Here in this room, you can take a look at Composition, by Benjamín Palencia. Its shapes and colours evoke organic things such as the earth and its fruits, although none of the shapes can be identified as such.

Palencia took a fresh look at the endless plains of Castile, of which early 20th -century Spanish painters had been so fond. This same scenery is shown here using the between-war Avant-garde approach.

Spain’s relative isolation from European art drove Benjamín Palencia, the sculptor Alberto Sánchez, whom we will return to later on, and the Basque painter Nicolás de Lekuona, to set up their own school, which would employ the artistic language of the contemporary Avant-garde.

They thus created what became known as the School of Vallecas, named after what was, at the time, a small town close to Madrid. They would go on long walks there, and it became the setting of some of their artworks.

Lekuona, who came from a family of artists, came into contact with the Vallecas school during his student years in Madrid, during the Second Republic. Here, you can see an untitled painting of his from 1935. It is a landscape in which the centrepiece is a monolithic shape resembling a cypress tree. An earth track winds across the farmed moorland, watched over by a distant mountain with a dull grey sky above it. Lekuona’s career, like that of so many others of his generation, was cut tragically short by his death during the Civil War.

(c) (R) 2012, MUSMon com S.L.