Eduardo Chillida (San Sebastián, 1924 – 2002) moved to Madrid in 1943 to study architecture, but he abandoned his studies three years later to dedicate himself to sculpture. In Paris, from 1948 to 1949, he began to work on his first plaster compositions. His early period exhibits the influence of Greek archaic sculpture and Henry Moore.
After several years living in Villaines-sous-Bois (Val d’Oise), where he coincided with Pablo Palazuelo, he established himself in Hernani. There, he began to work with iron and produced his first abstract sculpture with said material, Illarik, which was cast at Manuel Illarramendi’s foundry. In the 1950s his work became well known throughout Europe and the United States by means of numerous exhibitions and awards.
He began to work with wood, iron, and, after a trip to Greece in the 1960s, with alabaster. He also worked with concrete, aided by engineer José Antonio Fernández Ordóñez; with ceramic, assisted by Joan Artigas; and terracotta, with Hans Spinner. One of Chillida’s key artistic contributions was his innovative manner of integrating public sculpture into it surrounding landscape. The Chillida Leku Museum in Hernani, created in the year 2000 and re-launched in 2019, preserves his legacy.