The retrospective exhibition The Intensity of Silence opens at Fundação D. Luis I at the Centro Cultural de Cascais in Portugal.
The exhibition Juan Genovés: Reconsidered opens at Marlborough Gallery in New York, an exhibition of his early paintings created during the height of his political engagement. Curated by Bartomeu Marín, this presentation offers viewers the opportunity to revisit a selection of works chronologically bound between 1965 and 1975, paying homage to his landmark 1967 exhibition held at Marlborough Fine Art in London. Accompanying the exhibition is a new publication which contextualizes Genovés’s unique approach to the political context in which he lived.
The biography Juan Genovés, Ciudadano y pintor, written by Mariano Navarro, Armando Montesinos and Alicia Murría, is publishes (Turner, 2021).
Juan Genovés passes away on 15th May in Madrid.
Opening of the exhibition Juan Genovés XX-XXI at Museo Goya in Zaragoza, Spain.
The Moscow MOMA, in collaboration with the Marlborough Gallery in Madrid, hosts the exhibition Juan Genovés: Crowds, a major retrospective of his work.
The book Resistencia (La Fábrica, 2019) is published, a Spanish-English volume coordinated by the former director of the Marlborough Barcelona Gallery, Violant Porcel, which offers an exhaustive journey through the painter’s career from 1965 to 1977, delving into its more political aspect. The book includes texts by Violant Porcel, Armando Montesinos, Alicia Murría, Mariano Navarro, David Campany, Pedro G. Romero, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Daniel G. Andújar, Ian Gibson, Patricia Esquivias and Juan Genovés himself. At the book presentation event held in Madrid in the fall of 2019, the historian Mariano Navarro and the artist Fernando Sánchez Castillo accompanied the artist.
At the Niemeyer center in Avilés, the exhibition The unit divided by zero is held. Curated by Ana Genovés, the show was a sample of around fifty pieces of painting, sculpture, video art installation or photography that brings together the work of Genovés with that of his children in a common thread, Pablo, Silvia and Ana. It is the first and only occasion in which the artist and his three children undertake an exhibition project together. The Transbase sculpture, placed in the Niemeyer Center square as part of the exhibition, was donated by the artist and is permanently in the cultural complex.
He continues to work with intervened graphics, runs of ten digital prints that the artist modifies with paint and small objects. The Juan Genovés exhibition is held. Live and coexist in the Benlliure gallery in his native Valencia.
The Reina Sofía Museum celebrates the collective exhibition Poetics of Democracy. Images and counter-images of the Transition as part of the commemorative acts of the 40th anniversary of the Constitution. The Embrace is one of the main pieces of the first part of the exhibition that collects anti-Franco art gathered at the 1976 Venice Biennale.
Juan Genovés is inaugurated. Recent Paintings in Marlborough New York. It is the last exhibition that the artist does in life in the mother house of the gallery that accompanied him throughout his career.
The exhibition Irreversible, at the Marlborough gallery in Barcelona, revolves around his intervened graphics. This means of expression can be highlighted as one of his great projects in recent years since, according to the artist himself, it constituted an exercise in freedom prior to bringing some ideas to his paintings.
Amnesty International launches a facsimile edition of the El Abrazo poster, which the Democratic Junta, in hiding, asked the painter to request the freedom of political prisoners.
The group exhibition Yesterday and Today. The labyrinth of time held at the Marlborough Gallery in Madrid and curated by Francisco Calvo Serraller, brings together works by all the gallery’s artists to establish a dialogue between their old and more recent works. The works by Juan Genovés present are Proyecto (1993) and Partido, (2016), in this context the artist has the opportunity to meet with his fellow creators who accompanied him through the years in this common space.
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos of Valencia invests him as an Honorary Academician. During the delivery, the president of the institution, Manuel Muñoz, stressed that it was an “obligation for Genovés to be part of this academic body.” Genovés donated his work La calle to the institution.
2016 y 2017
He grants a series of interviews for the art critics Armando Montesinos, Alicia Murría and Mariano Navarro, who are in charge of writing his forthcoming biography.
After 40 years hidden in the basement of the Reina Sofía Museum, El Abrazo, is ceded by the institution to be placed in the Congress of Deputies thanks to the request of the deputies of the United Left. The painting is located in the vestibule of the building at number 36 of the Carrera de San Jerónimo, next to the representations of the Kings of Spain, the busts of the presidents of the Second Republic Manuel Azaña and Niceto Alcalá Zamora, and that of the precursor of the female vote in Spain, Clara Campoamor.
Genovés cedes the reproduction rights to Amnesty International, considering that this work does not belong to him, but to the Spanish.
The Valencian Generalitat grants him its High Distinction.
Marlborough Fine Art London dedicates a solo exhibition to him. The RTVE journalist specializing in art and presenter of Radio has eyes, Ana Morente, interviewed him in the context of the exhibition for the documentary “100 x 120. On” from the series Imprescindibles in La 2. This audiovisual piece is still one of the most complete and profound that have been carried out on the life and work of the artist.
El Abrazo is exhibited within the framework of the historic collective exhibition Myths of Pop held at the Thyssen Museum. The presence of the work within an apparently incongruous context serves to testify to the social and political concerns that coexist with the artistic language of pop art.
