Las viñas (The Grapevines)

Juan Manuel Díaz-Caneja

Palencia, Spain, 1905 - Madrid, Spain, 1988
  • Date: 
    1958 (circa)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    65 x 92 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • Caneja Bequest, 2002

In the 1920s, Juan Manuel Díaz Caneja was part of the avant-garde scene in Paris, working on pieces which displayed some knowledge of Cubism; an influence that extends into the later evolution of his work. From the Civil War onwards, he focused exclusively on landscape painting, reinterpreting this same theme throughout the rest of his career, as a way of getting as close as possible to the experience of internal exile, where republican debate on the rural question was raging. The formal renovation that Díaz Caneja’s painting brought to the isolated panorama of the plastic arts of 1950s Spain began with a radical simplification in the construction of the image, a schematization which he used to try to identify the light and nature of the Castilian landscape. Díaz Caneja progressively stripped his harmonised colour range back to swathes of colour, in compositions which, while still maintaining the limit of the horizon as a point of reference, border on abstraction. Díaz Caneja’s work represents the survival of a traditional academic genre, filtered through the avant-garde’s plastic languages and inextricably linked to the well-known environment of the Castilian landscape. His representation in the Museo Reina Sofía collection is completed by the legacy donated by his widow, Isabel Fernández Almansa, in 1998.