Manuel Rivera (Spanish, 1927-1995) Metamorfosis (Imagen) 1960

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Lot 31AR
Manuel Rivera
(Spanish, 1927-1995)
Metamorfosis (Imagen)
1960

Sold for £ 120,062 (US$ 148,429) inc. premium
Manuel Rivera (Spanish, 1927-1995)
Metamorfosis (Imagen)
1960

signed on the inside of the frame; signed, titled, dated 1960 and variously inscribed on the reverse of the frame
mesh and wire in metal frame

81 by 60 cm.
31 7/8 by 23 5/8 in.


Footnotes

  • We are most grateful to Mr. Alfonso de la Torre for the information he has kindly provided.

    Provenance
    Private Collection, Italy
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

    Literature
    Miguel Logroño, 1956-1981 Manuel Rivera: Los dos lados del espejo, Madrid 1981, p. 54, listed
    Marisa Rivera, Aproximación a un Catálogo Razonado, 1943-1994, Madrid 1997, p. 182, listed
    Alfonso de la Torre, Manuel Rivera, Catálogo Razonado de Pinturas, 1943 - 1994, Madrid 2009, p. 167, no. [232] P-60-17, listed



    Floating in a sturdy but subtle framework, the complex layers of wire netting of Metamorfosis (Imagen) are superimposed and set against each other at different levels to build an imaginative landscape of forms and depth. The work beautifully displays the formal simplicity of abstraction whilst forever changing depending on light and shadow, as well as the viewers position and emotions when viewing the work. Rivera was never tempted by sculpture or cold kinetic experimentation, he referred to his works as paintings and the expressive interplay of mesh and light with its hypnotic moiré pattern create an experience akin to the works of the Abstract Expressionists. Although Rivera's work is more abstract than that of his fellow El Paso members, he too was influenced by his environment and so we can see history, nostalgia and the artists personal memories, especially of his childhood in Grenada and of the Alhambra, woven into the mesh of his oeuvre.

    Rivera liked to find poetic pretexts and reference points for his paintings, and he was greatly influenced by cinema, a true symbol of modernity. In his Metamorfosis works he paid tribute to Ingmar Bergman, and not only did he meet his wife at the Regio cinema in Granada, Rivera also found artistic inspiration when he encountered some wire mesh prophetically hanging in the air in a hardware shop window on his way to the cinema. After seeing "Black Orpheus" by Marcel Camus in 1959 he subtitled two of his Metamorfosis pieces "Orfeo" and "Eurídice" and increasingly played with the idea of the image and mirrors in his titles. Like Orpheus crosses the mirror, or Alice the looking glass, the viewer of his subtly manipulated, shimmering metallic paintings is transported to infinite unknown worlds.

    Executed in 1960, Metamorfosis (Imagen) stems from one of most productive and successful periods of Manuel Rivera's artistic production. Following the devastation of the civil war and confronted with the challenges that modern art faced in Spain at the time, Rivera pursued similar goals to the American Abstract Expressionists in the late 1950s and gradually moved away from a traditional figurative painting style towards abstraction. Along with fellow artists such as Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, Luis Feito and Rafael Canogar, all of whom were instrumental in defining the Spanish avant-garde of the Post-War era, he co-founded the El Paso movement in 1957. By 1960, the year the present work was executed, Rivera had already found broad international recognition, having exhibited at the 4th Biennial of São Paulo in 1957 and the 29th Venice Biennale in 1958. His works are included in the permanent collections of such prestigious international institutions as the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MOMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.
Contacts
Manuel Rivera (Spanish, 1927-1995) Metamorfosis (Imagen) 1960
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