The Center del Carme Cultura Contemporània (CCCC) in Valencia hosts the large individual exhibition Crowds, which brings together more than fifty works by the painter from the 1950s to the most recent, covering practically all of the artist’s production. In addition, two monumental sculptures made that same year are exhibited: Process and Speculum, in corten steel and aluminum, respectively.
Martin Coomer, author of the introductory text of the catalogue, writes about the works that make up the exhibition: “When contemplating them, we inevitably think of barriers; Images of political or ideological frontiers come to mind that the artist deliberately prefers not to reveal. This is the reason why, although in a tone less declamatory but no less provocative than that of the irreverent icons of Pop art, half a century later, the echoes of Genovés’ painting from the mid-1960s still resonate with the same strength. In his hands, the human mass becomes an anonymous and recurring product of history. Power, persecution, resistance or displacement are some of the eternal themes of a work that continues to move the viewer regardless of the setting to which it is moved; whether it be Madrid in the 1960s, Berlin or Beijing in the 1980s, Cairo or any of the settings of the Arab Spring of 2010. History not only takes over Genovés’ work, it is more, it recreates it” .
Crowds travels to Perpignan, A Coruña, Murcia and Moscow.
Receives the Culture Prize of the Community of Madrid in the category of Plastic Arts. Her recognition highlights her work in renewing Spanish art and the way in which her canvases, a reflection of current political and social events, cross the border of art and become historical documents.
He participates in the TEFAF and Art Basel fairs at its headquarters in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong. In the latter with great success that confirms the affinity of the Asian public with his work, this connection is reinforced in the following years.
He is honored with the XIV Julián Besteiro Prize for Arts and Letters awarded by the UGT “not only for the great pictorial quality of his work, internationally recognized, but also, and in a special way, for his personal commitment to democratic values and the social justice”, according to the union in a statement.
He shows his latest work in a solo show at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. The show is a great success and is praised by both critics and the public.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Republic Juan signs a manifesto titled “With pride, modesty and gratitude” along with other prominent members from the spheres of culture, politics and the arts. He also works with the association FESMAI, to help children, by donating several works along with Rafael Canogar, Antonio de Felipe and Luis Feito, which will be in the catalogue for the II Charity Art Auction 2006, which is held at the Gran Hotel Velazquéz, in Madrid on the 15th June at 8 pm. The money raised will all be donated to schools with which Fesmai collaborate, who take in abandoned children throughout Latin America.
On the 13th of May he is awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in the fine arts by King Juan Carlos I by the royal decree 566/2005. The ceremony is held in the Alfredo Krauss auditorium in Las Palmas on the island Las Gran Canarias. Their Royal Highnesses and the Minister for Culture Carmen Calvo give the medals to: Maria Galiana, the actress; the writer José Luis Sampedro; the photographer Crisina Garcia Rodero, the bullfighter Paco Camino, the designers, Carolina Herrera, Amaya Arzuaga and Sara Navarro; the singers Bernardo de Utrera and his sister Fernanda; the writer Clara Janés; the actor José Luis Gomez; the dancer and present director of the Spain’s National Ballet; José Antonio; the conductor Odón Alonso; the artists Juan Genovés, and Ginés Liebana; the archivist Carmen Crespo Nogueira; the architect Dionisio Hernández Gil, the Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso, the actress Victoria Abril and the magazines “Ritmo” dedicated to classical music and the literary magazine “Litoral”. At the ceremony Juan Carlos I once again reiterates the Royal family’s commitment to Spanish Cultural activity and emphasizes that these medals are to reward “the dynamic and brilliant careers which are not only praiseworthy but in each case represent a body of work of excellence”.
During this year Juan takes part in many group shows, the most important being: “Spanish Pop, The sixties. Time re-found” held in the Esteban Vicente Museum of Contemporary Art in Segovia. He also takes part in the exhibition “25 years of art and the Constitution. Liberty, diversity and coexistence in contemporary Valencian art” to celebrate the 25h anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, held in the Reales Ataranzas in Valencia, the Alicante fish market and the Fine Arts Museum in Castellón. He also has work in the exhibition “With the word and the image. 25 years of the Spanish Constitution” held in the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid.
He takes part in the Discussions “Art and Politics in the Spanish Democracy” held in the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Centre) in Madrid and in the conference “Culture and Education” at the Ateneo (Arts and Sciences Association) also in Madrid. He produces the sculpture of “The embrace” in bronze with a white pedestal, which is installed in the Anton Martin Square in honour of the lawyers murdered in Atocha Street. It is unveiled on the 9th June and Juan tried to persuade the mayor José Maria Alvarez del Manzano not to put a commemorative plaque on it. He is on the panel of judges for the IV Murcia University painting Prize. Throughout the year he takes part in various demonstrations against the war in Iraq and he calls for “More posters!” He wants people to demonstrate in the streets. He exhibits his sculptures: “The embrace” and “The Invisible wall” for the first time. The sculptors’ proofs are exhibited for the first time in Aranjuez (normally there are 6 for each sculpture) along with the drawings of the series “Dreams 1995/1996”. He starts work on the series “Arsonists” in a slightly impressionist style, achieved by using a lot of paint so that the little figures are in relief. He attends the symposium “When September was called Allende” at the Casa de America. Juan never takes paper to any discussions. Juan and the painter Antonio Lopez along with art students from the Madrid Complutense University paint a mural on one of the University’s walls. He is president of the panel of judges for the III Juan Maria Bandres Prize for 2003, presented by the CEAR, The Spanish Commission for Refugees.
