Estudio, catalogación y documentación de la obra de Javier Calvo

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This Doctoral Thesis presents an analytical study of the work of Javier Calvo Maiques (Valencia, 1941). Based on two basic objectives, we first address the contextualisation of the trajectory of the artist and, second, the cataloging and analysis of his works. For which are documented about 1500 pieces between drawings and paintings. All this supported by an extensive documentary base of books, catalogs, magazines and press articles that help to trace the different itineraries through which the creative process takes place. We analyze from its beginnings in the School of Fine Arts of San Carlos of Valencia, where its pictorial plurality attends to a still undefined language. Afterwards, he underwent complementary training in Paris, which, together with the contacts with the powerful Valencian avant-garde groups, especially with regard to formal research, will propitiate the path of plastic purity towards geometric abstraction. After this very important constructivist period, the duality between gestural and material neofiguration and the geometric and linear neofiguration will mark his artistic trajectory, which, along with a constant chromatic inquiry, has earned him the qualification of a virtuoso painter in color and geometry. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, exactly in the early sixties, and until the first decades of the 21st century, the Valencian painter Javier Calvo Maiques has developed an incessant artistic work that must be recognized and valued in the context of the Valencian Art. His painting, like the character of the extraverted and social artist, has always enjoyed good health, being exhibited with great acceptance, in samples of collective or individual character, in galleries, museums, contests or national and international salons. The first contacts of the artist with the Valencian avant-garde go back to the Association Arte Actual, in the early sixties. Participating in collective exhibitions at the Center for North American Studies, in the Círculo de Bellas Artes or in various competitions concerning the Valencian Salons. Another somewhat sporadic but important contact was his contribution in some exhibitions with the group Before the Art, a group that under the auspices of art critic Vicente Aguilera Cerni sought to revive geometry by opting for a path of plastic purity and investigation of space and movement, compared to the social character of other realistic groups. The expository activity of Javier Calvo and criticism is one of the most developed and extensive sections of this doctoral thesis. We have addressed it in three registers that are divided into: regional area, national framework and international scope. It is based on multiple quotes documenting its exhibitions with a good press review, or are accompanied by references from catalogs and magazines. All this has generated and contributed to a very detailed exercise with testimonies of specialists in the field of art history and aesthetics. This first block, the regional area, is the most numerous, as it brings together the considerable activity of 116 exhibitions, from a very broad period that registers the year 1959 as the date of beginning until the present 2017. In the national context, this section mainly encompasses the first two decades of exhibition, that is, the sixties and seventies with 25 exhibitions. The third division is close to the international registry with 16 samples. Although less in quantity we can not qualify it without interest or importance. The exhibition activity is mainly in the European geographical area. The artistic languages is another of the great sections developed in this doctoral thesis and are closely linked to the block of cataloging and analysis of the work. The plastic languages are grouped into three blocks that we will now name: A. First works and plastic languages, B. Neo-figurative gesture and C. Geometry. Presenting the first of them, a range of poetic variations are observed, which are mostly dilated in their formation stage. They are loose works, since they are not integrated in any specific series, although we have grouped them according to their own plastic characteristics, in artistic languages such as: Expressionism, Fauvism, Pop and Abstract Expressionism. In general this stage determines a plurality of styles related to research and under parameters still young in technique and in semantics. The second group B., Neo-figurative gesture, is the most extensive and is subordinated to a more gestural, free, dynamic and colorist plastic without being able to categorically enclose it in a strict or unique language, but is mostly linked to the figurative, although in certain pictures rubs the abstract. We find series well conceived in their creative limits, always under epigraphs that guide us on the inspiration of the artist to develop them, usually attending to the trips made. The author integrates them into unifying and distinctive aspects of his remaining sister collections. They are series full of artistic vigor, where the color and the gestural expression outline the essence of this block. The third group C., Geometry, manifests a mark of genuine identity of the artist as much or more than the rest of its total production. Under the generic voice of Geometry open two very clear slopes, on the one hand, the purest for its formal language, calculating, constructivist and flat colors that would integrate the chapter Abstraction geometric. On the other hand, a more identifiable expression of reference outside nature, the human figure or architecture, but subordinated to a geometric language based on rectilinear elements, both in the form and in the background on most occasions, we have called geometric Neo-figuration. In short, constructions of polygons and polyhedra that make up a suggestive visual composition. As a general conclusion, we can say that Javier Calvo has earned a fair and well-deserved recognition in Valencian artistic circles, for an artistic and expositive trajectory of long and logical evolution. This is testified by the multitude of quotations and historiographical references that this thesis has contributed on the received criticism and the artistic studies on its pictorial work, over sixty years. The cultural value of his legacy lies in the regeneration of his creative faculty and in the incessant investigation of the plastic possibilities carried out in each series up to the present. For all this, his figure is a bet that goes beyond the regional limits. His work enriches not only the Valencian Artistic Heritage but the Spanish Contemporary Art, therefore this thesis is a work that tries to situate our artist precisely within the History of Spanish Art at the crossroads of the XX and XXI centuries.
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