five (December 1959, 100 copies, 26 x 17 cm, 42/44 pp.)18 and eight (autumn 1961, 300 copies, 20 x 30 cm, 46 pp.). To a certain extent, issue number five mirrored Millares’s collaboration with Papeles de Son Armadans, the journal edited by Cela months earlier that same year, as the same text and image had already been published there. It is important to mention this collaboration in order to underscore the widespread international interest in the fertile artistic crisis in Spain that was symbolised by the El Paso group, against the backdrop of a defence of informal art. Likewise, it was equally significant for the fact that Millares’s cover for KWY was the artist’s first silkscreen print, published in a limited edition, and thus providing the opening bracket for the time span in the title of this publication. KWY was a silkscreened journal not so much for the limited means of printing (as has been incorrectly claimed) but more an auspicious desire to experiment with graphic methods and to work at the cutting edge of new art movements. This is borne out by its published output and the complex mesh of graphic means it used, which even included a sonic element with the inclusion of vinyl records. Other elements included typographed pages, typewritten or manuscript texts, collages with fragments and objects, photographs, fold outs, and so on. In addition, the enthusiasm with which René Bèrtholo transmitted this technique, in his extremely limited workshop in a chambre de bonne at Rue des Saints-Pères, encouraged Millares to set up his own small silkscreen workshop in his own studio in Madrid, equipping himself with screens and squeegees for this purpose. At the end of the sixties he would repeat this experimentation with chalcography.19 Once again, his insight into silkscreen printing, at that time a relatively new technique used in art, arrived to Spain from Paris, as illustrated by the case of Sempere as we shall see later.
The background of Millares’s collaboration with KWY also raises another significant issue: the artist’s wide-ranging knowledge of what was going on internationally gave him the insights revealed in this experimental handmade publication.20 In this journal or caderno Millares was able to be an active agent in the voyage of the time, symbolised in the early issues, making the transition from informalism to new realism. And among the more meaningful influences, in my opinion, was his awareness of the work of Christo21, objects/Boîtes Momifiées22 and barrels that would make their way into Millares’s work, an admiration that was also evident (again, to my way of thinking) in the singular proximity between the cover which Christo made for issue number 7 of KWY (winter 1960) and the catalogue for Millares’s posthumous exhibition at the Edurne gallery, in burlap, in 1974.23
At this juncture, it is also germane to point out that Millares’s interest in drawing, and work on paper, was to endure like a nerve running through his entire practice and that his drawing and graphic editions intersect or, perhaps better said, are entwined almost in one technique. Sometimes it is even difficult to distinguish between original and serial prints because of the extraordinary quality of the results, which is especially true for the prints in black inks, like a lot of those in his final suite of graphic works which we will address later. And also for the presence of flat inks in some drawings, which would seem to be treated using monotype techniques in few yet significant cases of cooling the stains before transferring them to the paper, be it by manual printing or using a plate, possibly glass. This was by no means strange, as the practice of monotype would seem to have its own place in his output (which was also fairly frequent in many artists in the fifties), as we can see in the inclusion, in 1955, of some monotypes in his early solo exhibitions in Tarragona, Tenerife and Tortosa.24 We could also add to the list of this monotypophilia the five beautiful illustrations for the text by Cirilo Popovici in the catalogue from 1957 for the major Millares exhibition at the Ateneo in Madrid,25 which he would also repeat on the cover of the notebook dedicated to El Paso, written by Aguilera Cerni, also to coincide with that exhibition,26 which was, as we have said before, the opening salvo for this informalist group. These monotypes also connect with another aspect we have mentioned before, namely his extraordinary relationship with the painting of the time, his perforated burlap works, the compositions with harmonic textures or lost dimension, on exhibit at the Prado hall in the above-mentioned institution.27
At the beginning of Millares’s engagement with printing, one ought to bear in mind the importance of meeting Juana Mordó, at Galería Biosca28 with whom he worked. When she opened her own gallery in 1964 Mordó would be Millares’s gallerist. She was a booklover and the driving force behind Ediciones de la Rosa Vera29, one of the first serious endeavours, in terms of quality and intensity, with graphic editions in Spain after the war. And Millares was also to do his penultimate portfolio with her, the beautiful sextet of silkscreen prints called Torquemada (1970).
When speaking about his interest in graphic work, one ought to recall Millares’s connection in the fifties with the art world in Catalonia, where he had his first solo exhibition (1951)30 and where the group of archers in LADAC31 also showed their works. Catalonia was well known for its fondness for printwork and editions. All we have to do is think, for instance, of Joan Miró’s support for Millares in the late fifties, or the graphic ventures of Cobalto/Club 49 and Dau al Set, the Salon del Jazz32, and also the work of Ricard Giralt-Miracle33 in the late forties and early fifties.
To conclude this introductory section, it is worth mentioning that, in 1973, two listings of his graphic work were undertaken which, to a certain extent, serve as precedents for this catalogue raisonné: especially the detailed description in the catalogue published by Casa de Colón (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1973)34, whose stated goal was to produce a catalogue raisonné of Millares’s graphic output.35 Around this time, 1973 and 1974, the artist had several exhibitions of graphic work: at Galería Tassili (Oviedo, 1973)36 and Galería 42 (Barcelona, 1973-1974)37. To a certain extent, almost as soon as Millares had died, it seemed as if his stature in chalcography was recognised and amends were made for the critical silence that the artist had unquestionably suffered throughout his career.38 Barely a few lines were dedicated to this titanic endeavour embracing around fifty editions, for the most part included in five major portfolios, made in just over ten years, spanning from his first silkscreen print in 1959, to his final creations in the days just before his death. And that is without counting some wonderful posters made using silkscreen techniques. This was perhaps, it now occurs to me, the result of the respectful discredit, as Zóbel said, with which work on paper was treated in Spain.39 There were hardly any mentions in the monographs on his work at the time, and no account of his work with silkscreen and etching presses, except for the odd photo in his bibliography. So let’s try to reconstruct this history.