He stops painting in small format. He is still experimenting with art and now starts to make sculptures. He is still critical and socially very committed. He is part of the panel of judges for the “El Comerci” grants in Gijón. He takes part in the round table talks: “A vision of Spain through art and literature” over the last twenty-five years, within the II Edition of the Conferences on the reign of King Juan Carlos I, organised by the King Juan Carlos I University in Madrid. He has work in the exhibition “About Spain” in the Spanish Academy in Rome organised by the trade union CIGL, who helped the trade union Comisiones Obreros, when they organised the exhibition in 1972. He wants art to be seen in its social dimension. He is awarded the Arts Prize by the Valencia regional Government, a distinction of cultural merit awarded annually by the CVC, the Valencian Cultural Council, recognising his professional career. He joins other Madrid artists to support the Palestine people. He makes the presentation for the catalogue: “The Martinez Guerricabeitia donation: complete catalogue of work”, of works given to the Valencia University, in which, Juan Genovés is represented. He is on the panel of judges for the Art Prize “Ciudad de Albacete”, and also gives a workshop in Gijón. At the 25th Anniversary of the Spanish Communist Party celebrating twenty five years as a legally recognised political party, the PCE pay homage to the painter: “Juan Genovés: brush strokes in a transition”. He also attends the 2000 Valdepeñas Art awards as the guest artist, held in the Valdepeñas Cecilio Miñoz Fillol Cultural Centre in Ciudad Real.
Comisiones Obreros brings back Genovés’ painting “The Embrace” and uses it on cards, diaries posters etc…He is one of the panel of judges on the II ABC Painting Award. He starts painting smaller paintings. He illustrates the book “The Sea” by Santiago Genovés. He attends the course “Culture, Transition and Media” organised by the SEK Summer Courses and also the course “Art and Politics in Spain (1939- 2001)” held during the Madrid Complutense University’s Summer Courses in El Escorial. In an act organised by Amnesty International he speaks out against terrorist acts, domestic violence, racism etc. The Dominican Association of Art Critics award him the Prize for best foreign artist in 2000 for his solo show “Sequences and Dreams” held in the Dado Museum of Modern Art in the Dominican Republic, 12-3-2001.
He carries on working on the series “Sequences”. He is tired of being pigeon holed as a political painter and for not being recognised for his painting, which is undoubtedly good. He attends the World Arts Encounter held in Valencia. He is a member of the panel of judges and the invited artist at the LXI Valdepeñas National Arts Exhibition in Madrid. He runs a workshop at the King Juan Carlos University’s Summer Courses in Almería. He signs the Manifesto against the reduction of hours dedicated to drawing in secondary education.
As a member of the Madrid Artists Association he takes part in an exhibition to defend and promote artists from the Madrid area. He is one of a hundred artists who donate work to an auction to raise money for Central America. As always he is more than willing to help and to show solidarity where possible. The Valencia town hall, notify him of a project to name a street after him. His granddaughter Lu is born to his daughter Silvia and Ramon. Over the summer he runs the V Pablo Ruiz Picasso Workshop in La Coruña, organised by the Union Fenosa Contemporary Arts Museum from 26th July to 6th August. He illustrates two books of Latin American short stories. He is named member of the Human Rights Association board. He takes part in the I Intellectuals Encounter at the Fine Arts association in December titled “Coexistence within the different cultures forming the Spanish State”. He is still working on the series “Sequences”.
His search for the depth of a pure, smooth white is evident in his work at this time. Throughout the year one of his paintings will be used in various acts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of human rights. He belongs to a group of Madrid artists who donate works of art for charity projects. He designs the posters for the masked dance at the Fine arts association in Madrid and the Moors and Christians Fiestas in Alcoy. Always a contributor, he takes part in the group show, the Carena Collective, an association for the help and support in the treatment of cancer. He designs a fan in honour of Lorca, for Spanish Vogue. In July he takes part in the Complutense University’s Summer Courses held in el Escorial and coordinated by Francisco Calvo Serraller. At the end of the year he attends a talk with the students from the final year of the Fine Arts Degree.
He illustrates a book of poems called “The pulse of Winds” by Marina Oroza. He takes part in the Llotgeta del Mercat Serigrafía workshop organised by José Jimenez. He is one of the speakers in the debating forum organised by the Madrid Association of Artists titled “The panorama for visual artists today”. He is working mainly on paper at this time and his series “Shadows and little people” represents an iconographic symbol for his artistic career. 25 years after of one of his most polemical group shows Juan takes part in a commemoration organised by Comisiones Obreros (Spanish Trade Union) titled “Solidarity/Art/Milá 1972 – Barcelona 1997, in Barcelona. He runs an art workshop titled “Painting” in the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Centre), in Madrid. Along with eight other artists, he collaborates, by making an etching for the folder to celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Ausias March in Valencia. He takes part in the artistic encounter: “Culture and Dissidence. The struggle for freedom during the dictatorship” with Alfredo Alcaín, Joaquin Pacheco and Enrique Cavestany as moderator.
