16 Feb, 2022 @ 15:45
3 mins read

Five of the most important contemporary Spanish artists

Jose Royo

Everyone has heard of Picasso, Dali, Goya and Velazquez. Their paintings are among the most celebrated in the world of art, fetching millions at auction and are studied by art students across the globe.

But there is a new generation of Spanish artists who may yet prove just as influential.

Here’s a look at five of the most celebrated living artists from Spain.

Miquel Barcelo is considered one of the most famous contemporary Spanish painters.

He was born in Mallorca in 1957 and it was there where the young artist experimented with art for the first time.

He was greatly influenced in his early works by the famous Catalan painter Joan Miro.

Avignon: Spanish Artist Miquel Barcelo Exhibition
Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo, 2010 (Image: Cordon Press)

Through his paintings we can see the different styles the 65-year-old has experimented with, from abstract expressionism to fiduration.

The sea is one of his great influences. 

He is considered to be a very outstanding artist on an international level.

In 2003 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, but he has received many other awards, prizes and distinctions. 

His painting Faena de Muleta was sold at auction for €4.4 million.

Faena De Muleta
Faena de Muleta was sold for €4,4 million (Image: Flickr)

Jose Royo is often compared to Sorolla, as the way he treats light is his main protagonist of his works.

Born in Valencia in 1941, Royo showed his aptitude for art from an early age.

When he was only 9-years-old, his art lover father hired for the young Royo teachers who privately started his artistic education in painting and sculpture.

At the age of 14 he entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos in Valencia.

He exhibited for the first time in 1968 in Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona, achieving resounding success in all of them.

Although he has painted illustrious figures from the Spanish scene, the most outstanding works of the 81-year-old have been inspired by the Mediterranean. 

He has exhibited all over the world, and is currently one of the most sought-after Spanish painters, his paintings being disputed by public and private art collectors.

The light and his dramatic colours fill the viewer with energy and optimism.

Jose Royo
Royo is constantly compared with Sorolla (Image: Flickr)

Lita Cabellut although she is a very famous painter, she is really a multidisciplinary artist of drawings on paper, sculptures, photography, scenography, installations, poetry, visual poems and videos.

She was born in a village in Huesca and moved to Barcelona when she was 6-years-old.

She discovered her vocation at the age of 12 in the Prado Museum, where the dark period of Francisco de Goya became her main artistic reference.

The 61-year-old has a very recognisable style, with a palette that does not contain much more than black, white and red.

The technique she uses is a contemporary version of fresco, characterised by light and crackled textures.

She constructs photorealistic, phantasmagoric portraits with expressionistic brushstrokes.

This mixture of delicacy and violence is her main recognisable trademark.

A retrospective including 40 of her artworks took place at  the Goya Museum in Zaragoza in 2019. 

Made by 61-year-old Cabellut (Image: Flickr)

Manolo Valdes is a contemporary Spanish artist who currently works and lives in New York. 

He was born in Valencia in 1942 and at the age of 15 he started at the San Carlos School of Fine Arts before abandoning education two years later and devoting himself to painting.

Manolo Valdes
Manolo Valdes (Image: Flickr)

In 1964 he founded the artistic group Equipo Cronica, but after the death of the last remaining member, he continued to work alone in Valencia.

He is heavily influenced by Velazquez, Rembrandt, Rubens and Matisse.

The 80-year-old creates large format work in which the lights and colours express a feeling of tactility through the treatment given to the materials.

He references Pop Art and creates artworks of social and political criticism, injected with satire and humour.

His work Matisse as Pretext with Ochre and Mirror was auctioned for £430,000 in 2019.

Matisse Como Pretexto Con Ocre Y Espejo
Matisse as Pretext with Ochre and Mirror, Manolo Valdes

Jose Bautista has a distinctive style that fuses impressionism, expressionism, and fauvism.

He was born in Sevilla in 1955 although he now lives in Puzol (Valencia).

Jose Maria Bautista
Spanish artist Jose Maria Bautista (Image: Wikipedia)

In each of the areas in which he has experimented – poster design, scenography and painting – he has gained recognition.

Bautista’s vibrant works are reflections on the pleasures of life and the importance of enjoying what we have.

He has exhibited throughout Spain but his work has gained recognition abroad including France, US, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Dibujando El Paisaje
Dibujando el paisaje (drawing the landscape), Jose Bautista


Elena Gocmen Rueda

Elena Gocmen Rueda studied journalism at the Complutense University in Madrid before returning to her hometown of Marbella. She started working for The Olive Press in April 2021. Get in touch with a story: newsdesk@theolivepress.es

1 Comment

  1. From a report about ‘contemporary’ Spanish artist I had expected a report about artists much younger than 61 years. Regarding the five artists mentioned here, I miss their unique contribution to contemporary art. They all are just copying styles of former much more famous artists.

    Where are the Spanish Picassos, Miros and Dalis of 2022 ???

    Location : Germany

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