Eduardo Chillida 1924 - 2002
Eduardo Chillida was born on January 10th 1924, in the countryside of the Basque region in Spain. He undertook studies in architecture in 1943, but soon dropped out. Then, in 1947, he enrolled in a private art academy in Madrid, "Circulo de Bellas Artes". It was here that he began to sculpt, working with gypsum and clay.
'The hand has the richest articulation of space.'
Chillida’s early sculptures were received well by critics. Showing artistic promise, he took a trip to Paris. There, in 1949, he began working on iron sculptures. After returning from Paris, Chillida settled in the Spanish town of Hernani, where he concentrated on abstract sculpture. In these works, the space created by the sculptures was the focus; adopting fluid and geometric shapes. During the following years, he further explored the possibilities and limitations created by space.
'Art is that which comes to a man, and stands between himself and an implacable witness: the work.'
Eduardo Chillida had become a renowned sculptor and graphic artist in his own lifetime. His works were presented at several exhibitions and Biennales internationally. At the height of his career, in 1958, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, which was followed by other awards, including the Kandinsky prize. Later, in 1980 the New York Guggenheim Museum showed a retrospective of his works which confirmed his place in the story of Modern Art.
Chillida (above) working on the lithograph stone for the collection we have for sale, and (below), the stones prepared for printing.
"In my work, I have never had any use for anything that I have known in advance."
In the last few years of his career, Chillida returned to his hometown, San Sebastián. He died there in August 2002, having made his name as one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, producing monumental objects in a concrete style and exploring many materials.
"Once I dreamt of a utopia, of a place where my sculptures could rest, so that people could walk among them as though in a forest."
Chillida's dream has all but come a reality in the development of the Chillida-Leku Museum, based at the sculptor's home and surrounding gardens in Hernani. It is a unique museum, and itself a great work of art. Nature and art naturally come together in the space. The sculptures are integrated into the landscape as though they had always been part of it. In the garden, beech, oak and magnolia trees live alongside the monumental steel and granite sculptures, situated in a perfect dialogue with their surroundings.