The Marlborough Gallery in Madrid and New York exhibit his series of gouaches titled “Transits”. He is a member on the panel of judges for the Marbella Contemporary Engraving Museum’ III Prize for Young Painters in Pozuelo. He donates graphic work for an exhibition organised by Amnesty International called ” By buying art you will help us defend human rights” and also takes part in Unicef’s exhibition to commemorate their 50th anniversary 1946 – 1996 in aid of Unicef in Valencia. He joins a discussion panel on the subject of “Art and the Freedom of Speech”. His first grandson, Lucas is born to his son Pablo Genovés and Marina Oroza. In December he finishes the series “Dreams”, a total of 366, one for each day of this leap year.
He is still worried about man and his environment. He takes part in the discussion ” Genovés, Spain over the last decades” held in the Marlborough Gallery in Madrid along with Juan Cruz, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Fanny Rubio and Manuel Vicent. He is also involved in the presentation of the book “All the Art in the World” at the Reina Sofia Art Centre. He runs an art workshop at the Complutense University Summer Courses in El Escorial. He runs another workshop in Cuba. He is a member of the jury for the III edition of the Marcelino Botín Foundation art grants for ’95 – ’96 in Santander. In December he begins a new series of drawings called “Dreams”, which will take him a year to complete.
The Marcelino Botín Foundation organises an exhibition of Genovés’ work and includes a workshop with the painter in the programme. He is a member of the jury on the Xativa Cultural Arts Centre II International Painting Biennial “Ciutat de Xátiva”. He takes part in the entertaining exhibition “Used Shoes and Artists Workshops” organised by the shoe manufacturers’ Camper in the Pilar and Joan MIró Foundation in Palma, Majorca. Juan is worried by what he sees as a step backwards in many social aspects. He starts to paint from a birds’ eye perspective. He is laid low by bad health. He is constantly worried about man and his environment.
He is awarded the 1992 II Turia award for the best contribution to Art, by the magazine Turia, in Valencia. In Madrid he attends the homage, in the Ateneo (Arts and science association) to Joan Fuster, to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the essayist and writer. Many Valencian residents in Madrid turn up. In Zaragoza many artists and intellectuals demand solutions to the cultural situation in the Zaragoza Manifesto. Juan Genovés show solidarity to the Bosnian conscientious objectors.
He has solo shows in the Palacio Revillagigedo in Gijón, Asturias and an anthological exhibition in the IVAM in Valencia. He paints the poster for the Complutense University’s Summer Courses. He takes part in Paris, in an exhibition to raise funds for Amnesty International along with other contemporary artists. He is also present at the exhibition, Artists in Madrid in the 1992 Expo in Madrid’s pavilion in Seville. He takes part in the Madrid demonstrations against racism.
He stops working for the Complutense University board. He is still working on his paintings on paper and on the large format boards, which are made up of diverse fragments forming a collage. He makes etchings similar to the ones he made for the Madrid School of Doctors. The Galician Savings Bank Foundation and The Malaga Savings Bank hold retrospective Exhibitions of his work. He gives classes in an art workshop at the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastian in the Arteleku Arts Centre. He takes part in the protest against the violation of Human Rights in the World organised by Amnesty International.
Juan organises a series of debates: “University-Society. What is the relationship?” He starts work on a new series of paintings titled “Panoramas” which are paintings in black and greys on paper. At the same time he is also working on paintings on large format board. In November he takes part in Madrid in the State Manifesto for immigrants and refugees. He collaborates with Amnesty International on the book “For a World without Executions ” with a prologue by José Luis Aranguren. At the beginning of 1990 the idea for the Association Avegap (Visual, Entity for the Management of Artists) is conceived, to act as a management body for copyright, made up mainly of well-known artists. At the first meeting Juan Genovés is elected by his fellow artists to be one of the ten members of the board with Jaime Brihuega as the General Director of fine arts.
The Social Board of the Madrid Complutense University, presents the inventory of its patrimony, thanks to Juan Genovés’ initiative. He is now working on dark, paste -covered surfaces. The paste usually consists of oil paint but occasionally of acrylic paint. Etchings are still an important part of his work and he takes part in diverse exhibitions such as “L’Europe des Graveurs” held in the Grenoble Municipal Library and “Chronicle of a Decade 1965-1975” which is held in various cities throughout Spain. Juan paints a painting for the IV Latin-American Theatre Festival in Cadiz to be used for the postcards, stickers, brochures and posters. He takes part in “The Boat of Peace”, an exhibition to support peace in Central America. He is a cultural militant.
He is still working on his three series of paintings, which he commenced the year before. He takes part in the I Congress for Arts, which is held in Madrid. He paints a painting for the XIV Latin-American Film Festival held in Huelva, which is reproduced on the brochures, catalogues and posters for the Festival. He draws an illustration for the campaign for the Referendum Rules and another one for the second edition of the “Art Teatral” (Theatre Art), the illustrated notebooks of short plays, Valencia.
Juan begins a new period in his painting where he begins to use only oil paints, which previously he had used only sparingly. He works simultaneously on three series: “Urban Spirals”, “Measuring the Earth” and “The Bathers”. As a member of the Social Board of the Complutense University of Madrid he organises the inventory of their Artistic Patrimony. He takes part in the organisation of the I Congress of Madrid Artists. He is a member of the jury of the I Jaume Guasch Painting Biennial in the Jaume Guasch Foundation in Barcelona. He is included in the book “Madrid Today” edited by the Madrid Town Council. In November he attends the Meeting for Cultural Politics organised by the Spanish Communist Party.
