Vázquez Díaz, Daniel

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Daniel Vázquez Díaz

Nerva, Huelva, 1882

Madrid, 1969


Fascinated since he was a child by the painting of Zurbarán, Ribera and El Greco, Daniel Vázquez Díaz alternated his business studies with night drawing classes at the Ateneo de Sevilla. There he met Zuloaga, a figure who would be prove to be decisive in his work.In 1903, he moved to Madrid, where he was rejected by the San Fernando School of Fine Arts. He participated in “tertulias” (discussions) such as the Baroja “tertulias” and contributed for the first time to illustrated magazines. In 1906, after receiving an honorable mention in the National Exhibition, he moved to Paris, where he lived until 1918.There, the influences began to be reflected in his painting: Impressionist, post-Impressionist, Cézanne, Nabis… He came into contact with ultraism, established a friendship with Picasso, Vollard, Modigliani, Rubén Darío and Amadeo Nervo, among others, and exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendants and Salon d’Automne.   At the end of 1914, World War I began. After traveling to the front lines, he made a series of drawings and etchings denouncing the horrors of the war. Upon his return to Spain, he focused on bullfighting subjects, landscapes and portraits. He also painted a Symbolist-like composition characterized by wide strokes reminiscent of Zuloaga, but with cold and bright colors, rich in blues and ochres.  His painting evolved toward the so-called “”cubismo atemporado”” (tempered Cubism), the fruit not so much of the Parisian influence as the Vibrationism of Barradas, due to the acidic use of color in many facets.In 1922, he began a new phase on a trip to Portugal, in which his characteristic synthesis of Cubist forms and soothing colors is clear. In 1925, he signed the manifesto of the Iberian Artists Society.Between 1927 and 1930, he painted a series of frescoes in La Rábida monastery, the Poema del Descubrimiento (Poem of the Discovery), associated later with Francoist aesthetics but which at the time represented the union of Latin American muralist aspirations and the Novecento Italiano aesthetic.  

After the Spanish Civil War, Vázquez Díaz became a primary reference for younger generations.Recognition of his contribution was solidified in the fifties and sixties, yet after his death, and mainly for political reasons, he was relegated to obscurity until only recently. 

Iván López Munuera