During his childhood in Granada, Ismael González de la Serna (Guadix, Granada, 1898 – Paris, 1968) was friends with Federico García Lorca and Manuel Ángeles Ortiz. At the age of 16, he settled in Madrid. The exhibition Grandes pintores impresionistas franceses [Great French Impressionist Painters] at the Museo de Arte Moderno influenced him deeply. In 1921 he traveled to Paris where he met Picasso, Tériade, Christian Zervos, and Jean Cassou, who was his greatest supporter. At this time, his painting adopted the aesthetic of Post-Cubism and also included classical references and Surrealist echoes.
During the Spanish Civil War, González de la Serna accentuated his expressionist bent, redolent of the Germanic tradition. His work began to shed the influence of Cubism and alternated through different phases influenced by Surrealism, Expressionism and abstraction. At the same time he began to accentuate technical concerns in detriment to the subject. His still lifes, landscapes, and figures reflect a grotesque and expressionist vision of a tragic Spain. In 1937 his work was included in the Spanish Republic’s Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair.
After the war, he seldom appeared on the art scene. Following his experiments with abstraction he returned to Naturalism along with a neoclassical style that would be enriched by different avant-garde elements.