Benjamín Palencia (Barrax, Albacete, 1894 – Madrid, 1980) began his career in contact with Noucentista movement and the painting of Torres García and Barradas. In 1916 he met the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, who introduced him to writers and artists associated with the Generation of 1898, including painter Ignacio Zuloaga. In 1926 he collaborated with Rafael Albertí on the set design for his work of musical theatre La pájara pinta [The Game of Forfeits] and was also the artistic director of Federico García Lorca’s itinerant university theater group La Barraca.
In 1925, after his first exhibition, he traveled to Paris with Pancho Cossío and Francisco Bores. At this time he became interested in Surrealism and abstraction. Upon his return to Spain in 1928 he began a period creating still lifes, nudes, and landscapes in the style of Miró, to which he applied soil and ash. He collaborated with the magazine Cruz y Raya [Cross and Line], was one of the founders of the Vallecas School of painting together with Alberto Sánchez, and joined the group Arte Constructivo. He participated in the 1936 Venice Biennale with great success.
After the Spanish Civil War, he reestablished the Vallecas School, which in its second iteration became the basis for the Joven Escuela Madrileña [Young Madrid School]. In his later years he painted desolate views of barren landscapes with earthly colors and drew quill pen portraits of children and laborers.