Spanish master artist Alvar returns to valley
If You Go
What: The great Spanish master Alvar hosts show
Where: Masters Gallery, Vail.
When: 2-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Masters Gallery in Vail.
Information: Go to mastersgalleryvail.com, or call 970-477-0600
VAIL — Alvar may look back, but not because he wants to go back or because something or someone is gaining on him.
The artist is keeping his eye on his place in the world, and how his work depicts that place.
These days, it’s a peaceful place.
He said the lithographs he created in the late 1960s and early 1970s express an inner struggle he has not experienced since.
“In maturity one acquires a sense of calm,” Alvar said.
Back in the valley
Alvar has been in the valley several times. He has returned for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships for exhibitions in the C. Anthony Gallery in Beaver Creek and Masters Gallery in Vail.
“Alvar has a long time presence in Colorado, exhibiting in numerous galleries in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen and Denver where he has a large collector base,” Alvar said through his interpreter Bob Harris.
He has been in the American market for 40 years. Vail and Denver is one of his oldest and most beloved areas, Harris said. His last exhibit in Vail was four years ago.
Life and work
Alvar’s life and work have seen him as one of the youngest artists to be hung with the great Spanish masters to a Paris gallery in 1976 and an exhibition with Picasso to a 50-year retrospective in 2014 at the Cultural Center in Girona, Spain.
Two American museums made Alvar’s biblically based work their centerpiece, the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas and Liberty University’s museum in Lynchburg, Virginia. Alvar was the first international artist invited to exhibit in Liberty’s museum.
His collectors have encouraged him to expand, and so he has, by taking a look back to honor both the giants of history and biblical characters.
“Alvar is an intellectual artist. Everything he does and everything in it has a symbol. He pays honor to great artists of the past,” Harris said. “That resonates well with people. He stays true to that symbolism.”
His oils might have a painting on a wall. A closer look will reveal it as a Vermeer.
There may be a bookshelf along another wall, and the book by an author he admires will be there.
It may be a loaf of bread and glass of wine, representing nourishment.
Or maybe a clock on the wall reminding us that we must use our time wisely because it’s gone forever.
When a drawer is open, what’s in it is revealed. When it’s closed, it remains one of life’s mysteries.
In recent years, he slyly dropped a Coca-Cola and an Apple iPad into some of his work.
“Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. iPad represents modern technology today,” Harris said. “They both represent that we live in a smaller world today and we have to get along.”
Art reflects life
Good art, says Alvar, speaks to the world but reflects the artist’s origins.
Alvar Sunol Munoz-Ramos was born in the Catalan coastal village of Montgat near Barcelona in 1935. He started painting oils at age 12, and while he was still in his teens, one of his paintings was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona for its permanent collection. His first one-man show followed in 1957, before he finished art school.
He has mastered lithography, oil painting, watercolor, gouache, drawing, engraving as well as sculpture.
“To make a lithograph you have to think about the possibilities that it offers technically. You must appropriate its possibilities and then express them, creating a subject or a composition in relation to what the lithograph can do,” Alvar said.
Alvar has distinguished himself from other artists of his time most clearly in lithography.
Both artist and artisan, Alvar works directly on the zinc plate when creating his images, simultaneously employing his imagination, his artistic skills and his knowledge of the mechanical process.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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