Nobody can assure that, as it seems, behind his most famous sculpture, Great Prophet (1933), a message or a premonition of the wars that were looming is hidden. Pablo Gargallo (Maella, Zaragoza, 1881-Reus, 1934) died the year after finishing it without being able to see it cast in bronze and he did not write, let it be known, about the meaning of this fundamental piece in twentieth-century sculpture, in which He combined his mastery when it came to sculpting the emptiness with the classicism that marked his formation. In the retrospective exhibition that until January 28 can be seen in La Pedrera, which houses the Caixa Catalunya Foundation’s hall in Barcelona, the irate prophet appears next to three drawings from 1904 that show that the artist’s interest in The issue was not circumstantial, the result of history, but formal, and it came from far away.
It is something that is happening to Gargallo throughout his career. The themes are repeated -women combing or recumbent, harlequins, dancers, picadors, women’s heads-, but the way they are confronted gives an account of their extraordinary artistic adventure, which led them from their modernist beginnings to maximum formal experimentation, maintaining always the interest for the human figure. The exhibition, which will then come to Zaragoza, wants to emphasize this constant coexistence of classicism and experimentation.
Rafael Ordóñez Fernández, director of the Gargallo Museum in Zaragoza, was already the curator of the retrospective that in 2004 could be seen in the IVAM, but in Barcelona, the city in which Gargallo studied and triumphed, he has respected the chronological order and made a strict selection of his best pieces. Altogether, there are 78 sculptures, 16 drawings and 11 cartons with which he made the templates for the pieces with metal plates. Among them are emblematic pieces, such as several versions of the Dancer (1930), two faces, stylized to the fullest, Greta Garbo (one of them was owned by the diva) and the famous heads of his friend Picasso. Pierrette Gargallo indicated that it is planned to open a room dedicated to his father in the Reina Sofía, for which he has authorized the casting, out of market, of 15 of his great sculptures that will be added to the nine of the museum.