- an uninterrupted graphic world
In 1960 the El Paso group40 took the decision to “terminate their joint endeavour within the Spanish community in order to continue the development of their work independently”41 and its final exhibition was held in L’Attico gallery in Rome, in Piazza di Spagna, directed by Bruno Sargentini and his son Fabio. Coinciding with this show, the gallery published a portfolio of six lithographs: “la galleria l’Attico ha inoltre pubblicatto una cartella di sei litografie originali di Canogar, Chirino, Millares, Ribera, Saura, Viola, con un testo di Enrico Crispolti, in edizione di cinquanta copie, rilegate in tela, quale prima opera della sua nuevo Collana di opera graphiche” [sic].42 This first lithograph by Millares, included in the portfolio of six, was printed by a newcomer called Dimitri Papagueorguiu (Gardiki, 1928),43 in his bustling studio in calle de Modesto Lafuente in Madrid, one of the first and most highly esteemed contemporary print workshops set up in the grey years of post-war Madrid.44 As we shall see, Millares would do another of his chalcography editions, the portfolio called Auto de fe (1967), with Dimitri. It was printed on low quality Guarro paper. One ought to bear in mind that, at that time, everything in Spain was in short supply, and this included etchers though Dimitri had fortunately arrived as well as etching presses luckily Marciel Azañón, as we shall see later, started to “build” etching presses and paper of the kind that would not be available until well into the sixties when Arches and Richard de Bas paper started to arrive in Spain in sufficient quantity. That print, as we have said before and as would happen throughout his whole career, should be seen in the light of his work with burlap at that time, before 1960, and the black paintings around 1957, in which he still employed stitching, the volume had not yet exerted its full power and the work was centred in the expansion of colour stains and their encounter with others on the surface of the canvas, before the introduction of relief in serge.45
In 1964, Manolo Millares was involved in the first series of graphic art published by the as-yet still not officially inaugurated Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca (1966), which were made by the tandem of Eusebio Sempere and Abel Martín. We do not wish to get into too much detail on something we have already spoken of before on numerous occasions, which is the capital importance for the expansion of graphic work in Spain of the opening of the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, the first place in Spain to popularise multiple and bibliophile works.46 Equally important for the popularisation of silkscreen printing were the abovementioned artists, thanks to the experience they garnered in Paris in the fifties working within the circle of Galerie Denise René and the learnings they gleaned from the printmaker Wifredo Arcay. This first series of graphic work by the museum of Spanish abstract art, printed with an edition of eighty, also contained works by Antonio Lorenzo, César Manrique, Manuel H. Mompó, Gerardo Rueda, Eusebio Sempere, Gustavo Torner and Fernando Zóbel. To my mind, it acted as a kind of non-official opening for the museum47 which had been approved earlier that year.48 In one way, it also serves to underline the fact that Millares and his wife lived in Cuenca practically since 1964, as Moreno Galván would certify.49 The two printmakers cited above would also be responsible for another three portfolios: Mutilados de paz (1965) Torquemada (1970) and Descubrimientos – Millares 1671 (1971).
The print made for the museum in Cuenca is an abstract image, but with a corporeal presence, similar to the drawings Millares was making at the time. The close parallel between his drawing and his prints was a standard feature in Millares’s practice. It could also be related with his paintings from around 1962, like Cuadro 176, Cuadro 198 (1962) or Cartel para una bacanal (1963) whose whereabouts are unknown, and also with the seminal triptych Divertimentos para un político (1963), Árbol caído (1964) and Personaje caído (1965).
His first portfolio of prints Los mutilados de paz would see the light of day barely one year later. It was also to be the start of the artist’s regular work with editions and prints, which he grouped together into the portfolios that account for practically all his chalcography output. The portfolio dedicated to mutilated peace contained four prints and was presented at the Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York) on 23 March 1965, as part of Millares’s exhibition Los mutilados de paz. Paintings on canvas and paper 1963-1965 which closed on 17 April. Once again, the silkscreens were printed by Abel Martín and Eusebio Sempere, his printmakers at that time, who, as we shall see, also made the vast majority of Millares’s prints and also, from the sixties to the eighties, some of the most beautiful prints by the abstract painters who were associated with the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español.
The exhibition in New York was made up of fifteen paintings, ten drawings and the portfolio of prints, which was illustrated with a poem by Rafael Alberti. The beautiful catalogue, whose cover contained some die-punched holes, also included an essay by José-Augusto França: “Millares, or the advance into white”. This important text was the critic and poet’s first serious engagement with the work of the artist since they had met in 1961. This meeting was to prove fundamental and was only preceded by one article that França had written with an illustration by Millares called “L’anti-peinture, l’ordre, l’ambiguité”.50 In his text for the catalogue, the critic spoke of the “advance into white” and nine years later, in 1974, after the artist had died, he coined one of the most mythical terms to describe Millares’s practice: “the victory of white”.51 The “mutilated peace” to which Millares dedicated in absentia the exhibition and his first portfolio of prints is his father, who had died the previous year52 and to whom, back in 1953, he had already dedicated another portrait called: El primer mutilado de paz que conocí,53 and it was no surprise that Rafael Alberti, when remembering the artist years later, called him “by day a painter of pain and by night of mutilated peace”.54 In the years immediately following Franco’s regime’s celebration of “twenty five years of peace” the title “Mutilado de paz” would also be used for his seminal works with burlap between 1965 and 1967. A written note opening his film in 1970,55 stated: “the preliminary references for this documentary are no more than one of the elements that condition Millares’s painting of homunculi, fallen characters mutilated by peace”. Once again, the silkscreens can be closely related with Manolo Millares’s painting from that time. We can even see in some of his prints a powerful pinkish tone that inspired Westerdahl, as we shall see, to speak of a Klee-pink. One of the prints in this portfolio could almost be taken as a correlate of one of his paintings: a Homúnculo from 1964 which, like the print, reproduces the scrolls and shadows of a balustrade. Others can be related with paintings like Personaje (1964) and Homúnculos from 1965. This is the period when many of his paintings contained an “X”, as a sign of affirmation, almost like the drawing of a suture, the parts of a cross, a heraldic sign, an esoteric symbol of the meeting between heaven and earth, the mark of a prisoner, the print left by somewhere saying I was here.
He had this to say about the mutilated person, his father: “His intellectual capacity, his intelligence and his poetic sensibility always transmitted a sense of clarity, nourishing our blood and our minds with that part of himself to which I now feel indebted. I am very grateful to him”.56 A curious aspect of this edition was the fact that the prints were done on a paper that was then glued onto card, which then was signed and numbered with white pencil. Millares met Gerardo Rueda57 in the early sixties and they coincided in many of the historic group exhibitions from the beginning of that decade; besides meeting regularly at Galería Biosca and Galería Juana Mordó, both of them also had houses in Cuenca years before the Museo de Arte Abstracto opened there.58 This friendship gave rise to a common project for which Rueda designed the outside of the portfolio, which would happen again when he conceived the external appearance of the wooden portfolio, somewhere between minimalist and povera, for Descubrimientos – Millares 1671 (1971).
