Ángeles Ortiz, Manuel

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Manuel Ángeles Ortiz

Jaen, 1895

Paris, 1984


He spent his adolescent years in Granada, where he befriended González de la Serna and García Lorca and attended painting classes with Rodríguez Acosta and López Mezquita. In 1912, he settled in Madrid to further his studies at Cecilio Pla’s atelier and participated in the cultural life of the capital. In 1915, he had his first exhibition, along with Ramón Carazo, at the Artistic and Literary Center in Granada. His early work reveals the influence of Zuloaga and Romero de Torres. 

In 1920, during his first trip to the French capital, he met Picasso through Manuel de Falla. Like other Spanish painters from the School of Paris, he expressed in his work a synthesis of fashionable trends in interwar Paris. He was a graphic contributor to the magazines La Gaceta Literaria, Gallo and Martín Fierro, and illustrated several literary journals. He also made sets and designs for ballets such as El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show) by Manuel de Falla, in collaboration with Hernando Viñes and Hermenegildo Lanz; Geneviève Brabant by Sati; and Aubade by Poulenc.In 1926, he had his first solo exhibition at Galerie Quatre Chemins. 

He was close to Parisian aristocracy and spent time on the Côte d’Azur, where he painted society portraits. In 1932, in the midst of a personal crisis, he returned to Madrid. During those years, he collaborated with La Barraca, showed a few surrealist pieces and joined the Constructive Art group. In 1935, he left for Barcelona, to assume a drawing professorship. There, he met Torres-García, with whom he designed an avant-garde art center in Madrid that was frustrated by the Spanish Civil War, which caught him by surprise while in the nation’s capital. He was one of the founders of the Antifascist Intellectuals Alliance for the Defense of Culture. Back in Barcelona, he designed posters, drew an allegory of the murder of García Lorca, made lithographs for the poetry book Guerra viva (Live War) by Herrera Petere, and participated with Fugitivos in the Republican pavilion at the International Exposition held in París in 1937. 

After the war, he was imprisoned in Saint-Cyprien concentration camp, from which he was released thanks to Picasso. He then went to Paris, and later sailed to Buenos Aires. During his years of exile in Argentina, between 1940 and 1949, he reunited with Falla and Torres-García. His production during those years is dominated by landscapes. In addition, he made a few sculptures and lithographs for the book Patagonie (1942) by Roger Caillois. 

Back in Paris, he resumed contact with Picasso and Éluard. His work during the 1950s and 1960s inclined toward his more lyrical side, revisiting elements of his memories of Granada. Later, several tributes were organized for him in Spain, as well as exhibitions of his work. In 1981, he was presented with the National Visual Arts Award. 

Noemi de Haro