The Madrid Town Council name him member of the Social Board of the Complutense University. He takes part in two art workshops: V workshop for contemporary arts in Las Palmas on the Gran Canarias island from 24th February to 21st March in the Casa de San Antonio Abad where he paints the mural in homage to Olof Palme. This is unfortunately destroyed soon after its completion. The Cultural Wealth Fund invites him to give the second workshop held in Le Parc. Juan attends an encounter with artists from Poland, the USSR, Bulgaria and Spain in Warsaw where he takes part in various workshops of collective painting. In Italy the commemorative exhibition of the Marzotti Prize is held and his painting, “The Plane”, which won the prize in 1968 is honoured.
Juan attends the International Congress: Culture and Science for Strengthening Cooperation of Anti-War Movements in Sofia, Bulgaria. In Budapest he is a delegate along with the sculptor Martin Chirino for the Cultural Forum as part of the European Security and Cooperation Conference.
He collaborates on the Generalitat’s (Valencian Parliament) illustration for the Statute for Autonomy for the Valencian autonomous region. He gives a talk in the old Faculty of Fine Arts to a large group of students. He takes part in the Portuguese – Spanish Conference for an Iberian Peninsula free of nuclear arms in Lisbon. He is a signatory for the Table for the referendum for NATO. He paints the poster for Valencia’s homage to Antonia Machado. He takes part on a discussion panel about Art in this century along with José Luis Borau and Román Alias en Asturias. He receives the National Prize for Art.
He is named member of the board for the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Association) in Madrid. He takes part in the peace Congress of Prague as a member of the Spanish Delegation. He donates work for an auction to help the victims of the Valencia flooding.
He is still working on the “Urban Landscapes” series. He has his first anthological exhibition in the Centro Cultural de la Villa in Madrid, which will travel on afterwards to Valencia in 1983. He paints the poster for the Valencia Book Fair. In the legislative elections he is one of the candidates on the lists for the P.C.P.V in Valencia (The Valencia Communist Party).
The failed coup d’état on the 23rd February inspires Juan to paint the series “Urban Landscapes”. He has solo shows in Valencia and Logroño after many years of not showing in Spain.
He does all the illustrations for the magazine n.i.6/7 L’Espill. The drawing on page 13 will become a symbol for Catalan nationalism. First used to commemorate the 25th of April in Valencia the illustration is later used by several Catalan political parties such as La Crida a la Solidaritat and the UPV in Valencia. Juan takes part in June in the General Assembly of Artists, Intellectuals and Professionals of Valencia in the Játiva Theatre. The Spanish Ministry of Culture buys the painting “The Embrace” and it is now kept in the art archives of the Reina Sofia National Arts Centre. (CARS).
He is still working on his drawings. He attends the World Peace Committee in Berlin, again visiting his friend Josep Renau. He carries on working on the series of drawings he started in Caracas.
Along with the Spanish artists Antonio Saura, Rafael Canogar, Guinovart and the art critic José Maria Moreno Galvan and his wife Carola Torres, Genoves attends the First Latin-American meeting of art critics and artists which takes place in Caracas at the same time as the exhibition; “Latin American Art Today”. He takes part in discussions with Latin-American artists. He makes a drawing to raise money for a group of artists and begins what will be a long period of working on paper. In Spain he paints the poster “With the Constitution”
He joins the Graphics Collective of the Spanish Communist Party to take charge of the election propaganda for Spain’s first democratic elections. The magazine “Reseña,” awards Juan the prize for being the most representative artist of 1977 for his poster “El Abrazo”.
He is arrested and kept in the General Security Headquarters in solitary confinement for seven days for having painted the poster, “El Abrazo” (the embrace), commissioned by the Democratic Committee. They are still working underground, demanding amnesty for the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Various artists lock themselves in the Prado to protest the arrest of Genovés and Muyor. Genovés’ poster “El Abrazo” will become a symbol for the long awaited democracy. Juan travels to Switzerland and Germany and in the Colmar Museum he is deeply impressed by the work of Grúnewald. He takes part in the polemical exhibition “The artistic avant-guard and social reality”.
Franco dies on the 20th November although the regime is still in power. As a consequence of this, Genovés abandons the series with the white backgrounds. Along with Angel Aragonés, A. Alcaín, Duarte and a local team of painters Juan paints the Portugalete Murals in Bilbao.
When they hear rumours of Franco’s serious illness Juan and his family return to Madrid. He starts a series of paintings of figures against a white background from drawings carried out while in London. He has an itinerant exhibition of his graphic work called “Silence, silence..” and “The time and the place” in New York, Caracas etc…
Juan moves with his family to London. He attends the World Peace Congress in Moscow as a member of the Spanish delegation along with Saura, Bardem and Fernando Arrabal. In Reggio Emilia, in Italy he takes part in a collective show in homage to Alberti, “Per Alberti per la Spagna”. He has a solo show in Madrid. It has been a long time since he has shown in Madrid. He also has a show in the Val I Trenta Gallery in Valencia. This is a somewhat smaller exhibition than intended as the original one, which was to have been shown at the Valencia School of Architects has been banned.
Juan works on a series of black paintings, which are inspired by the grey of cinema films. He takes part in the organization of the show “Amnistia que trata de España” (An amnesty that deals with Spain), which takes place in Milan in which artists donate works of art to raise funds for the anti-Franco struggle.