In the essay in the catalogue for the exhibition in New York, it would seem that França knew the reference to Goya we spoke about at the beginning: “Victims of peace […] here peace is a laughable situation because it is broken by those who hide behind its screen of security and apparent order. Goya and his ‘Disasters’, is surpassed daily by other disasters, by atrocities either violent or sinister, blessed by an empty and indifferent heaven and cursed by the arid, blood-soaked earth.”59
Eduardo Westerdahl received one of the portfolios of the mutilados prints, and he wrote to Millares, saying that “they are extraordinary. We are delighted with them and we feel like taking down all our paintings and filling the room with them because it is a pity not to be able to see them all the time, and to have then hidden away in a book. But don’t worry, they are in their portfolio so we can show them, every now and again, to avid admirers, just like jewellers show their diamonds, but in this case, for usury. To be truthful, the collector is a strange, beautiful, bewitched and miserable usurer. Alberti’s poem, one made for the other, will have given you the pleasure of seeing your names together and seeing a faraway, though now not so distant, dream of youth come true, even if I believe that it would have done you justice if you had written it yourself, as Alberti complements your painted and written expression. Above all, many thanks especially as it is such a short edition60 that will be sold out straight away, as your collectors are rushing to get their hands on it. It is such an immaculate and meticulous edition that one can take pleasure in the sensuality of the blotches of colour, in the pinker pink and in the depth of the black, in the evanescent grey and even in the purity of the white. When I see a pink like that I am transported to my beginnings in painting: Klee pink, but this time not arbitrary, but with a social message. You have been careful in combining so many things, making the most without losing your footing, because today one paints and one writes too, of course, on the edge of many abysses.”61
Westerdahl was talking about his own beginnings in painting, and his admiration for Paul Klee, and the Klee pink he told Millares about, which could be traced back to a trip to Europe between summer and autumn 1931, visiting Germany and the Bauhaus’s headquarters in Dessau “towards the end of its splendour”.62 This direct encounter, this revelation, with his work took place in the Nationalgalerie in Berlin when he was looking at the painting Das Vokaltuch der Kammersängerin Rosa Silber63, thus certifying the critic’s admiration for “pure painters”,64 which for Westerdahl were well represented by Klee and Kandinsky as the emblem of a so-called “spiritual revolution”.65 Westerdahl concluded: “this first painting was of such a highly refined lyricism, of such incalculable evocations, that for me it was like a wake-up call for painting”.66
“With so many things going on, what I am really interested in, in art of course, is printing, a technique to which I have taken a great, albeit late, liking. For a special book by Miguel Hernández, I did two drypoints and now I am finishing ‘Auto de fe’, a portfolio with four prints and texts taken from the archive of the Inquisition (Canaries, 1520). An almost handmade edition, pampered by Elvireta, which has a numbered edition of twenty. It will be debuted in Tenerife.”67 Besides painstakingly labelling the outside of the portfolio using Letraset, Elvireta would also take care of the texts, again using Letraset, to be included in the four sub-portfolios which each contained one of the prints.68 Thanks to a gift from the good friend and good painter Fernando Zóbel69, two of these prints are held at the Fogg Art Museum (Harvard University) and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
For França, “Millares sees this world as a continuity of darker periods of the past. That is why he dedicates an album of prints to ‘Autos de fe’ […] and another album to Torquemada, the sinister monk of the Spanish inquisition […] another album […] speaks of ‘Mutilados de paz’, of an impossible peace quashed beneath unyielding memory. The Inquisition, torture, hate, with its retinue of ‘mutilated’ victims, herein lies the uninterrupted world that comes to meet the spirit of Millares, in his Spanish universe. Did the tragedy of Guernica not end up having its ‘climax’ in Dachau and in Buchenwald? Mutilated victims of peace or of war, what difference does it make? From Federico García Lorca to Julián Grimau, the angel of death has unfurled its dark wings. Millares’s conscience was committed in the very history of his people and his angst and obsession are torn between the Guanches, the original people of the Canaries, and the Castile of Torquemada or of those who have ‘ended up in Madrid’.”70
Indeed, Auto de fe, the very short edition from 1967, brings up another recurring issue in Millares’s practice and one which he would repeat in Torquemada (1970), this time with a poem by Manuel Padorno, one of his fellow companions on his trip to Madrid in the exile boat Alcántara in 1955. Torquemada is an emblem of the representation of pure blindness of justice and inquisitorial rage, or meanness to use the painter’s word. Once again printed by Dimitri, under the supervision of Elvireta Escobio, this portfolio of four drypoint prints contained four (now lost) fragments71 of the book Causas del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en Canarias, from the files his great-grandfather, Agustín Millares Torres, had rescued from barbarous destruction by a cart driver in an inlet on the Atlantic coast.72 It was exhibited at Casa de Colón (1973) and would be the first of his prints with fine lines, signs and writing, as opposed to his previous prints which were covered by blotches and stains of colour.
In 1967 Manolo Millares had already dedicated to Miguel Hernández a large triptych, a seminal and solemn work in which one could discern echoes of the verses by the poet from Orihuela: “sigo en la sombra, lleno de luz; ¿existe el día? / ¿Esto es mi tumba o es mi bóveda materna?” [I’m still in the shadows, full of light; does the day exist? / Is this my tomb or my maternal vault?].73 Consequently, it was no surprise that he accepted the offer from Alfaguara publishers to illustrate Hernández’s love poems for a large print run, as part of its collection El gallo en la Torre (1969) edited by Camilo José Cela. He would create two drypoint prints in black and white,74 as was the general rule at that time, for Hernández’s Poemas de amor. That same year, Millares learned from Antonio Lorenzo the printing technique which the latter had in turned learned from Bernard Childs in the early sixties,75 and shortly afterwards Millares decided to set up his own printing workshop for which he purchased a Marciel Azañón etching press.76 This interrupted endeavour would leave us some examples that are now being published for the first time in this catalogue.
As has been written many times before, in his final period, leading up to 1970, Millares’s works were invaded by what has been called a “victory of white”. After returning from a trip to the desert, the painter was inspired by the flatness of its vast expanses, the awe caused by the sand and the remains of animals along its tracks, and it would then be when he conceived the works Antropofauna, Animal del desierto and Neanderthalio, the paintings that gave the title to his last exhibition while alive, at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1971)77, for which Manolo Millares also created a beautiful poster. Antropofauna (1969-1970) is a portfolio of five etchings shown at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in 197178 which was beautifully described by Antonio Gamoneda: “Millares, in the peculiar technical and expressive world of printing, affords us some pieces in which his cathartic action achieves maximum purity, with the most naked gestural power.”79 It was printed by Millares himself at the Gustavo Gili workshop in Barcelona (there is a wonderful photo of Millares at work) for the Las Estampas de la Cometa collection80 and also presented that same year of 1971 at Galería EGAM81 which had just recently opened. This work finally signalled the beginning of Manolo Millares’s official recognition as a graphic artist, and earned him one of the prizes at the former Bienal de Ibiza, an event then known as Ibizagrafic, held at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Ibiza in 1972,82 with a highly-qualified jury whose members included, among others, Conrad Marca-Relli83, a consummate print artist and regular visitor to Ibiza. Millares used the word Antropofauna in the titles of various of his mythical paintings from this time, after 1969 and until his pending death, one of which is to be found at the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (MSSA).84
Another portfolio already mentioned, Torquemada (1970), was published by Juana Mordó, the gallery of Millares and of so many of his colleagues. This time in red and black, it was silkscreen printed by Abel Martín. At this juncture, we can once again fall back on the words of França: “Homunculi, or gnomes who live underground, or strange mandrake roots growing in Paradise under the shade of the tree of Good and Evil, Millares’s proposition accepts magical and evil values within the framework of a passionate disdain for man as he has become in the heart of the contemporary world […]. Millares sees this world as a continuation of the past. That is why he dedicates one album of prints to ‘Autos de fe’ from the sixteenth century in Spain the prints are accompanied with summaries of ‘Causas del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición’ published in the Canaries in 1520 and another album to Torquemada, the sinister monk of the Spanish Inquisition, ‘the intellectual of angelic violence, of pure faith in the engendering fire of celestial, mortal, voracious and truthful wellbeing […] dark beast, cursed judge, adviser of hate…’ as he was described by Manuel Padorno, the poet from the Canaries, in the poem illustrating the suite of silkscreen prints […].The Inquisition, torture, hate, with its retinue of “mutilated” victims, herein lies the uninterrupted world that comes to meet the spirit of Millares, in his Spanish universe.”85 Torquemada, the Inquisitor, would be the title of one of the paintings from this period, in 1968, and França described the portfolio as follows: “The immediate doodles from scraping the canvas or the splattered drops from a wet brush shaken off by an impatient swish […]. Twirling writing like graffiti even seems to form paragraphs, with letters and sentences that slide over the canvas, a technique indebted to Indian ink, to numerous tests on paper that preceded these paintings. Paragraphs, baroque signatures, reminiscent of the sixteenth century, are banded across the canvas like zebra skin, a trace left by a drunken or delirious cleric who signed death sentences in Torquemada’s tribunal.”86
In 1970, one of his prints, published by Gili, was used as a kind of special presentation for around fifty copies of Moreno Galván’s book on Millares, also published by Gili.87 In my opinion, the monograph by França, the book by Ayllón88, and the volume by Moreno Galván are the seminal bibliographic triad on Millares in life. Besides an intense friendship, I have also dedicated some writing to Moreno Galván, the critic and artist.89
In those years, Antonio Lorenzo the artist and printermaker, a pioneer along with Abel in learning and implementing printing techniques in Spain, in turn picked up as we have seen from Bernard Childs and Zóbel90 passed on all he knew to Millares, which the latter decided to put into practice in 1970, setting up a print workshop that he would barely get a chance to use.
