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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Antonio López García

Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts 1985

Antonio López(Tomelloso, Ciudad Real, España, 1936), master of realist painting and unanimously considered to be one of the most universal Spanish painters, he began to paint at thirteen years of age, although at twelve he was already drawing prints and copying the reproductions of paintings he saw in magazines. Since then until now, his full-time dedication to art –with over 400 works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures– has shown him to be one of the most highly-valued artists on the international art scene.

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After some years in a religious seminary, he moved to Madrid in 1949 to study at the Arts and Crafts School and at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, where he was to become a teacher of Colour in 1964. Upon finishing his studies, he travelled in Italy, Greece and France. His work, in which there are certain touches of melancholy and token sadness, is characterised by a sense of investigation of what reality is. Classified as an ultra-realist painter, Antonio López adds greater knowledge of colour as a real substance, a precise sense of draughtsmanship and, above all, a language of forms which is capable of integrating drawing and colour. He has repeatedly declared himself to be a profound admirer of the work of Velázquez. He paints very slowly, the result of his need to capture on canvas the innumerable sensations produced in him by his contemplation of the object to be drawn. Many of his paintings are re-touched on numerous occasions until he considers them to be definitively finished.  In his own words, “A work is never finished, but rather it reaches the limit of its own possibilities”. The first great retrospective of his work took place in Albacete in 1985. This was followed by exhibitions at the Brussels Museum of Modern Art, together with Tàpies and Chillida, and in New York. In 1990, the film director Victor Erice shot El sol del membrillo (Quince Tree of the Sun), which reflects the creative process of the artist. In January 1993, he was elected to the Madrid Royal Academy of San Fernando. That same year, the Queen Sofía Museum held an anthological exhibition of his work and he was also commissioned to paint a portrait of the Royal Family.

Among other cities, he has exhibited in Ciudad Real (1951), New York (1965, 1968, 1986), Turin (1972), Paris, Brussels, Seville (1994), Boston (2008) and Madrid (1957, 1961, 1993, 2001 and 2011).

A prestigious representative of contemporary Spanish realism, he has shown exclusively at the Marlborough Gallery, New York, since 1970. In 1983, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Fine Arts and the Menéndez Pelayo International University Medal. He is a Full Member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and in 1998 received the Medal of Academy Member from the Academy of Yuste. Holder of the Velázquez Visual Arts Prize (2006) and Gold Medal of the City of Madrid (2010), he has been awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Navarra (2011) and Murcia (2014). He has also been distinguished with the Prince of Viana Culture Award (2012) and Madrid’s International Medal of the Arts (2012)

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