A blunt forceful image from this Spanish politically-activist painter exiled in Mexico.
Lucio López Rey, 1904 – 1957. Painter, caricaturist, illustrator, ceramist and lawyer, Lucio López-Rey was born in Madrid, Spain, January 19, 1904. At the age of twelve his drawings illustrated the magazine “Charlot”. At the age of 30 was named artistic director of the newspaper Politica and his caricatures reproduced there had great success. His first solo show was in 1935 in Galería de Bellas Artes, Madrid. During the Spanish civil war López-Rey moved to Paris. He executed then a number of ceramic pieces that “had something of the fantastic, a lot of the ironic , enriched with an extraordinary decorative brilliance”. In 1939 he moved to Copenhagen. The Danish National Museum acquired several of his ceramic artworks. When the Germans invaded Denmark, he moved with his wife to Finland and then to Mexico (1942). One Mexican critic wrote “his painting is characterized by an imaginative sense closely aligned with reality, whether representing a Mexican landscape, a Parisian scene, a naked female or a religious theme; it has always a sense of tenderness reinforced with an ironical touch… where greens and ochres are emphasized”. He immigrated in 1945 to New York where had his first solo show in the Bonestell Gallery. In 1946 he exhibited again his works and the New York art critics awarded him a prize of $ 2,000 granted to the Paintings of the Year. Between 1945 and 1954, López-Rey had solo shows at the galleries Today’ s Art, Stuart Art, Demotte, Raymond and Raymond, Knoedler, Passedoit, Ward Eggleston, and also in the Pan American Union in Washington, D.C. His art has been described as “on the one hand, plenty of Spanish tradition; on the other, plenty of a modern technique, but the Spanish traditionalism and the contemporary universality of his painting have so merged and taken such a particular form that it’s hard to place López-Rey in a any kind of school”. He also worked as an illustrator for magazines, professor of Spanish at the United Nations and served as art director at TEMAS magazine in New York. He died of lung cancer on January 10, 1957, at the age of 53, in a New York hospital. Tomás Olmedo, editor of TEMAS said: “…The painting of López-Rey came from deep inside him, passionate, carried out with love, coming from his heart and mind, …this man had a flair for unusual combinations: as a painter, his stile combined that of the great Flemish artists with that of the Mexicans; on top of which he was is an artist AND a lawyer”. His works have been exhibited in France, Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Argentina and United States. (Summary of the Biography of the artist provided by his niece Diana López-Rey Arce, Santiago de Chile, 2004).