In short, as one can readily infer, this catalogue raisonné of Millares’s graphic work also parallels the history of contemporary chalcography in Spain, like a hidden nerve that runs through the lesser known stories behind these prints. If we were to place them in order, these would be as follows: meeting with Castro and Bèrtholo in Paris, the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español (Childs’s visit to Zóbel and Lorenzo, and the editions printed by Abel Martín, Sempere and Antonio Lorenzo); then Dimitri Papagueorguiu, and then continue with Grupo 15, the project he started up in Madrid and where Millares would do another two beautiful etchings printed with the assistance of Monir and Lorenzo.
Dating from 1971, his final work was a true demonstration of artistic integrity and concept, and even a tribute to Cuenca and its world which had such a profound effect on Millares. This was the portfolio Descubrimientos – Millares 1671 or Descubrimiento en Millares 1671. Diario de una excavación arqueológica imaginaria y barroca. In these silkscreen prints, made with Indian ink and smoky grey wash, Millares explored a world of possibilities, deploying all the know-how he had picked up over the years, not just in printmaking but also his vast knowledge of drawing. Now however it is the victory of black, and of grey, the victory of various encounters, the triumph of writing made sign: the stain, writing, erasures, downwards or inverted dripping, small and extended signs, writing over printed texts in blacks, greys, blank space, lines and traces. There is something of creative paroxysm in these twelve silkscreens printed by Abel Martín under the conceptual guidance of Ricard Giralt-Miracle. It is the revelation of a whole universe, putting into practice Tharrats’s visionary assertion: Millares’s imperious need to say something new or that would lead to something new. Everything was encased in a wooden box. It contained foreshadowings of his next series with grey wood, a conceptual air reminiscent of Torner in the Perspex on which the title is written, conceived by another member of the brotherhood from Cuenca: Gerardo Rueda. This portfolio is almost like a final gift from Millares to the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, which published it, under the directorship of its founder and collector, Fernando Zóbel. All his collaborators are there, almost in Indian file. Some have already been mentioned, but there are still many more: the Blassi brothers who conceptually designed the portfolio-object;91 the museum’s carpenter, Domingo Garrote who made them (together with Rafael Saiz); the museum’s anagram, designed by Gustavo Torner. And even the bibliomaniac mention of Zóbel, who seems to appear at the very opening, whose frontispiece reproduces an image of a sixteenth century treatise.92
Millares never got to sign the finished edition. And months later, after his death, there was a tribute to the artist at Galería Juana de Aizpuru93 in Seville, which was almost like a branch of what was happening in Cuenca.
And there should also be a final mention for his beautiful silkscreened posters, ranging from the first one published by Buchholz, for his exhibition at the gallery in 196894 with its corresponding avant-lettre; or the reproduction of a collage by Millares for the poster for the museum in Cuenca (1970); and the one for his final exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (1971).95
Eight posthumous prints, with some variations, were printed at the Mayor 28 workshop in Madrid, with the cooperation of Fernando Bellver and Manuel Valdés. And finally, a set of graphic proofs done in his studio, only recently located in his archives, bring this summary of his graphic work to a close.
Manolo Millares had always taken great interest in printing, and good proof can be seen in the finger and hand prints which he left on the canvas, an action that was analysed in Alberto Portera’s seminal film.96 More proof can be seen in the traces of stamps and pintaderas, signs left by the aboriginal people of the Canaries, walls, lines that cut across the surface, fingers and hands printed on canvases, shoe prints, veronicas.97 Rudimentary prints on burlap, signs and crosses, writing of “a deliciously strange world”.98 Ceremonial vestiges, like a far cry, as the poet Frank O’Hara wrote.99 This was the interest in printing of a man fascinated by Goya since his restless childhood. A painter first, but also a poet and a mystic with a highly spiritual voice, as André Pieyre de Mandiargues claimed.100 An integral painter, neither more nor less.
1 THARRATS, Joan-Josep. Artistas de hoy: Manolo Millares. Barcelona: Revista. 18-24/V/1957.
2 MILLARES, Manolo. Expone ahora el Grupo LAIS, de Cataluña. (catalogue for exhibition at El Museo Canario, Exposición del grupo Lais de Barcelona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, March-April 1951), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1951.
3 In 1933 in Las Palmas, the Millares family moved to a house in Plaza de San Antonio Abad where the artist had his first memories related with art: “here I had my earliest memory of an artistic consciousness. I spent a lot of time looking at “Museos famosos de Europa”, a series of books that my father had bought (I was seven at the time) and a volume published by Editorial Labor on Italian art. As far as Spanish art was concerned, I pored over Goya’s Third of May and, very especially, the hugely important book of etchings “Los Caprichos” and “Desastres de la guerra” published by Espasa-Calpe, which left such a deep impression on me.” MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud. Valencia: IVAM Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Documentos, vol. I, 1998, p. 31. The book Millares is referring to is: VELASCO Y AGUIRRE, Miguel. Grabados y litografías de Goya. Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1928.
4 This issue is dealt with extensively in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares, la atracción del horror. Genueve Ediciones, 2016.
