Since Friday 16 June, the permanent collection of the Museo Ibáñez in Olula del Río has been enlarged with the addition of a new work by Antonio López García (Tomelloso (Ciudad Real), 1936): the lithograph Pollo y queso (Chicken and Cheese). A piece that joins the ten works by the master of contemporary Spanish Realism that were previously on display in room 10 of the Olula art gallery: the sculptures Carmen recién nacida (1999, copper), Carmen dormida (2000, copper), Carmen despierta (2001, copper), Cabeza de mujer (2005, plaster), Fátima (2020, marble) and two copies of La Mujer del Almanzora (2016-7), in Sivec marble and in bronze, the engraving Mujer de Tomelloso (1961, lithograph) and the two paintings Madrid desde Carabanchel bajo (1985, oil on canvas) and Rosas (2010, oil on canvas).
An important group of works, not only for the quantity, but also for the singularity and quality of the pieces on display, to which are added the other two sculptures by Antonio López that are exhibited in the facilities of the City of Culture that surround the Ibáñez Museum itself: the monumental head of La Mujer del Almanzora (2019, white Macael marble) which presides over the plaza of the City of Culture and the imposing Modelo para la Mujer de Coslada (2010, wood and high-density polyurethane) which is exhibited in one of the halls of the Pérez Siquier Centre.
A piece of singular importance within Antonio López’s production, both for the subject matter of the work and for the technique used in its execution, with the addition of Chicken and Cheese to its permanent collection the Museo Ibáñez demonstrates its firm commitment to the vindication of contemporary Spanish Realism and, in particular, the members of the so-called Madrid Realist Group. A “group” of which, along with the eleven works by Antonio López mentioned above, can be seen in room 10 of the Museum, along with sculptures, reliefs and paintings by Julio López Hernández (Madrid, 1930 – 2018), Francisco López Hernández (Madrid, 1932 – 2017) and Amalia Avia Peña (Santa Cruz de la Zarza (Toledo), 1930 – Madrid, 2011). This fact makes the Ibáñez Museum an essential place to visit to enjoy the work of Antonio López and some of the artists with whom he shared experiences and friendship around the Realist Group of Madrid.
The new work: Chicken and Cheese
Throughout his long career, Antonio López has only produced two lithographs on stone: Mujer de Tomelloso (1961), an image in which he depicts, in the foreground, his mother against an urban background of Tomelloso, and Pollo y Queso or Bodegón del Pollo (1981). In the words of Juan Manuel Martín, director of the Ibáñez Cosentino Art Foundation, “a still life with an elegant and sober, almost monastic character, which fits in perfectly with both the Hispanic tradition and the particular way of interpreting the genre that the master from Tomelloso has developed throughout his career. A work in which Antonio López presents us, on a table of hard lines arranged in an undefined space, with two plates containing the austere and austere delicacies that give the piece its title: a cheese with a portion missing and a cut-up chicken which, due to its arrangement and essential character, will bring to the viewer’s memory another famous still life by the artist from La Mancha, Conejo desollado (Flayed Rabbit)” (Flayed Rabbit).
This graphic work, number 11 of a print run of 35, is on display at the Ibáñez Museum. Previously, other copies of Pollo y Queso have been shown in important anthological exhibitions dedicated to Antonio López, such as the one held at the Hospital de los Venerables in Seville, between November 1994 and January 1995, and the successful exhibition held between June and September 2011 at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, which also included the Rosas (2010), now in the Museo Ibáñez.