Through uncompromising study of his subjects, he has imbued the commonplace with a haunting and extraordinary character, seen in his exceptional depiction of light—at once brilliant and subdued, ethereal and fleeting, and palpable.
His unrelenting examination and depiction of his subject means that he sometimes spends years to finish a single canvas. This penetrating approach, as well as his exceptional skill, has singled out López García as one of Spain’s most revered artists.
Antonio López García is the eldest son of a married couple of well-to-do farmers in the Castilian town of Tomelloso, La Mancha, and his house was located on Domecq Street. His early vocation for drawing, as well as the influence of his uncle, the painter Antonio López Torres, made up his decision to devote himself to painting.
In 1949 he moved to Madrid to prepare for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, where he coincided with various artists such as Enrique Gran, Amalia Avia, and Lucio Muñoz, with whom he formed what has come to be called the Madrid School.
He remained in the academy between 1950 and 1955. In 1955, thanks to a scholarship, he traveled to Italy, where he first encountered Italian Renaissance painting. He thus suffered a small disappointment in contemplating live the masterpieces that he only knew by reproductions, and that until that moment he venerated.
He began to revalue classical Spanish painting, which he knew so well, thanks to frequent visits to the Prado Museum, especially Diego Velázquez.
After completing his studies, he made his first individual exhibitions in 1957 and 1961 in Madrid, while working in this city as well as in the town where he was born. In 1961 he married the painter María Moreno, a union from which two daughters were born: María in 1962 and Carmen in 1965. From this last year and until 1969 he was professor in charge of the Chair of color preparatory in the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando.
In 1990 the film director Victor Erice filmed El sol del membrillo, a film in which the artist’s creative process is collected while painting a quince-keeper from the patio of his house. In January 1993 he was appointed member of the Madrid Royal Academy of San Fernando and in that same year, the Reina Sofía Museum dedicated an anthological exhibition.
In 2008, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts dedicated a monographic exhibition.1 In addition, his work Madrid from Torres Blancas reached at an auction of Christie’s of London the 1,918,000 £, the largest amount paid so far for a work Of a living Spanish artist.2
In 2011 the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao dedicated temporary exhibitions with works of all stages, but mostly of their latest production.
Between 1950 and 1955 he studied art at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, winning a number of prizes. While at the school he developed a friendship with María Moreno—also a painter—whom he would marry in 1961. He also formed friendships with Francisco López Hernández, Amalia Avia, and Isabel Quintanilla. Out of this nucleus a realist group, the New Spanish Realists, was formed in Madrid. López García became friends with Jack Chambers, a Canadian studying in Madrid. Although Chambers did not belong to the New Spanish Realists, parallels to their style can be found in his work created in Canada in the late 1960s.
Madrid of the postwar period was isolated from the international panorama of art and culture. All the information that López García accessed on contemporary art was derived from library books at the school; he gradually became aware of Picasso and other great artists of the period.
In 1955, a scholarship allowed him to travel to Italy with Francisco López and study Italian painting from the Renaissance. During this period he began to reevaluate Spanish painting in the Prado, especially Velázquez, a constant reference.
During most of his career, Antonio López García worked amidst an artistic culture dominated first by abstraction and later by conceptual currents. In the 1960s and the 1970s, his prestige quietly grew. It is possible to establish links between his work and the new European figurative tendencies or the American hyperrealism.
López has won numerous awards. After winning the III National Art Contest in his final year of art school, he was awarded a trip to Italy by the Spanish Ministry of Education, in order to study the works of Renaissance masters. He has also been awarded the Medalla de Oro from Castilla-La Mancha and the Community of Madrid, in 1986 and 1990, respectively. In 2004, López was inducted as an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, and in 2006 he was awarded the Velázquez Prize for Fine Arts.
more about the artist Antonio Lopez Garcia