5 “It was not a question of the usual fashionable few with a skilful turn of hand, nor irresponsible dabblers (now stupidly calling for the laurels that others had to earn through a hardfought struggle with shadows and truthfulness). These were complete artists, fond sons of Goya, Zurbarán and Picasso, conscious of a past to be carried on, clean as a bone, and of a future to be nourished with Iberian rage stretching in front of us”. MILLARES, Manolo. “El Paso, acta de presencia”, Vic: Inquietud Artística, year V, No. 15, VII/1959, pp. 4-6. When Enrico Crispolti asked him what were his main influences, Millares replied “the aboriginal art of the Canaries (painted ceramics and mummified bodies) as well as Miró, Goya, Castilla. Contemporary art, society today…”. MILLARES, Manolo (Enrico Crispolti). In DORIVAL, Bernard. Los pintores célebres. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili S.A., vol. III, 1963, p. 186. The artist gave a similar response in: SÁEZ, Ramón. “Manolo Millares, frente al misterio de su pintura”. Madrid: Arriba, 26/III/1967: “This is precisely the roots of my painting and way of understanding life as testimony. A chronicle transcended to a social level”.
6 (1942) Manolo Millares’s illness and convalescence in Reventón: “for a short time I did some portraits with oil and some works with a cave-painting type structure with monotype backgrounds (…)”. MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud, op. cit. p. 118.
7 According to his memoires, the visits were frequent around 1939: “My interest in the historical events of the Canaries kept growing and I started to visit the Museo Canario where Naranjo let me make copies in watercolour of some aboriginal vessels and of maps and drawings by the engineer Torriani” (Ibid., p. 55). And, he continued: “[…] My artistic interest grew and also my interest for old exploits from the Canaries. I continued by trips to the Museo Canario and did a ‘history of the Canaries in drawings’ imitating old parchment paper […] I also did some portraits” (Ibid., p. 59).
8 CRUZ DE MERCADAL, Mari Carmen, et al., Pintaderas de El Museo Canario. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: El Museo Canario, 2013, p. 37.
9 In 1949 he was actively involved in founding the journal Planas de Poesía together with Agustín and José María Millares (and Rafael Roca from the ninth issue onwards). That same year, he illustrated the notebooks “Liverpool” and “Ronda de Luces” by José María Millares and “Smoking Room” by Alonso Quesada. The list of collaborations by Manolo Millares in Planas de Poesía (illustrations) is, between 1949-1951: José María Millares, “Liverpool”, 1949; José María Millares, “Ronda de luces”, 1949; Alonso Quesada, “Smoking room”, 1949; special issue dedicated to “Chopin”, 1949; Federico García Lorca, “Crucifixión”, 1950; and Enrique Azcoaga, “El hombre de la pipa”, 1951 (11 drawings by Manolo Millares). He had also collaborated with Juan Manuel Trujillo in “Colección para treinta bibliófilos”, a publishers located by the Las Canteras beach, set up in 1944. We could also add the humoristic drawings “Mastro Vito”, published by Millares in Diario de Las Palmas, ca. 1953.
10 “We set up a group of painters with progressive ideas which we have called ‘LADAC’ (Los Arqueros del Arte Contemporáneo)”. Letter from Manolo Millares to Eduardo Westerdahl, 20/II/1951, published by CARREÑO CORBELLA, Pilar. LADAC: El sueño de los arqueros. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Viceconsejería de Cultura y Deportes del Gobierno de Canarias, 1990, pp. 23-24 & pp. 95-96.
11 A brief list of some of the covers made by Manolo Millares, besides those cited and illustrated in the text: Luces y Sombras (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1947); Pedro Perdomo “Ave breve” (Halcón no. 13, Valladolid, 1948); Manuel Padorno, Oí crecer a las palomas (cover and author’s portrait. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Imprenta Lezcano, 1955); catalogue for “I Salón Nacional de Arte No Figurativo” (Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia, 1956); Correo de las Artes (no. 30, Barcelona, II-III/1961); Luis Felipe Vivanco, “Contemporary Spanish painting: the expanding vision”, The Texas Quarterly, vol. IV, no. I, Harry H. Ransom-University of Texas, Austin, March 1961; Suma y Sigue del arte contemporáneo (nos. 7-8, Valencia, 1965); the journal Artes (nos. 104-105, Madrid, I-II/1970).
12 In 1957 he did the dust jacket and cover for the work reproduced here: AGUILERA CERNI, Vicente. Arte Norteamericano del siglo XX. Valencia: Fomento de Cultura Ediciones, 1957.
13 Around 1939-1940 he collaborated with Felo Monzón in the poster for Auxilio Social for which he won second prize. They did two journals: Racha and Viento y Marea: “We then did two literary journals entirely by hand, whose first issue, with ten copies, was dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore. The journals ‘Racha’ and the cover had a drawing of mine of the Indian poet. Another journal followed, also made by hand, called ‘Viento y Marea’, where other members of the family also collaborated as well as Felo Monzón and a kind of hysteric called Ambrosio Hurtado who had earned a name for his ‘Ensayo del gargajo’. The drawings, apart from Monzón, were done by Eduardo and me”. MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud, op. cit., p. 81.
14 René Bèrtholo (Alhandra, 1935 - Cacela, 2005) and Lourdes Castro (Funchal, 1930). KWY went through several different formats and was published at irregular intervals during its life span, between 1958 and 1964.
15 The artist briefly recalled his later friendship with Castro when he spent some time in Madeira in 1955: MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud, op. cit., p. 132.
16 Musée des Arts Décoratifs, La jeune peinture espagnole. 13 Peintres espagnols actuels, Paris, 20 May – 30 June 1959. The catalogue, with a sign-like drawing on the cover by Julián Santamaría, had a prologue by José Miguel Ruiz Morales (Director General of Cultural Relations) and Jacques Guerin (Conservateur en Chef at Musée des Arts Décoratifs). Françoise Choay, conservator at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and François Mathey were on the exhibition’s organising committee. The participating artists were: Rafael Canogar, Modesto Cuixart, Luis Feito, Alfonso Mier, Manolo Millares, Lucio Muñoz, Pablo Palazuelo, Manuel Rivera, Antonio Saura, Antonio Suárez, Juan José Tharrats, Vicente Vela and Manuel Viola.
17 Conversation between the author and Lourdes Castro and Elvireta Escobio, 23/IV/2015. In the mid-fifties Lourdes had met Luis Millares (Totoyo), Manolo’s brother, in Madeira and then later met the painter himself during the acts for the exhibition.
18 Including the new publication of the text: MILLARES, Manolo. “Dos notas”. Madrid-Palma de Mallorca: Papeles de Son Armadans, year IV, vol. XIII, no. 37, April 1959, pp. 84-86. The reproduction of the drawing is on pp. 80-81. In the cited issue of KWY the text and drawing are published on pp. 4-5 and the list of contents (Ibid., p. 3) of KWY mentions the provenance of Millares’s text.
19 Conversation with Elvireta Escobio, 23/IV/2015. Conversation with Lourdes Castro, 24/IV/2015.
20 With the collaboration of, among others: Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Gonçalo Duarte, Costa Pinheiro, José Escada, Christo, Pol Bury, Yves Klein, Jacques Villeglé, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Daniel Spoerri, Arman, Emmett Williams and Ben Vautier.
21 This matter is addressed in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. “Silencio en la gran ciudad”. Seis Escaparates. Madrid: Ámbito Cultural-El Corte Inglés, 2005, pp. 13-47.