He has a solo show in Germany: in the Kunsterverein in Frankfurt and in the Haus am Waldsee in Berlin, where he visits Josep Renau who is living in exile there. This meeting will influence his work and the two men become great friends until the death of Renau in 1983.
Juan works on a series of monotypes. This will serve as the preparatory work for a series of ideogrammatic paintings where he substitutes literary titles for graphic signs or ideograms. These paintings are not understood and Juan chooses to give these paintings numbers instead of titles. He is still involved in the political struggle and is painting murals on walls.
His daughter Ana is born. The film “A Test of Violence” containing images of his work wins the Gold Medal at the Moscow International Film Festival, the Silver Medal at the Venice Film Festival and the Bronze statue at the Cork Festival. Juan works on two portfolios of work on paper titled “Silence silence…” which will be published by Marlborough Gallery Graphics and presented the following year in London and New York. In these works on paper he will work only in black and white to highlight the geometric qualities of the composition creating a dichotomy between abstraction and figurative painting. Genovés becomes friends with the poet Rafael Albertí and his wife Maria Teresa de Leon and they exchange a painting “Crowd of priests running” and a poem “Genoves´ 69”. Juan will meet Giulio Carlo Argan, Palma Bucarelli, Renato Gutosso and the group of “Arte Povera” He will never again take part in any art competition.
He secretly forms the A.S.A.P (Association of Artists) with other painters. He is one of eighty artists who lock themselves in the Prado Museum, to denounce the arrest of the art critic Moreno Galván. He is arrested and released after a few hours, He takes part in London and Madrid in the making of the film ” A Test of Violence” directed by Stuart Cooper and based on images of his paintings. The Boymans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam buys two of his paintings for their collection. He receives the Marzotto Painting Prize in Italy.
He attends the Convegno Internazionale Artisti, Critici e Estudiosiu d’Arte (The International Convention of Artists, Art Critics and Students of Art) in Rimini, Italy. He is selected for the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, U.S.A. He has his first show in London where he strikes up a friendship with Francis Bacon. He also shows in New York where he meets Duchamp and Rothko. He is awarded the Gold Medal in the VI San Marino International Biennial and the Gold Medal in the IV Pittsburgh International Biennial in the U.S.A.
The group “Equipo Realidad” (Reality Team) is formed in Valencia. Juan signs a contract with the Marlborough Gallery giving them the exclusive rights of his painting which is still valid to this day. He receives a honourable mention at the XXXIII Venice Biennial.
He returns to his painting, but now his painting has changed dramatically being influenced by “political realism”. Disappointed in the art world he has decided to change his approach to painting. He now works in one of two ways either “man alone” or “crowd”. Juan has a solo show, which is key in his artistic career, in the gallery of the Fine Arts Board in Madrid, now housing the National Library. He is beginning to be a thorn in the side of the Franco regime. He paints a series of gouaches. He travels to Brazil where he makes contact with a new art dealer.
At this time the “Equipo Cronica” is formed in Valencia. Juan takes part in the World Fair in New York with his jewellery collection from the previous year. It is presented as new Spanish craftwork, and also with paintings from the last “Grupo Hondo” show. He carries on with the political struggle.
The “Grupo Hondo” has its second show. The painter José Vento and the sculptor Carlos Sansegundo join the group. The exhibition is organised by the Friends of Art Society in the Madrid National Library’s gallery. At the end of the year the group breaks up and this leads to a profound crisis for Genovés who even considers giving up painting. He won’t paint for a year. To make ends meet he designs a silver jewellery collection, which he makes with his own hands. Feeling disappointed in the art world he decides to take a decisive role in the resistance to the Franco regime and joins the active workers’ movements of the time. He makes contact with the Brazilian gallery owner Ceres Franco.
Juan takes part individually in the XXXI Venice Biennial as the Spanish curator would not take the “Grupo Hondo” as a whole.
His daughter Silvia is born. The “Grupo Hondo”, following the informalist trend of the times proposes a new type of figurative painting and show for the first time at the Neblí gallery in Madrid. Juan meets the painter Fernando Botero.
A group called “Estampa Popular” is started up and although Juan is often included he never collaborates with them. He moves his home and his studio to Aravaca close to where his friend Mompó lives. He co-founds the group “Hondo” (1960-1963) along with the painters Mignoni, Jardiel and Gastón Orellana. He has his second solo show in Madrid at the Ateneo (Arts and Sciences Association). The San Jorge Gallery of Madrid, run by Fernando Guereta buys the entire show.
His son Pablo is born. He learns to drive. He gets to know and becomes friends with the art critic José M. Moreno Galván and with a group of painters who are showing in the Madrid Ateneo (Arts and Sciences association).
Juan moves to Madrid to 36 Altamirano Street keeping his studio in Luna Street. He and his wife travel to Paris where they meet José Bergamin and then they go on to Holland and to Belgium to see the “Expo 58”. They make friends with José Guinovart and Maria Antonia Pelauzy and they keep up a relationship with the members of “Equipo 57” both in Paris and in Madrid. Juan is reading Ortega y Gasset, Unamuno and Pio Baroja at this time. He has his first show abroad in Puerto Rico.
