Chronology (Biographical notes)
1925 Born in Barcelona on November 2, son of Joan Cuixart and María Tàpies.
1940 His father dies.
1941-42 First paintings and drawings. Begins friendship with René Metrás in Sant Celoni.
1944 Following the family tradition he enters the Faculty of Medicine; two years later he abandons his studies to devote himself entirely to painting.
1947 Makes collages with debris from the civil war.
1948 Exhibits at the October Salon. Founded the magazine Dau al Set with Joan Brossa, Joan Ponç, Antoni Tàpies, Arnau Puig and Joan-Josep Tharrats, a mythical group that, from a protestant and avant-garde position, shook the barren artistic panorama of the Spanish post-war period. That same year he meets Juan Eduardo Cirlot, who was a close collaborator of the magazine and an excellent analyst of his work, and the poet and critic Rafael Santos Torroella.
1949 The group visits Joan Miró. Makes monotypes and experimental engravings in Enric Tormo’s studio and collaborates in the gestation of the First Art Week of the Altamira School with Mathias Goeritz. He contacts the critic Sebastià Gasch and befriends Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera and Joao Cabral de Melo, among other intellectuals and artists. He takes part in the II Salón de Octubre and in an exhibition organized by Cobalto 49. He exhibits with the other painters of the group, Joan Ponç and Antoni Tàpies, at the French Institute, which awards them a grant to go to Paris.
1950 Invited by Eugeni d’Ors, he takes part in the VII Salón de los Once, in Madrid, together with Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Joaquín Torres García, Jorge de Oteiza, Joan Ponç and Antoni Tàpies. He actively participates in the colloquiums of the II Semana del Arte, organized by the Altamira School in Santillana del Mar, where he contacts Willy Baumeister and Eduardo Westerdahl, among others. In December he moves to Paris with his cousin Antoni Tàpies.
1951-52 –Dau al Set exhibition at the Sala Caralt. From Paris he travels to various European countries. Unable to survive in the French capital, he moves to Lyon, a city that will mark the change from “Dau al Set” magicism to material informalism.
1953 He marries Mariona Goday Barba, with whom he has three children: Marc, Judit and Noemí. This year he takes part in the collective exhibition Arte Fantástico at the Clan gallery in Madrid, organized by Antonio Saura.
1955 He participates in the creation of the ephemeral group Taüll and holds his first individual exhibition in Barcelona at the Layetanas Galleries, as well as a retrospective (1946-55) at the Museum of Mataró. The critic Alexandre Cirici Pellicer knows his work and since then devotes full attention to it, considering him the true renovator of informalism on an international scale.
1956 He deepens his contact with the avant-garde environment of Paris and Lyon, where he exhibits in the gallery directed by the poet Marcel Michaud. The critic Jean-Jacques Lerrant takes a lively interest in his work. He contacts Roger Planchon, Jean Aster and Gisèle Tavet, among other avant-garde theater activists, and discovers the work of Bertolt Brecht. Meanwhile, Michaud introduces him to the prominent Parisian gallery owner René Drouin, who includes him in his portfolio of artists.
1957 He is invited to the I Saló de Maig in Barcelona. He presents his Construcciones heteroplásticas (Galería Jardín, Barcelona), which incorporates tubes, cables and other materials into the canvas.
1958 Receives the Torres Garcia Prize. Returns to Paris, where he has his first solo exhibition at the Galerie René Drouin. Visits Picasso with his friends Leopoldo Pomés and Pere Portabella. He is invited to the XXIX Venice Biennial and participates in the Pittsburgh Bicentennial International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture at the Carnegie Institute. The monograph dedicated to him by Juan Eduardo Cirlot appears, who calls his work “transinformalism”. From this point on, a period of great national and international exhibition activity begins.
1959 He achieves the highest international recognition by winning the First International Painting Prize at the V Biennial of São Paulo (Francis Bacon and Alberto Burri are finalists) and the Gold Medal at the Lausanne Abstract Painting Prize, a competition in which Lucio Fontana wins the Silver Medal. He participates in exhibitions such as Documenta in Kassel, “Treize peintres espagnols” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He multiplies his individual and collective exhibitions in galleries all over Europe, America and Japan.