22 I am thinking of Objetos sin nombre and Artefactos by Manolo Millares. See DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares. Pinturas. Catálogo Razonado. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Fundación Azcona, 2004, pp. 602 & ff.
23 Galería Edurne, Millares, Madrid, 10 April – 1 June 1974.
24 Sindicato de Iniciativa, Exposición Millares, Tarragona, 23 April – 1 May 1955, cat. no. 15; Instituto de Estudios Hispánicos, Exposición de Pinturas de Manolo Millares, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, 15-22 May 1955, cat. nos. 17-20 and Museo Ballester de Arte Contemporáneo, Exposición Millares, Inaugural de sus actividades, Tortosa, 28 May – 6 June 1955, cat. nos. 3-9.
25 Ateneo de Madrid, Sala del Prado, Millares, Madrid, 2-15 February 1957. Catalogue Millares with an essay by Cirilo Popovici (“Las arpilleras de Millares”) for the Cuadernos de Arte collection, no. 16, by Editora Nacional, a collection edited by VicenteCacho Viu. 32 pp. (n.p.), 12 ills. (11 b&w; 1 colour). Printed by Gráficas Altamira, Madrid (30/I/1957).
26 Vicente Aguilera Cerni, Millares, El Paso, Monografía no. 1, Gráficas Luis Pérez, Madrid, 1957, 20 pp., 10 b&w ills.
27 The terms in italics reference the titles of some of his works at the time.
28 Galería Biosca, El Paso (Rafael Canogar, Martín Chirino, Luis Feito, Manuel Millares, Manuel Rivera, Antonio Saura y Manuel Viola), Madrid, 5-20 June 1959. Presentation of this issue of the magazine Papeles de Son Armadans dedicated to El Paso (year IV, vol. XIII, no. 37, Madrid-Palma de Mallorca, IV/1959). In 1962, Millares had solo shows at: Galería Biosca, Millares, Madrid, 25 April – 9 May 1962. Before Mordó’s period at Biosca, Millares had taken part in 1953 at Salón de los Once (Galería Biosca-Academia Breve de Crítica de Arte, Décimo Salón de los Once. Invierno 1953 (Renée Aspe, Brotat, Curós, Guinovart, Humbert, Millares, Rivero, Saura, Tàpies, Villá y Zabaleta), Madrid, 16 January – 13 February 1953).
29 Exhibition hall of the Directorate-General of Fine Arts, Los grabados de las Ediciones de la Rosa Vera, Madrid, 3-17 November 1958. Ediciones de la Rosa Vera publishers was run by Victor M. de Imbert and Jaume Pla. Juana Mordó collaborated in the series Los Artistas Grabadores by this publishing house.
30 Galería de Arte Jardín, Manolo Millares, III Ciclo Experimental Arte Nuevo, exhibition no. 11, Barcelona, 5 – 18 May 1951. And later: Galería Syra, LADAC DE GRAN CANARIA. FELO MONZÓN, JOSÉ JULIO, JUAN ISMAEL, MANOLO MILLARES, Barcelona, 16-30 June 1951 (initially programmed for 19 May – 2 June 1951). The following year his work was seen at Museo de Arte Moderno, Antología de la I Bienal Hispanoamericana de Arte, Barcelona, 1-30 April 1952.
31 LADAC. Los Arqueros del Arte Contemporáneo, 1950-1954.
32 Millares illustrated the programme for the III Salón del Jazz, an exhibition organised by Club 49 and Hot Club in Barcelona at Galerías Layetanas in May 1953.
33 Ricard Giralt-Miracle founded Producciones Editoriales del Nordeste, (PEN) in 1953. Under the collection “Los libros del Unicornio” it published various small format art books. His contribution to contemporary culture through graphic design at his company Filograf made him a key player in the following period. It was also Ricard Giralt-Miracle who collaborated on the last portfolio Descubrimientos – Millares 1671 (1971).
34 Casa de Colón, Manolo Millares. Obra gráfica, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1-15 May 1973.
35 “The information in this catalogue has been taken from the book on Millares’s graphic work currently being prepared by Rafael Pérez Madero which will be published by the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, along with another two volumes covering the rest of his work. The design and the photos are by Jaime and Jorge Blassi, with the assistance of Elvireta Escobio”. Ibid., n.p.
36 Galería Tassili, Manolo Millares. Obra gráfica, Oviedo, 9-21 October 1973.
37 Galería 42, Manolo Millares. Obra Gráfica completa, Barcelona, 18 December 1973 – 16 January 1974.
38 Besides the aforementioned examples, in this summary of attempts to restore Manolo Millares’s rightful place in printing, we could also add the exhibition: Galería Val i 30, Millares. Pinturas, Dibujos, Obra gráfica, Valencia, 11 January – 11 February 1974 and Galería Varron, Millares. Obra gráfica, Salamanca, 31 January – 15 February 1983.
39 A matter addressed in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Del noli me tangere del dibujo a la melancolía del collage. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2008.
40 The El Paso group was founded on 20 February 1957 (according to its manifesto in winter 1958). El Paso published its first manifesto, with 2000 copies, in March. This manifesto was signed by: Ayllón, Canogar, Conde, Feito, Francés, Millares, Rivera, Saura, Serrano, Suárez and was published in Spanish, Catalan, French, German, English and Arabic. “In February 1957 the El Paso group was founded in Madrid, whose key members are the painters Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, Rafael Canogar and Luis Feito. They were later joined by the painter Manuel Viola, the painter-sculptor Manuel Rivera and the sculptor Martín Chirino”. (See: Papeles de Son Armadans”, 1959, op. cit.). The first exhibition was held at: Galería Buchholz, El Paso. Primera exposición del grupo, con obras de Canogar, Feito, Francés, Millares, Rivera, Saura, Serrano y Suárez, Madrid, 15 April 1957.
41 In the catalogue for the exhibition: L’Attico, El Paso, Canogar, Chirino, Feito, Millares, Rivera, Saura, Viola, Rome, 15-30 October 1960, n.p.
43 Dimitri Papagueorguiu had arrived to Spain at the end of October 1954. He had his studio in Madrid at number 11, calle de la Ilustración until early 1960 when he moved to his new studio in calle Modesto Lafuente.
44 Conversation with Dimitri Papagueorguiu, 17/III/2015. Conversation with Rafael Canogar, 16/III/2015.
45 This is the case of paintings like Cuadro 18, Cuadro 22, Cuadro 23 and Cuadro 26 (1957).
46 This matter has been dealt with in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Eusebio Sempere. Ida y vuelta. Valencia: IVAM – Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, 1998, pp. 37-67; La poética de Cuenca. Cuenca: 1964-2004. Madrid: Centro Cultural de la Villa – Ayuntamiento de Madrid, 2004 and in La ciudad abstracta. 1966: el nacimiento del Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, “Cronología”. Madrid-Cuenca: Fundación Juan March, 2006, pp. 231-294.
47 This date gave rise to the commemorative exhibition in 2004 La poética de Cuenca, op. cit. One copy of each one of the prints is held in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, to which Zóbel made frequent donations. It will be cited again when dealing with Auto de fe (1967).
