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Eduardo Úrculo | Pop Art painter / Sculptor

Spanish painter and sculptor Eduardo Úrculo Fernandez (1938-2003), one of the greatest Pop Art's artist in Spain.
He is also known by his works in other styles like Neo-Cubism and Black Expressionism.
He also worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and set designer.
Most of his paintings were about figures, suitcases, trips and hats.

Úrculo is notable for his portrayals of luggage, the gentleman's hat, and the female figures.
With El Equipo Crónica (“Chronicle Team”), formed by the artists Manolo Valdés and Rafael Solbes, Úrculo is considered one of the drivers of Pop Art in Spain.
Born in Santurtzi, in Spain's Basque Country, Úrculo had at least two siblings, brothers Jose Maria Úrculo and Maria del Mar Úrculo.

The family moved to the mining village of Langreo, Asturias in 1941 because of the hardships imposed on them after the Spanish Civil War.
With a childhood marked by famine, he joined the Instituto de Enseñanza Media in 1948.
is interest in drawing began here after Úrculo discovered the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh and Amedeo Modigliani in picture books.

At the age of 14, he dropped out of school to convalesce for several months from hepatitis and tuberculosis.
During this time, he began to paint. When he was well enough, he started working in the mining company Carbones de La Nueva, where his father worked as a clerk.
Úrculo's first solo exhibition occurred in 1957 in La Felguera.

In the same year, he became a cartoonist, drawing gangster comics illustrations in Oviedo.
The following year, he received a grant from the Langreo City Council to study at Madrid's Círculo de Bellas Artes and at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Gráficas.
Here, his spiky socialist realism was characterized by "lots of clenched fists and Guernica-style Picassoism".

His drawings of factories have been described as "social painting" or "social expressionism".
Úrculo's early black and white drawings were influenced by Francisco Goya.
In 1958, he went to Paris and studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere.

Returning in 1959 to Oviedo, he opened a studio with the artist Zuco with whom he made the mosaic tile for ALSA.
Military service took Úrculo to Tenerife in 1960 where he became acquainted with the surrealist artist Eduardo Westerdahl.

Here he painted the only abstract work of his career.
In 1962, he returned to Paris and painted in the style of figurative expressionism.
Four years later, he went to Ibiza.

In 1967, in Stockholm, he first encountered the American pop art of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg which he described as "un flechazo" ("love at first sight").
He drew inspiration from this by incorporating vibrant color into his pieces.

In the 1970s, while traveling to Portugal, Morocco and Ibiza, Úrculo began his many works featuring the female figure.
Úrculo's first bronze sculpture was created in 1984, and others soon followed, such as Homenaje a Santiago Roldán ("Tribute to James Roldan", 1993, Barcelona's Olympic Village), El regreso de Williams B. Arrensberg ("The return of Williams B. Arrensberg", 1993, Oviedo), and Exaltación de la manzana ("Exaltation of the apple", 1996, Villaviciosa).

Perhaps his best-known bronze sculpture is El Viajero (Local Asturian dialect for "The Traveller") - the same, 1993 piece described earlier by its formal name, "The Return of Williams B. Arrensberg".
Now in the middle of a square, in the heart of Oviedo (Asturias) one can find our returning traveler, with bags, coat, and umbrella.

Returning to Cubism, Úrculo painted still lifes of bottles, cases, and fruit in the manner of Juan Gris.
He also painted many variations of hats. He participated in the First Biennial of Art in the City of Oviedo and, in 1986, was honored at the Painting Contest of Luarca.
His last individual exhibitions were held at the Fundación Marcelino Botin of Santander and in the gallery Teresa Square, in Valladolid, 2000.
In addition to Spain, his works were displayed at expositions, collections and biennials in Germany, France, Cuba, Iran and the United States.

Eduardo Úrculo (21 settembre 1938 - 31 marzo 2003), era un artista pop Spagnolo che ha anche lavorato in altri movimenti artistici, tra cui l'espressionismo ed il neo-cubismo.
Pittore e scultore Úrculo viene considerato uno dei precursori della Pop Art in Spagna.
Ancora bambino si stabilisce nelle Asturie, a Langreo. Qui, a partire dal 1957, prende lezioni dal pittore Jesús Diaz e lavora come illustratore per la rivista "La Nueva España" di Oviedo.

Nello stesso anno organizza la prima personale nella città di La Felguera. Come borsista compie un viaggio a Madrid e frequenta il Circolo delle Belle Arti della città. Nel 1959 si trasferisce a Parigi, dove lavora come grafico presso lo "Studio Moro": qui ha la possibilità di incontrare Max Ernst, Man Ray, Giacometti.
Dopo il servizio militare, rientra in patria proseguendo la sua attività di illustratore per la rivista "Triunfo" e si dedica alla scenografia.
Nel 1964, anno della grande rassegna alla Biennale di Venezia sulla Pop Art americana, si converte a quell’estetica: i suoi quadri diventano ironici e dai colori brillanti.

Negli anni Ottanta si avvicina alle tematiche metropolitane, ottenendo molti incarichi pubblici.
La più recente retrospettiva sull’artista è stata organizzata dal Museo di arte contemporanea di Caracas nel 2000.
Le sue opere si trovano nelle collezioni dei musei: Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Fundación Pilar i Joan Miró di Palma di Maiorca, Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Moderna di Roma e Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Bogotà in Colombia.