Born in Huesca (Spain) on September 22, 1930.

1936-1939 During the Civil War, lives with his family in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. At the end of the war, lives in Huesca for a year and then returns to Madrid.
1943 Contracts tuberculosis, and has to undergo several operations which result in a five-year period of immobility.
1947 Self-taught as an artist, Saura starts to paint and write.
1950 First personal exhibition in the bookshop Libros in Saragossa of the experimental work he had developed over the two previous years. The series Constellations and Rayograms.
1951 Landscape series. Publication of the poetic text Programio.
  First exhibition in Madrid, in the Buchholz bookshop: oneiric and surrealist works.
First trip to Paris.
1953 Organises the exhibitions Tendencias and Arte Fantástico in Madrid.
1954-1955 Lives in Paris. Joins in the activities of the Surrealist group. Paintings which are organic and random in concept, on canvas and paper, using a wide variety of techniques.
Phenomena series and Grattages. Paints for the first time using the structure of the female body as the source of inspiration.
Marries Madeleine Augot.
1956 Presents a collection of his works at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, together with his first paintings realised entirely in black and white. Women and Self-portraits series.
1957 First exhibition in Paris, at the Galerie Stadler (preface to the catalogue by Michel Tapié).
Founds the El Paso Group, which he leads until it breaks up in 1960. Conferences and publication of several texts and manifestos. Realises the first Crucifixions and various series of satirical pieces on paper.
Birth of his daughter Marina.
1958 Makes the first Imaginary portraits, which include the series devoted to Brigitte Bardot.
Participates in the Venice Biennale, together with Eduardo Chillida and Antoni Tàpies.
1959 Makes several series of large-format paintings, on themes which recur throughout his work: ShroudsPortraitsNudes, Nudes/Landscapes, Priests and Crowds.
Start of his printed works with the series of lithographs entitled Pintiquiniestras.
Publishes the essay Espacio y gesto.
First exhibition with Antoni Tàpies, at the Galerie van de Loo (Munich). Participates in “documenta 2”, Kassel.
Commits himself to political action, which he continues until the end of the Franco period.
Birth of his daughter Ana.
1960 Abandons exclusive use of black and white. Begins series Imaginary portraits, Vertical women and Profiles and hats. Works on paper: Accumulations, Narrations and Repetitions.
Realises several sculptures.
Receives the Guggenheim Award  (New York).
1961 First exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York).
1962 First etchings and silk screens. Mentira y sueño, a series of satirical drawings and paintings on paper.
Publication in Rome by the Galleria Odyssia of a work devoted to the Crucifixions, with text by Enrico Crispolti.
Birth of his daughter Elena.
1963 Several retrospectives: Stedelijk Museum, Eindhoven; Rotterdam Kunstring; and in museums in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro (works on paper).
Designs the set of La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca, staged in Madrid for the first time, directed by Juan Antonio Bardem.
1964 Retrospective of paintings on paper and prints, organised by Eddy de Wilde at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, at the Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, and at the Konsthalle, Göteborg.
Second exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York).
Designs fourteen stained-glass windows for the Jordan Pavilion at the International Fair in New York, as well as a series of colour lithographs entitled Historia de España.
Participates in Documenta III in Kassel. Receives the Carnegie Prize with Eduardo Chillida and Pierre Soulages.
1965 Destroys one hundred canvases (Cuenca).
1966 First trip to Cuba and retrospective of works on paper at the Casa de las Américas (Havana).
Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, organised by Roland Penrose.
Begins the series Women in an armchair as well as a new series Imaginary portraits.
Receives the Grand Prix at the Biennial of Engraving “Bianco e nero” in Lugano.
1967 Makes Paris his permanent base. Works during the summer in Cuenca.
Exhibits Women in an armchair and Imaginary portraits at the Galerie Stadler. Begins series Imaginary portraits of Goya and Goya’s dogs.
New auto-da-fé at Cuenca, at which event he again destroys around a hundred canvases.
1968 Abandons painting in oils for ten years and devotes himself exclusively to works on paper.
Participates in the Congreso cultural in Havana.
1969 The editor Gustavo Gili publishes his first significant monograph in Barcelona. Text by José Ayllón.
1970 Spends most of the year in Havana.
1971 Realises lithographs at the Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine, Geneva, together with a series of drawings to illustrate Trois visions de Quevedo (editor Yves Rivière). Executes several series of silk screens: The King (with Lezama Lima), Remembrandt (with Bert Schierbeek), Le Chien de Goya (with Jean-Clarence Lambert).
