MANOLO

"MANOLO MANUEL HUGUE"

"RECLINGING NUDE"

BRONZE, SIGNED

SPANISH, C.1920

12 X 13.75 INCHES

Born 29 April 1872, in Barcelona; died 17 November 1945.

Sculptor, watercolourist, engraver, draughtsman. Figure compositions, figures, scenes with figures, animals.

Manolo's father was a general from Aragon who had a command in Cuba. He was brought up by his elder sister in Barcelona and left his family's care at an early age to lead an adventurous life, the story of which he later recounted in his Life of Manolo, Told by Himself. He studied at the academy of fine arts in Barcelona for three years and carried out decorative work for a number of artistic foundations, including the Tasse foundation. He frequented the artists' café Els Quatre Gats. As a deserter, he went to Paris in 1892, and was also in Paris from 1901 to 1910. Here he formed a connection with the sculptor and ceramicist Francisco (Paco) Durrio, Picasso and the artists of Montmartre and Montparnasse, and was often to be found at night in the company of the poet Jean Moréas.

Manolo lived an unsettled life and did not work regularly until he settled in 1910 in the border town of Céret (Pyrénées-Orientales). He was drawn to the town by the presence of the Catalan musician Déodat de Séverac, and was joined there in 1912 or 1913 by Juan Gris, Picasso and Braque who all stayed for fairly long periods. Manolo remained in Céret during the years following World War I but after contracting a serious illness he gave up sculpture for painting, particularly in watercolours. In 1925 or 1928, he settled permanently in Caldas de Montbuy. He became a member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Artes de Sant Jordi.

Manolo was influenced by Gauguin during the first period of time he spent in Céret, and executed sculptures. These were either modelled in clay and then fired, or carved in wood or stone. They depicted female characters, often mothers with children, and lively, amusing little figures full of unsophisticated verve, including farmers, bullfighters and dancers. He sometimes achieved the fullness of Maillol's work in these pieces, and they included one of Manolo's rare sculptures on a monumental scale, The Catalan Woman ( La Catalana), which was erected in one of the town squares. His sculpture was imbued with the primitivism quite widely adopted at the beginning of the century. He also produced woodcuts to illustrate Heart of Oak ( Cœur de chêne) by Pierre Reverdy in 1921. His painting technique was spontaneous and allusive, employing broad, rich, brightly coloured brushstrokes reminiscent of the Italian Macchiaioli in a kind of Expressionist Impressionism.

Manolo took part in a number of group exhibitions: the Armory Show in New York in 1916, the Fine Arts Exhibition in Barcelona in 1919, the Contemporary Art Salon in Antwerp in 1923, the International Art Exhibition in Venice in 1928, the Modern Culture Exhibition in Prague in 1939 and the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1937. After his death, his work was shown in various group exhibitions such as the Hispano-American Biennale in Barcelona in 1955, and Paris - Barcelona from Gaudí to Miró in the Grand Palais in Paris in 2001. His work was also shown in individual exhibitions. These were held regularly in Barcelona from 1917 onwards, at the Galerie Simon in Paris in 1923, at the Flechtheim Galleries in Frankfurt, in Düsseldorf and in Berlin in 1929, at the Sala Parès in Barcelona and at the Kunsthaus in Zurich in 1931, at the Acadèmia de Belles Arts in Sabadell in 1943, at the Palais des Arts et de la Culture in Brest in 1972 and at the musée Tavet-Delacour in Pontoise in 1995.