48 On 18 January 1964 a Decree from the Mayor’s office of Cuenca appointed the committee of the future Museo de Arte Abstracto, which had been awarded in competition in an extraordinary session on 30/12/1963. See: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. La ciudad abstracta. 1966: el nacimiento del Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, “Cronología”, op. cit., pp. 235-236.
49 MORENO GALVÁN, José María. “Visitas al arte español: Pintores en Cuenca”. Triunfo, 25/9/1965, no. 173, pp. 30-37.
50 FRANÇA, José-Augusto. “L’anti-peinture, l’ordre, l’ambiguïté”. Paris: Aujourd’hui, art et architecture, no. 41, V/1963. França penned the seminal monograph published by La Polígrafa in 1977: Millares, a profusely illustrated work that was to be the central element in the bibliography on Millares.
51 FRANÇA, José-Augusto. “Millares or the white victory” (Text in catalogue for the exhibition at Pierre Matisse Gallery, Homage to Manolo Millares, his last paintings, New York, 21 May – 7 June 1974). New York: Pierre Matisse Gallery, 1974.
52 Manolo Millares was the son of Juan Millares Carló (1895-1965) “with rosy-cheeks and blue eyes behind round tortoiseshell frames”. A teacher and a poet, he was the son of Agustín Millares Cubas and brother of Agustín Millares Carló. “A tall man, with the beginnings of a belly and blonde hair covering his growing baldness”. He was a high-school teacher in Philosophy and Arts. His mother, Dolores Sall, is a slight woman whose abundant offspring “had no effect on her beauty […} she is not intelligent but she has plenty of character (and a certain sensibility for music). My father is intelligent but has no character” (MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud, op. cit. p. 21). In his memoirs, he also added a further description which also serves to explain the term “mutilated peace”: “My father was no good, was never any good at fighting against adverse circumstances […] he was to some extent a weak man and this very flaw, despite being an intelligent and very kind man, meant that he became a victim of a misfortune that he could never overturn. This aspect of his character forced him to escape from reality, and drink was one of his ways of dealing with this shortcoming […] Overlooking this lesser evil, I have wonderful memories of my father because I always held him in the highest esteem. His intellectual capacity, his intelligence and his poetic sensibility always transmitted a sense of clarity, nourishing our blood and our minds with that part of him to which I now feel indebted. I am very grateful to Don Papas (the name we called our father at home) for what he taught me about humanity. We will remember his life and not his death” (Ibid., p. 52). And here another sketch from his portrait: “My father, a republican faithful to Manuel Azaña, followed the major events of the country with an excitement that proved infectious and at home my older siblings collected portraits of politicians cut out of journals or which came as trading cards with local cigarettes. […] I knew nothing about what was going on but I loved my father’s enthusiasm and everything he said even though I didn’t understand it”. (Ibid., p. 26).
53 He would repeat the title in four paintings from then until 1967. Sólo una vez te vi / pero me basta, pintor, / pintor del día doloroso y la noche / de la paz mutilada, ahora […], wrote Rafael Alberti. ALBERTI, Rafael. “Millares ahora. Roma, otoño 1972” (Text in the catalogue for the exhibition at Galería Juana Mordó, Exposición Homenaje a Manolo Millares, Madrid, 11-27 January 1973), Madrid, 1973.
55 Millares, 1970, a film by Elvireta Escobio and Manolo Millares, in black & white and colour, duration 22’ 30”. Editing and sound: Manolo Millares. Music: Pierre Henry (“Expressionisme 1952: Musique sans titre, Le voile d’Orphée, Tam Tam IV, Astrologie”), Pierre Schaeffer (“Trois directions: a/Bruitage-Étude aux chemins de fer, b/Poethique-Étude pathétique, c/Une seule source sonore”), and Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (“Symphonie pour un homme seul”).
56 MILLARES, Manolo. Manolo Millares. Memorias de infancia y juventud, op. cit. p. 52.
57 The event is narrated in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Gerardo Rueda. Sensible y moderno. Una biografía artística. Madrid: Ediciones del Umbral, 2006.
58 They would also coincide with the window displays commissioned to six artists by El Corte Inglés in Madrid (1963).
59 FRANÇA, José-Augusto. “Millares or the white victory”, op. cit.
60 Edition of one hundred.
61 Letter from Eduardo Westerdahl to Manolo Millares, 29/IV/1965. In the archive of Fundación Antonio Pérez, Cuenca.
62 Archive of gaceta de arte, “el caso ‘bauhaus’ en alemania y su cierre en 1932”. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: gaceta de arte, no. 30, p. 3.
63 “[…] the revelation, the poetic reception would be a small oil on tulle painting by Paul Klee at the National Gallery in Berlin”. WESTERDAHL, Eduardo. “Pequeña historia inédita de ‘gaceta de arte’”. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Fablas, no. 68, XII/1976, pp. 17-21. The work also seems to be recalled in another comment by Westerdahl: “from the maps of pinks and blues of Paul Klee […]”. WESTERDAHL, Eduardo. “croquis conciliador del arte puro y social”. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: gaceta de arte, no. 25, p. 25. See also: NAVARRO, Maria Isabel. Eduardo Westerdahl y Alberto Sartoris: correspondencia (1933-1983): una maquinaria de acción. Cabildo Insular de Tenerife, 2005.
64 Ibid. pp. 24-25.
66 WESTERDAHL, Eduardo, introduction in the exhibition catalogue Colección Westerdahl, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1959.
67 Letter from Manolo Millares to Eduardo Westerdahl, 3/XII/1966. In the archive of Fundación Antonio Pérez, Cuenca.
68 Sub-portfolio 1: “1. / azotes por razón de opi- / nar que a dios nada le iba / en esta industria.”; Sub-portfolio 2: “2. / soga y coroza porque di- / jo no cuando debió decir / sí.”; Sub-portfolio 3: “3. / quemado en estatua por / revelar su dicho.” and sub-portfolio 4: “4. / sanción de mordaza / por declarar que tal / palo no sudaba”.
69 As proven by the signed dedication by Millares to Zóbel, in a colophon of portfolio no. 2. Source: Courtesy of Manuel Fontán del Junco, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, 29/IV/2015.
70 FRANÇA, José-Augusto. Millares. Barcelona: La Polígrafa, 1977, pp. 103-104.
71 It is not confirmed whether the four fragments of text mentioned, later reproduced in this catalogue, were published (manually set using Letraset) in all the portfolios.
72 From a conversation between Elvireta Escobio and the author, IV-V/2015.
73 DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares. La destrucción y el amor. A Coruña: Fundación Caixa Galicia, 2006, p. 300.
74 Though printed in black and white, the book also contained a version in sepia of each one of the prints, alongside another reproduction of the print, with the marked plate.
