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Lot n° 85

MANOLO HUGUÉ (Barcelona, 1872 - Caldas de Montbui,...

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MANOLO HUGUÉ (Barcelona, 1872 - Caldas de Montbui, Barcelona, 1945). "Oxen in the stable", 1935-1936. Relief in terracotta on wooden base. Work cataloged in the book "Manolo. Sculpture, painting and drawing", Montserrat Blanch, nº197, page 114. Provenance: Jacky J. Druker Collection, friend and patron of Joan Brotat. Measurements: 34 x 34 x 3 cm; 6 cm (base height). In the catalog raisonné on Manolo Hugué written by Montserrat Blanch several works are reproduced (preparatory drawings, bas-reliefs in terracotta, but also in stone) whose theme are oxen (generally represented in pairs), of which the piece in question is part. It is a production made between 1917 and 1923, years in which the sculptor breathes new thematic and formal suggestions into terracotta. Back in Ceret, after his Parisian period, he devoted himself to the study of cadences, rhythms, archaic-inspired essentialism... a sum of strategies to escape from all stagnation and renew the sculptural language without ceasing to dialogue with the classics. In this relief, a serene energy palpitates like an invisible force through the bodies, through the rounded profiles and alternating with geometric incisions. The front legs of the recumbent ox flex to adapt to the angle, seeking a certain conceptual tension between the volumes and their enclosure in a precise quadrangular limit. In doing so, he emulated the Greek art developed in the metopes. The spatial indication is brief and synthetic: a few schematic elements outline the idea of a stable. Manuel Martínez Hugué, Manolo Hugué, was trained at the Escuela de la Lonja in Barcelona. A regular participant in the gatherings of "Els Quatre Gats", he became friends with Picasso, Rusiñol, Mir and Nonell. In 1900 he moved to Paris, where he lived for ten years. There he resumed his relationship with Picasso, and became friends with other avant-garde theorists such as Apollinaire, Modigliani, Braque and Derain. In the French capital he worked on the design of jewelry and small sculptures, influenced by the work of his friend, the sculptor and goldsmith Paco Durrio. In 1892 he worked with Torcuato Tasso on decorative works for the celebrations of the centenary of the Discovery of America. Between 1910 and 1917, completely dedicated to sculpture, he worked in Ceret, where he gathered a heterogeneous group of artists among whom Juan Gris, Joaquín Sunyer and, again, Picasso stood out. During these years he held exhibitions in Barcelona, Paris and New York. In 1932 he was appointed member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Jorge in Barcelona. In Hugué's work, what is essential is the relationship with nature, taking into account the human figure as an integrated element in it. This is a characteristic of Noucentista classicism, but in Hugué's hands it goes beyond its limited origins. He usually represented peasants, although he also depicted bullfighters and dancers -as can be seen on this occasion-, always portrayed with a level of detail and an appreciation of the textures that reveal his former training as a goldsmith. In his artistic production coexist the Mediterranean tradition, Greek classicism and archaism, and the art of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, with the European avant-garde that he assimilated and knew firsthand, specifically Matisse's Fauvism and Cubism. Works by Hugué are preserved in the MACBA, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center, among many others.