1960-61 He is selected for exhibitions of avant-garde art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in Washington, among many others. Solo exhibition at the Bonino Gallery in Buenos Aires. René Drouin presents an exhibition by Cuixart at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris – under the patronage of the Théâtre de la Cité founded by Planchon – dedicated to the characters and themes of Bertolt Brecht, an author who had a powerful influence on the thinking of the Catalan artist.
1962 Exhibits Sept personnages d’exorcisme at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris. Takes part in the exhibitions Antagonismes at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and Modern Spanish Painting at the Tate Gallery in London.
1963 He provokes a great impact with his “Nens sense nom” (tragic compositions on canvas with shattered dolls), exhibited at the René Metras Gallery; these pieces are accompanied by other fully three-dimensional works based on the manipulation and assembly of objects. This is his particular contribution to movements such as new dada, pop art and nouveau réalisme. The director and film critic Jean-André Fieschi shoots a short film along the lines of cinema verité about the artist’s creative process. Exhibition at the Guggenheim and UNESCO headquarters. Takes part in the group exhibition Le Dessin in Paris with Karel Appel, Max Ernst, Jean Fautrier, Alberto Giacometti, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Tobey, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, among others. Intensifies his collaboration with the performing arts (sets, scenery and costumes for Lope de Vega’s El perro del Hortelano at the Auditorio Nacional de México), an activity that is consolidated over the following two years (Fando et Lis by Arrabal and Antigone at the Ballets Modernes de Paris [BMP]).
1964 Exhibition-homage to Bertolt Brecht at the René Metras gallery, banned by the Franco regime, in which he presents configurations of objects and assemblages. He has a solo exhibition of great repercussion at the Bonino Gallery in New York, which marks the beginning of an intellectualist turn towards figuration: a singular cycle that combines graphics and matter in strange compositions with organic, erotic and sinister accents.
1966 The break with informalism and his new language are evident in the exhibition Realisme pictòric actual at the René Metrás gallery, curated by Arnau Puig, which provokes an unbridled attack by the critic Cirici Pellicer, as well as an intense controversy. He declines the invitation to represent Spain at the Venice Biennale. Premieres Fernando Arrabal’s Fando et Lis, with sets and costumes by Cuixart, at the Théâtre de la Croix Rousse in Lyon, at the Casa Batlle in Riudellots de la Selva and at the Romea Theater in Barcelona.
1967 Publishes the folder Rostros de Arkaim composed of five etchings and creates the posters for the world premiere of several works by the composer José Luis de Delás in Riudellots.
1968 He is selected to participate in the historic exhibition The Art of Organic Forms at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, an institution that was a pioneer in showing the concomitance between art and science.
1970 He takes part in the International Art Salon in Basel.
1971 He settles in Palafrugell with Victoria Pujoldevall, his partner since then and with whom he will have his son Joan in 1980. He meets the writer Josep Plà. He begins a period of effusive creativity characterized by a figuration that fluctuates between lyricism, baroque and sinister bias, which, although progressively losing creative vigor since the mid 70s, will last until the end of the 80s.
1972 Exhibition at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Madrid.
1975 Guest of honor at the XIII Biennial of São Paulo.
1976 Invited to the International Art Fair of Basel. Exhibition Antològica 1945-75 in the gallery Dau al Set of Barcelona. Exhibition at the Rayuela Gallery in Madrid.
1977 The monographic book Cuixart by José Manuel Caballero Bonald is published, with prologue by Baltasar Porcel.
1978 Cuixart anthology and presentation of the book by Caballero Bonald dedicated to the artist at the René Metras Gallery.
1980 Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Caracas. Exhibitions in Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
1981 Collective exhibition at the Palace of the UNESCO, in Paris. Re-edition of the Magazine Dau al Set.
1982 Exhibition at the Auditorium Maurice Ravel in Lyon. He participates with the donation of a work in the itinerant exhibition by Universities of the United States and Canada of the North American Catalan Society.
