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    Sale 12245

    Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Auction

    7 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 266

    MANOLO MILLARES (1926-1972)

    Cuadro 193 (Painting 193)

    Price Realised  


    MANOLO MILLARES (1926-1972)
    Cuadro 193 (Painting 193)
    signed 'MILLARES' (lower left); signed and titled 'MILLARES-CUADRO 193' (on the stretcher)
    acrylic and twine on burlap
    51 3/8 x 38 3/8in. (130.5 x 97.5cm.)
    Executed in 1962

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    “We are trying to attain a revolutionary plastic art which will include both our dramatic tradition and our direct expression, and be our historic response to a universal activity. We are fighting for an art that will lead to the salvation of individuality within the framework of our age. Our goal is a great transformation of plastic art in which may be found the expression of a new reality.” (M. MILLARES, quoted in J.-A. França, Millares, Barcelona, 1978, p. 64).

    With its rugged terrain of lacerated burlap swathed in a cascade of visceral paint, Manolo Millares’ Cuadro 193 is a poignant example of the sackcloth creations that represent a critical strand of his oeuvre. Executed in 1962, seven years following Millares’ transition from his native Canary Islands to Madrid, Cuadro 193 is subsumed by a phantasmal figure that coalesces and recesses across the canvas. Effusions of sanguine red, fleshy beige and ossified white emanate from the black void, redolent of bodily remains. The expressive intrusions of chromatic warmth offset the murky expanse creating a formally balanced composition enlivened by the subtle rhythmic movement of colour. Millares’ vast, caustic surface bears a weathered façade manipulated by agitated gashes, extruding stitches of string and crumples of canvas that imply anthropological remains. Throughout his childhood, Millares was enthralled by the mummified remnants of the Guanches found at the Las Palmas museum. It was the extinct ‘homunculi’, indigenous to the island and reiterated in Millares’ figuration, that sparked his interest in the ‘”finitude” of man’, claiming that this ‘extermination of a race’ had ‘provided the original starting point for my sackloths’ (M. Millares, quoted in J-A. França, Millares, Barcelona 1978, p. 94). Cuadro 193 is an expressive investigation into the vulnerability of mankind. Although often affiliated with Arte Povera and Art Informel movements, Millares’ art is more concerned with the depravity of the human condition, which is underscored by his inauguration of the Spanish avant-garde group ‘El Paso.’ Comprising fellow artists Pablo Serrano, Manuel Rivera, Rafael Canogar and Luis Feito, the group sought to create ‘an art that will lead to the salvation of individuality within the framework of our age’—an era ravaged by the psychological effect of the Second World War, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and the Spanish Civil War (M. Millares, quoted in J.-A. França, Millares, Barcelona 1978, pp. 132-33). Cuadro 193’s ravaged, bandaged and bespattered canvas is a raw and dramatic exploration of mankind’s place in the modern world.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
    Acquavella Modern Art, New York (AMA 2012).
    Anon. sale, Sotheby’s Paris, 27 May 2009, lot 15.
    Private Collection.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.


    J.-A. França, Millares, Barcelona 1977, no. 178 (illustrated, p. 104).
    A. de la Torre (ed.), Manolo Millares Pinturas Catálogo Razonado, Madrid 2004, no. 274 (illustrated in colour, p. 309).
    J. Montes, ‘Mutilados de Paz’, in ABC de las Artes, no. 771, Madrid 2006 (illustrated in colour, p. 36).


    New York, Acquavella Contemporary Art, Manolo Millares, 2006, no. 25 (illustrated in colour, p. 73). This exhibition later travelled to Madrid, Galería Guereta.

    Post Lot Text

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