After abandoning his industrial engineering studies (the reason he moved to Madrid in 1931), José Caballero decides to devote his life to painting. His fellow countryman, Vázquez Díaz, is his first pictorial influence, introducing him to the developments of Cubism, reflected in Cabellero’s work through painting based on color planes.
Caballero studies at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid and spends time at the Students’ Residence. His friendship with Federico García Lorca and other members of the Generation of ’27 leads him down the path of Surrealism. Under Breton’s influence, he makes decorations for La Barraca, a company with which he has collaborated since 1934.Yet the most important work from this period, which continues into the mid-fifties, consists of his pen drawings.In the manner of Dali’s critic
After the Civil War, he temporarily stops painting. When he takes it back up, he leaves his surrealistic style behind and, in the early fifties, adopts a stripped down style in a continuous evolution toward abstraction, which he will continue to develop until his death. A measure of his success is his participation in the VII Salón de los Once and the XXV Venice Biennale, as well as the solo exhibition devoted to him in Galería Clan.In the seventies, figurative-based expressionism gives way to an informal abstraction supported by two thematic pillars – the wall and the death of the bull – in compositions where the circle recurs as a sign.Material and graphic elements remain at the center of his work until his death.
Iván López Munuera