The “Grupo Parapallo” in Valencia, the “Grupo Paso” in Madrid and the group “Equipo 57” in Cordoba are forerunners on the Spanish art scene. Juan marries Adela Parrondo. He becomes interested in physics and the theory of light, Einstein and the theory of relativity. He starts to read American literature. A milestone in his career is his first solo show at the Alfil Gallery in Madrid where he garners favourable reviews and has great success selling all the paintings. This means that he can start to make his way in the art world showing both paintings and ceramics.
He lives between Valencia and Madrid carrying out various activities to make ends meet in a repressed and very limited cultural environment. He decorates ceramics in Valencia with the potter Alarcón. Genovés takes part in his first group show of painting and ceramics in the Alfil Gallery in Madrid with the painter Angel Duarte. He shows at the II Autumn Salon in Valencia. From October 1956 – May 1959 he belongs to the Grupo Parpalló (1956-1961). Their first meetings take place in the Latin-American Institute organised by Adrian Sancho.
To make a living he takes a job window dressing at the Sol Silk shop in the centre of Madrid, painting the mannequins and doing whatever else needs doing. He also designs alphabets for printers as a graphic designer. He makes his first trip to Paris with the painters Angel Duarte and Myrna Báez. He is deeply impressed by Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh and also by the Egyptian Art he sees there. He reads Camus, Sartre and James Joyce’s Ulysses. Here he strikes up what will be a very significant friendship with the art critic Vicente Aguilera Cerni. He is awarded the first prize in the XV Salon at the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Association) in Madrid and the first prize in the Casa de America’s (The American Centre) art prize, themed “North America as seen by Spanish painters”. He also wins the Silver Medal in the IV Alicante National Painting Competition.
For six months he carries out his military service as Sergeant in the Loyola Barracks in San Sebastian. He feels at home in the Guipúzcoa region (Part of the Basque country) and he will always love this part of Spain. Back in Madrid Juan rents a studio at 11 Luna Street. Here he paints gigantic posters for the cinemas in Madrid, which were then hand painted. He becomes friends with the painters Antonio Casas. Alfredo Mañas and Paloma Lorena, as well as with the Madrid Radio actors Juana de Ginzo and Teresa Bergamín. He is awarded the Silver Medal for the III Alicante National Painting Prize.
Genovés along with Adela Parrondo, Angel Duarte and Julio Alvarez organise the I Open Air Spring Show in the Retiro Park in Madrid. These exhibitions will run for twenty-five years and he will show in four of them. Once again over the summer months he must do his second round of military service in Ronda, Malaga. He takes part in the II biennial of Spanish American Art in Havana in Cuba. Angela Ballester joins the group Los Siete and Vicente Fillol leaves, to go to Paris. Juan is awarded the First Prize in Painting in the National Youth Show in Madrid.
In the summer he starts his military service in Ronda, Malaga. He moves to Madrid to fulfil the conditions of the maintenance allowance which means he must live away from Valencia. In Madrid he rents a studio in the Beire Street along with the painters Angel Duarte and Julio Alvarez. He attends the conference given by Dalí in the Maria Guerrero Theatre titled “Picasso is a Communist just like I’m not”. He is still keeping up his work with Los Siete, now exhibiting in the Sala Braulio. They are now organising exhibitions, concerts, and poetry recitals among other cultural activities. He wins the First prize at the SEU University Show at the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Association) in Madrid. The prize is 3000 Pesetas which gives him enough to buy food and art materials.
He wins the maintenance allowance from the Valencia Town Council. He begins to hate competing in art. He is awarded the Landscape grant by El Paular to go to classes in the summer held in the El Paular Monastery and at the painters’ residence in Segovia. Here he meets the woman who will become his wife: the painter Adela Parrondo. He continues to show with Los Siete and to organise the discussions at the Café de la Lonja opposite the main market in Valencia. For a month he travels around Andalusia drawing and working hard. He now lives between Madrid and Valencia.
His first study trip: Madrid, Toledo, Valladolid, Burgos, León…. In Madrid Juan visits the Prado Museum where he is impressed by Fra Angelico, Mantegna and Hieronymus Bosch. He is doing illustrations for the Valencian newspaper “Las Provincias” (The Provinces”). He has his first group show with Los Siete in his uncle Vicente Genovés Cubells’ furniture shop at 38 Colon Street. It is an important event in the Valencian art world at the time. From then on the group organises shows every two months around collective work sessions concerning a specified subject. The invitations are hand painted and given away. Genovés is awarded the Gold medal at the Valencia University Art show and wins the First National Prize for painting at the SEU University Art in Madrid.
Franciso Candel sends him the two catalogues of the I and II Salones de Octubre (October Salons) held in Barcelona. He founds the group “El Siete” with his friends from art school and they rent a studio in the Quart Street. To begin with they don’t show they just organise “tertulias” (intellectual gatherings) and meetings. Here they discuss such subjects as abstract art. Juan defends figurative painting. He sells his first painting “Paisaje de Santo Domingo” (The Santo Domingo countryside) to José Carles who gives him the book “Theories” by Maurice Denis. From this moment on he develops an interest and preference for the writing of painters.
He becomes friends with a group of students who spurn academic studies and are eager to discuss and learn about the new trends from abroad. In the future these restless youths will form a group called “Los Siete” (The Seven). They start up an anti academic trend and turn their back on the work set by the school, preferring a more profound approach to study. Behind the slogan “entorna la vista” (Look inwards) they argue that “painting has to be seen with wide open eyes”, a type of neosorollismo. Juan starts to paint the countryside and the streets. He spends the summer holidays in Barcelona in his uncle’s house where his cousin Francisco Candel lives. Here he discovers Romanesque art and the first period of Picasso’s art. He travels to the Catalan Pyrennees and fills a sketchbook, which he will later turn into etchings.
