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Lot 34 - Celso Lagar (Ciudad Rodrigo, 1891 - Sevilla, 1966) - Oil on canvas. Signed. On the [...]

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Celso Lagar (Ciudad Rodrigo, 1891 - Sevilla, 1966)
Oil on canvas. Signed. On the back it is signed and dated 1917.
100 x 73 cm.

Provenance: Private european collection. Acquired in 1944.

In 1911, Lagar went to Paris for the first time.
In these years he struck up a friendship with Modigliani, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, Derain, Leger and with the art dealers Paul Guillaume and Zborowski.
In other words, Lagar was immersed in the avant-garde.
As explained by Dr. Isabel García García in “Orígenes de las vanguardias artísticas en Madrid (1909 – 1922) (Origins of the avant-garde in Madrid).
Vol. II, March 1998, in chapter VI “EL PRIMER “ISMO” ESPAÑOL: EL PLANISMO DE CELSO LAGAR” (The first Spanish “ismo” Celso Lagar´s planism), page 378: Lagar´s “planismo” was conceived at the very beginning of the first avant-garde artistic movements which took place in Paris from 1911 to 1915.

At the end of 1914, Lagar returned to Barcelona, and it was then that in Girona Noucentisme was at its height.

An article was published in “Vell i nou” in the 1/9/1916 edition about the Lagar exhibition in the Laietanas Gallery in Barcelona, which says: “Lagar is one of the most valuable fauves in Spain, he is teaching a true lesson in energy and renewal to many of our artists, who still close their eyes with fear when they have to throw themselves into the deep end.”
At the end of 1916 he left Barcelona and moved to Madrid in 1917.

Some of his paintings from 1916 anticipate, in our opinion, the arrival of the painting we present in this auction:
- “Natura morta” (1915 – 1916) an oil painting on canvas from the Kalman collection of a still life in which Lagar takes his first steps in the influence of light on form.
- Two drawings of female nudes, published in 1916 in the “Revista Nova” magazine in Barcelona, the first is of a woman who is standing, with her head slightly to one side, highly influenced by Modigliani and the second is a woman lying down, with her facial features even more simplified.
- “Jugadors d’hostal” (Players at a hostal) painted at the end of 1916, has two important parallels with our painting, which is dated very soon afterwards. In the words of Dr. Isabel García (op.cit) and comparing the picture with Cézanne´s famous oils “The Card Players”: “Lagar, also, tries to place the card players in natural surroundings, represented by a window which opens towards the viewer and by the numerous objects on the table such as a glass or a bottle… There are also various drawings along the same lines in which Lagar attempts to reflect the balanced harmony between man and nature.”
Our magnificent picture shows what Dr. Isabel García summarises perfectly, speaking of Lagar: “Once again, his compositions show the fauvism and the primitivism which form the basic elements of his planismo”.

To conclude, there is nothing better than the words of the artist himself, published in the Girona magazine “Cultura” in February 2015, where, in response to Eugeni d’Ors, Lagar says:
“…The volume that exists between an object which is in the foreground and the background – this series of volumes that I call interiors – is the compenetration of the atmosphere and a flat surface. Feeling is an indispensible condition in Painting, as well as in the other Fine Arts, but this feeling disappears the moment the “refined master” communicates his “façon de ver” dans l’esprit de l’ homme innocent (sic).”

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