Viola, Manuel


Manuel Viola

Zaragoza, 1916

El Escorial, Madrid, 1987


Viola began his career as a poet connected to the surrealist circles in Barcelona, where he also made Ernst-style collages. His political commitment led him to become a Brigade political commissar, tied to the POUM, during the Spanish Civil War. 

At the end of the war, he went into exile in France, where he enlisted in the Foreign Legion and joined the Resistance, in addition to taking part in the clandestine market for works of art.  He set out on his pictorial path in Normandy, just before the end of the war.  He returned to Paris and had an exhibition in the Salon des Surindépendants, achieving success with a figurative style and strong colors, similar to De Kooning’s Expressionism.  

His exile ended in 1949, a time when his painting was characterized by an informalist quality, associated with the “veta brava” (wild streak) style in which his interest in light and shadow stands out.In 1958, he joined the El Paso group, with a recognizable style that earned him international fame:a very materialist abstract expressionism, based on chiaroscuro elements. At the end of the sixties and in the seventies, his work was enriched by ceramic and scenographic murals, without ever abandoning painting. 

Iván López Munuera