75 Antonio Lorenzo travelled with Zóbel and Rueda, 1959, to Paris to visit the US artist Bernard Childs (New York, 1910-1985) who had been appointed curator of the Museo de Arte Abstracto in the second catalogue published by the museum (1969). On this trip they purchased the museum’s first etching press and a wide selection of Charbonnel printing ink and materials. Childs, of Russian origin, who had studied with Amédée Ozenfant in New York, would travel to Europe, residing in Paris between 1955 and 1966, where he specialised in research into new printing techniques, mainly by means of the application of direct incisions on the plate with a variety of tools: what he called “power drypoints”. Lorenzo spoke of this trip in the introduction to his catalogue of graphic work published by the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (1990), which we shall mention later: “on a trip to Paris, with Fernando Zóbel and Gerardo Rueda I became interested in etching. It happened in the studio of a US artist called Bernard Childs, an old acquaintance of Zóbel. We became friends. I was curious and he let me wet the paper and turn the handles of the etching press. Workshops at that time were fairly rudimentary; they were much more basic that today but they had a lot of character: etching presses, tools, paper, shelves with jars of ink, etc.; enough to seduce somebody like me who loves to get his hands dirty. Bernard Childs was the one who got me started and Zóbel, who was sometimes there, passing the time looking at books and prints, and knowing my weaknesses, played the part of tempter and took me straight away to Charbonnel to buy inks, squeegees, burins, burnishers and much more, topping off the purchase with a small etching press which we put in the boot of the car after taking the handles off”. The etching press was held at the border before they were able to recover it months later.
76 The MATROC etching press was acquired by the artist at “Marciel Azañón”, one of the most renowned manufacturers of etching presses in Spain, belonging to Jesús Marciel García, which had made the one for Dimitri and which became one of the first Spanish manufacturers of etching presses and, to a certain extent, responsible for the expansion of chalcography in Spain in those years. Millares’s etching press would end up in the hands of Antonio Lorenzo, when it was adjusted. Conversation with Monir, 2/V/2015 and May Lorenzo, V/2015.
77 Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Millares, “Antropofaunas”, “Neanderthalios” et Autres Œuvres récentes de 1966 à 1970, Paris, 23 November 1971 – 9 January 1972. Exhibition organised by the museum’s Section Animation Recherche Confrontation.
78 Exhibited for the first time at Pierre Matisse Gallery in the exhibition: Millares-Saura. An exhibition of etchings, lithographs, serigraphs and gouaches, held in New York between 16 March and 10 April 1970.
79 GAMONEDA, Antonio. “León: Homenaje a Millares”. Madrid: gaceta del arte, year II, no. 15, 30/I/1974.
80 In 1964, with the Gustavo Gili publishers, he started a collection of portfolios of prints called Las Estampas de la Cometa, at Joan Barbarà’s workshop which also made graphic work, between 1964 and 1977, for: Joan Hernández Pijuan, Lucio Fontana, Modest Cuixart, Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, August Puig, Hans Hartung, Equipo Crónica, José María Subirachs, Antoni Tàpies, Joan Miró, Bonifacio Alfonso and Erwin Bechtold. This portfolio by Manolo Millares was made as part of an agreement for the publication of a book by Moreno Galván in the “Nueva Órbita” collection (1970) cited later. Correspondence with Gustavo Gili, in the artist’s archive, between 8/IV/1969 and 10/IX/1969.
81 Galeria EGAM, Exposición de Dibujos y Aguafuertes de Millares, Madrid, 2-30 October 1971.
82 “The jury for Ibizagrafic-82 conceded the following awards: Special Mention to Lucio Fontana, recently deceased, and to the Spanish artists Tàpies, Millares and Iturralde [sic]; the Yugoslavian artist Janez Bernik; the German artists Alfred Dahmer and Ingrid Webendoerfer; the French artist Corneille and the Swiss artist Andre Ramseyer”. Various, “Clausura en Ibiza del I Encuentro de las islas del Mediterraneo”, Madrid: ABC, 23/V/1972, p. 35. See also: GUTIÉRREZ, Fernando. “Arte gráfico en Barcelona e Ibiza”. Barcelona: La Vanguardia, 23/VII/1972.
83 According to the acts of the jury, its members included, besides the aforementioned Marca-Relli and Amadeo Gabino, the director of Ibizagrafic, Julio Castro de la Gándara (20/V/1972).
84 Through the mediation of José María Moreno Galván, he donated a painting, Antropofauna (1971), to the Museo de la Solidaridad (1971-1973) in Chile.
85 FRANÇA, José-Augusto. Millares, op. cit., p. 104.
86 Ibid., p. 224.
87 MORENO GALVÁN, José María. Manolo Millares. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, Colección Nueva Órbita, 1970. Partially reproduced for the exhibition at Galerie de Messine, Paris, 1971.
88 AYLLÓN, José. Millares. Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris; Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York; Galería Biosca, Madrid; Langa y Cía, Madrid, Colección “E.P.”, April 1962.
89 DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. José María Moreno Galván: Montando nuevamente la estructura de nuestra modernidad [o, mejor] del vertedero a la modernidad. Ayuntamiento de La Puebla de Cazalla, 2014-2015.
90 Narrated in: Antonio Lorenzo. Obra gráfica 1959-1992, catalogue of exhibition at Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, 1992, p. VII.
91 They were also the authors of a sober and beautiful Cartel-recuerdo del pintor Manolo Millares (1973), published by the museum in Cuenca with a portrait of the artist they had made themselves.
92 Patrons pour brodeurs (Jean Ruelle, Paris, 1560).
93 Galería Juana de Aizpuru, A Manolo Millares, Seville, 22 September – 7 October 1972.
94 Galerie Buchholz, Millares, Munich, 1-30 October 1968.
95 Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Millares, « Antropofaunas », « Neanderthalios » et Autres Œuvres recentes de 1966 à 1970, Paris, 23 November 1971 – 9 January 1972.
96 Millares, 1966, film by Alberto Portera. 22’18’’.
97 In 1962 Manolo Millares was commissioned by Eusebio Sempere to make the work “La Santa Faz”. DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares. Pinturas. Catálogo Razonado, op. cit., cat. no. 287, colour ill. p. 324.
98 “I act with total freedom and in a deliciously strange, unsettling world; I collide different textures; I riddle infinite spaces and I torture them with a tangle of ropes”. MILLARES, Manolo. “El homúnculo en la pintura española actual”. Madrid-Palma de Mallorca: Papeles de Son Armadans”, 1959, op. cit.
99 O’Hara, the poet and curator at MoMA, who knew him personally, said that Millares “after his earlier periods, began to examine the torn canvas, stitching over the voids, creating harsh and enigmatic encrustations from burlap dipped in whiting, or bandage-like swathes, painted and splattered […], his works have more and more taken on the aspect of ceremonial vestiges […] the homunculi series presents a specifically figurative development, a far cry […]”. O’HARA, Frank. New Spanish Painting and Sculpture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1960, p. 9.
100 Homunculi, one of Millares’s most recurrent elements, an image with a deep spiritual meaning, would lead André Pieyre de Mandiargues (“Des Visionnaires”, “XX Siecle”, December 1961, Paris) to classify the artist as a mystic: “construit pour notre imagination un théâtre blessant dans l’immédiat […] le rôle de la matière n’est pas gratuit mais complémentaire d’une vision spirituelle aussi intense que celle des poètes ou des mystiques”.