Contextualize the plastic and literary creation of these two great artists, exhibiting it alongside that of their contemporaries from the international avant-garde in which they are registered: Federico García Lorca and Gregorio Prieto, poet-painter and poet-painter. This is the content of the new space that the Roberto Polo Collection. Castilla-La Mancha Center for Modern and Contemporary Art (CORPO) opened on December 20 at its museum headquarters in Toledo.

From: 20.12.2021

From Monday to Saturday: From 10:00 to 18:00 Sundays: 10:00 to 15:00

Centro de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Castilla-La Mancha.
Paseo del Miradero 1, 45001 Toledo

Self-portrait by G. Prieto, photograph, c.1930 (left) and portrait of Lorca by Prieto, c.1945. © FGP

Drawings, illustrated correspondence, collages, photography, are the supports in which to admire the visual poetry that generated this artistic and affective relationship. A total of 11 pieces loaned by the Gregorio Prieto Foundation and which will be exhibited in the room that CORPO dedicates to surrealism – with works by Max Ernst, Marc Eemans, Sadie Murdoch, Marc Maet, Darío Suro and Pierre-Louis Flouquet.
The purpose of this new project of the Roberto Polo Collection, in the words of its artistic director, Rafael Sierra, “is to establish visual, stylistic and conceptual relationships between the work of these two great Spanish artists and the international avant-garde that constitute the nucleus of this collection, especially with the surrealist movement, to which Prieto contributed singularly, giving it a sequel called postismo (contraction of postsurrealism ). Prieto is a painter who writes and Lorca is a poet who draws, which has offered us the opportunity to build an argument full of suggestions and possibilities ”– Sierra explains. “When CORPO proposed the loan to us, it seemed like a very interesting idea,” declares Raúl Luis García, director of the Gregorio Prieto Museum in Valdepeñas, not only because of the museum’s projection, but also because of the environment in which the works were to be carried out. to be exposed and because it is a way of opening our relations with other institutions in Castilla-La Mancha ”.

“Tribute” by Lorca to Gregorio Prieto and “Nostalgia”, drawing by the poet dated 1929. © FGP

García Lorca’s drawings, which have been frequently described as “poetic drawings”, are an important part of the poet’s artistic creation (Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, 1898-on the way from Víznar to Alfacar, Granada, 1936); a practice, drawing, to which Lorca devoted himself almost as much as he did to literature from 1923 on, and which at the time was already highly admired by his contemporaries. Both his lines and strokes and the atmospheres that he transmits, are directly related to surrealism, probably influenced by Salvador Dalí, whom he admired and with whom he maintained a relationship of great emotional and artistic intensity.

Of his poet friend Gregorio Prieto said that “poetry is his official, inseparable and faithful companion. But painting is the secret lover to which he is fatally attracted ”. It was precisely he who received and kept Lorca’s drawings –among others, those exhibited here today–, and was the first to assess and edit them, from his exile in London. “Many throw away my drawings, Gregorio, but I give them to you because I know that you keep them, and one day, when I die, you will make them famous.” This is how Lorca wrote to his friend, whom he had met at the Madrid Student Residence in 1924. “From the first moment we met personally, a current of artistic and human understanding united us in frank friendship,” wrote Prieto.

Gregorio Prieto (Valdepeñas, 1897-1992), painter and draftsman, also cultivated photography and collage. He lived and created in the universe of the international avant-garde from his formative stage in Paris, in the mid-1920s, where he discovered cubism and surrealism. In Italy he met Marinetti, Carrà, Moravia and De Chirico, who would influence him so much. In 1935 he participated in an exhibition in Paris with the most representative artists of the Spanish avant-garde, Picasso, Miró, Gris and Dalí among others. The painter from La Mancha also maintained a close relationship with numerous writers and poets of the Generation of 27, particularly with Cernuda, Aleixandre and Alberti, as well as Lorca, whom he portrayed profusely. Some of the emblematic effigies of Lorca and Cernuda are due precisely to his pencil or his brush.
Prieto goes into exile to the British capital after the murder of his great friend in August 36 (“What you heard is true, they shot him three weeks ago,” wrote a mutual friend at his residence in Paris): Federico García Lorca, Major poet of the Generation of 27 and 20th century Spanish literature, he had been executed by Franco’s hosts after a month of the uprising and the consequent civil war.

With the creation of this space, the Roberto Polo Collection. Centro de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Castilla-La Mancha also wants to pay tribute to the diaspora or the irreparable loss of these and so many other avant-garde Spanish artists, and bring their memory and brilliant work a little closer to new generations.