1983 Receives the Cross of Sant Jordi from the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Golden Key of the City of Barcelona. Tour of the United States with the Institute for Ibero-American Cooperation.
1984 Receives from King Juan Carlos I the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica.
Exhibition at the National Art Museum of Mexico and at the Center for the Fine Arts in Miami.
1986 Exhibition of ceramic works at the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art, with itinerancy. His painting in this period tends to excess, with aggressive colors and forms.
1987 Anthological exhibition at the Dau al Set gallery in Barcelona.
1988 Anthology in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. Exhibition Los Cuixart de Can Batlle in Salt (Gerona). Exhibits his “morphics”, constructivist structures that link with the heteroplastic objects of 1956.
1989 Collective exhibition of historical Catalan painters since Goya in Kobe: Goya and the painters of Barcelona. After a brief period of wild expressionism provoked by the death of his great friend Ramon de Batlle, he finds abstract language again. He begins a relevant pictorial cycle marked by the introspection in the atavistic and subterranean nature from abstraction, signs and geometry.
1990 Exhibition of the Juana de Batlle collection at the Sala del Govern d’Andorra. Collective exhibition The Second Vanguard at the Baruch College Gallery of the University of New York, traveling to San Francisco, Strasbourg, Vienna, New York, Osaka and Tokyo. Also takes place the exhibition L’Informalisme a Catalunya, at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica.
1991 Anthological exhibition (1941-1991) at the Palau Robert in Barcelona, sponsored by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
1992 His works are exhibited in the Catalan pavilion of the Universal Exhibition of Seville. Exhibition in the Hall of the newspaper Midi-Libre of Saint-Jean-de-Védas, in Montpellier. Collective exhibition City of ashes: the surrealism in the Spanish postwar period in the Museum of Teruel.
1993 Itinerant exhibition Cuixart. Obra recent, organized by the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
1994 Retrospective at the Palais des Rois de Majorque in Perpignan. Exhibition at the Fontana d’Or in Gerona.
1995 Anthological exhibition at the Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid on the occasion of its 70th anniversary.
1998 Participates in various events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dau al Set; among others, in the exhibitions organized at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica (El foc s’escampa) and at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona MACBA (Dau al Set). The Cuixart Foundation is created, with headquarters in Palafrugell.
1999 Awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts by the Ministry of Culture.
2000-2001 Monographic-retrospective exhibition Cuixart, mythology of nature at the Museum of Mataró and Can Palauet, organized by the Patronato Municipal de Cultura de Mataró; itinerates to the Centro Cultural Puerta Real of the Fundación Caja General de Granada and to Almería. Retrospective exhibition at the Camón Aznar-Ibercaja Museum in Zaragoza. Exhibition Cuixart, paisatges enigmàtics at the Centre Cultural Torre Vella in Salou (Tarragona).
2002 Exhibitions Cuixart a Joan Ponç in Céret, Cuixart, geometries at the Museu del Suro and Sala del Teatre Municipal de Palafrugell. Inauguration of the Plaza Modest Cuixart in Palafrugell and the Taller Cuixart BCN, headquarters of the Fundació Cuixart in Barcelona, with a select anthological and museographic tour, but which would close only three years later.
2003 Cuixart ara exhibitions at the Sala Verdaguer in Barcelona and the anthological exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Unión Fenosa (MACUF) in La Coruña. He abandons almost completely the pictorial activity.
2004 Exhibition at the Château Bellegarde in Le Perthus (France). Exhibition Cuixart, elogio de la geometría at the Fundació Caixa Tarragona.
2005 Exhibition Cuixart, màgic i surreal at the Antiguo Casino Societat L’Amistat de Cadaqués.
2006 Exhibitions Cuixart, cirurgia humana at the Museu d’Art de Girona and Cuixart, retorn a la Mediterrània at the Museu de la Mediterrània de Torroella de Montgrí.
2007 Exhibition Cuixart, el desig de la forma at the Fundació Vila Casas in Palafrugell. Dies in Palamós on October 31, at the age of 82.