He can continue studying thanks to his brother Eduardo who goes out to work so that he can carry on at art school. He fails the most important subject; painting, mainly due to the fact that he has never previously used oil paints. He also uses paint very sparingly as he can hardly afford to buy it. In September he passes. He campaigns against the teachers who support Franco and rallies his non-conformist student friends to demonstrate.
He starts his studies at the San Carlos art school where he is the youngest on the course. He sells his first work of art for 90 pesetas. It is a miniature to stick on boxes of chocolates. He will continue painting miniatures to help his family with money after the failure of the coal business.
He starts drawing on the walls in charcoal. He draws “the coyote,” a popular comic book character. He meets the painter Verchili who looks over his paintings and encourages him to keep on painting. He starts preparing to enter the San Carlos art school by going to night classes with Don Santiago who is preparing him for the theoretical exam. For the drawing exam he paints with the teacher trainers at the art school. Among those students are Eusebio Sempere and Custodio Marco who give him the nickname “El Xiquet”, the kid.
He starts to go to the technical college to study drawing in the artistic metalwork department where he copies engravings and plaster statues. He starts to learn the trade of engraver. He gets to know his cousin Francisco Candell who will become a writer and they start up a friendship, which will last all their lives. They paint watercolours together in the orchards and around Valencia.
He must leave school to help in the family coal-yard, which his father has opened in Doctor Sumsi Street. In the evenings he attends Don Santiago’s night classes.
He starts to help his father to paint children’s furniture in his uncle Vicente’s workshop. This is his introduction to paint, enamel, turpentine, brushes and stencils.
The family move again, this time to the maritime area, to 13 Vicente Sancho Tello Street. He changes schools. Here he starts to draw. He still remembers the republican teacher Don Santiago who encouraged him to develop his talent. He is still a great football fan. He hates getting dirty. He must look for charcoal and he goes hungry in spite of the ration books.
Juan strikes up a great friendship with his cousin Ramon a militant anarchist who takes shelter in their home and who recounts stirring stories of war and solidarity. He speaks to him of the importance of culture for the workers. Juan becomes a great reader and reads anything he can get his hands on. He doesn’t believe what the priests at school tell him.
The Republican defeat affects the family and Juan personally. He is severely traumatised. He must start a new school and he is no longer allowed to speak Valencian. He must accept a new society where there is a strong military presence, with priests seemingly everywhere and the oppressive atmosphere of fear and silence. Books and magazines are burned in the patio of their home.
Juan has his first taste of social protest at school when the children chant “men to war” at the only male teacher. The children feel satisfied with their collective strength when the man leaves the school. Genovés’ parents decide to send Juan and Eduardo to the U.S.S.R. but at the last moment they turn back from the station and flee from the war and it’s terrible consequences. They move to Villar del Arzobispo, a Valencian village inland where they find food and tranquillity. Juan’s sister Palmira is born.
Juan Genovés starts at “La Pasionaria” primary school. (La pasionaria was the name given to Dolores Ibarurri, as she was such a passionate defender of communism and the Republic). The teachers take the children to the Rialto cinema to watch Eisenstein films and Stalinist cinema.
During the first days of the Spanish Civil War Juan sees things that will stay with him all his life: bombings, the firing squad, people against the walls, missiles whistling overhead, empty streets, silence, darkness, corpses and injured people lying in the streets. His home is caught in the crossfire between the uprising in the barracks and the republicans in the football stadium. His family take shelter under mattresses on the floor. In his house they have an electric radio and the locals go round to hear the news. Valencia is still on the Republican side.
The family move to the paternal grandparents house at nº 1 General Pando Street in the Barrio Obrero”, (the working class district) which no longer exists, again, close to the football stadium. Juan Genovés’ grandfather, Vicente, a sawyer by trade was a left wing progressive, and as a young man had been friends with Pablo Iglesias, another comrade in the political struggles with Josep Renau. His opinions influenced his young grandson with whom he was very close.
Juan takes a strong dislike to hairdressers after his father takes him to get his long blonde hair cut and he is mistaken for a girl.
Juan’s brother Eduardo is born. The family continue to have monetary problems. The right wing is starting to gain support and there is tension among the workers. Juan Genovés sitting on his father’s shoulders and watching the crowds in the streets.
The Mestalla football stadium was close to Micer Mascó Street. Juan Genovés was to become an ardent football fan. When the Republic was declared Juan’s father was delighted while his mother was horrified.
Juan Genovés is born in Valencia on the 31st of May at nº 17 Finlandia Street in the neighbourhood of the Great Exhibition. He was, however registered in the family book (book all Spanish families are given when a couple marry to register births and deaths) as being born on the 1st of June and was often congratulated on the 30th of May. His parents were Juan Genovés Cubells an artisan metal engraver and painter decorator of furniture. His mother was Maria Candel Muñoz. His father came from a family with strong ties to the progressive left wing and the woodworkers’ trade union. His mother’s family were practising Catholics. The atmosphere in the home was cultural and artistic. This same year the family moved to Micer Mascó Street in the same district.