Marries Mercedes Beldarraín.
1972 Attack carried out by an extreme right-wing group at a retrospective of his works on paper at the Galería Juana Mordó (Madrid).
Realises several Large-scale montages and several series of Superimpositions including La Quinta del Sordo.
1973 Exhibition at the Colegio de Arquitectos de Santa Cruz de Tenerife of a retrospective of his works on paper. Continues the series of Superimpositions.
Participates in the World Peace Congress celebrated in Moscow.
1974 Retrospective of his works on paper at the Centre M-11, Seville.
Works on a set of Large-scale montages and continues the series of Superimpositions.
1975 Retrospective of his works on paper at the Galería Maeght, Barcelona.
First trip to Mexico where he exhibits (Galería Juan Martín).
1976 Mainly works on lithographs on zinc in the workshops of Clot, Bramsen & Georges in Paris and creates the series of silk screens entitled Moi (Myself), edited by Gustavo Gili. Is one of the organising committee for the Venice Biennale, in which he takes part.
1977 Starts to publish his writings.
Creates the Cámara ardiente, an illustrated book with twelve etchings.
Thanks to numerous protests and shows of support, the expulsion measure to remove him from France is set aside.
Participates in Documenta VI in Kassel.
1978 Exhibits a collection of his most recent graphic works at the Fondation nationale des arts graphiques et plastiques in Paris. Participates in the “Primer Encuentro Iberoamericano de Críticos de Arte y Artistas Plásticos” in Caracas and publishes Notas para una discusión.
Starts again to paint in oil on canvas and makes a number of original painted books.
1979 The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, organises a retrospective of his work under the curatorship of Ad Petersen, to be shown later at the Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, and the following year at the Casa de Alhajas, Sala Tiepolo, Madrid, and the Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona.
Prize at the First Biennial of European Graphic Art, Heidelberg.
In Cuenca, an arson attack destroys some of his archives and collections.
1980 Contributes to the debate “Pour un portrait de Salvador Dalí” at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
From this time on, each year, he contributes to many seminars, colloquia and conferences on art and culture.
1981 Retrospective of his works on paper at the Caja de la Inmaculada, Saragossa.
Is made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France).
1982 The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, organises a travelling exhibition of his graphic work, to be shown in several cities in Spain.
Publishes a pamphlet entitled Contra el Guernica.
Receives the Medalla de Oro de Bellas Artes from King Juan Carlos.
1983 Paints and exhibits the first Dora Maar series at the Galerie Stadler. A text by Pierre Daix accompanies the exhibition catalogue entitled “Dora Maar d’après Dora Maar/Portraits raisonnés avec chapeau”.
Designs the set of the ballet Carmen, directed by Carlos Saura and Antonio Gades at the Théâtre de Paris, and of Peixos Abissals by Joan Baixas at the Teatro La Claca, Barcelona.
President of the Paris Organising Committee for “World artists against apartheid”.
José María Berzosa realises a film for television about his work.
His daughter Elena dies in an accident.
1984 Begins the series of paintings entitled Autodafé made on the torn-off covers of books.
1985 Gives a course at the “Taller de arte actual” at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid.
Designs the stage scenery Woyzeck directed by Eusebio Lázaro in Madrid.
Creates Die Mauer, an art book of superimposed paintings.
The Cabinet des estampes, Geneva, presents a retrospective of his printed works. First catalogue raisonné of his printed work by Mariuccia Galfetti.
Realises a set of large-format paintings in acrylics and in oils.
1986 The Neue Galerie-Sammlung, Aachen, organises a retrospective thematic exhibition.
Co-runs the seminar “El arte y el mal” at the UIMP, Seville.
1987 Paints Elegía, a work of 20 x 10 m for the ceiling of the Diputación de Huesca. The preparatory drawings are the subject of a travelling exhibition.
Illustrates Don Quijote de la Mancha for the Círculo de Lectores. The originals are exhibited in various institutions and are still being shown around the world. Publication of the collective work Figura y Fondo.
1988 Makes lithographs illustrating Kafka’s Tagebücher.
Publication of El pintor ilustrado, a collection of poems dedicated to the painter, and Elegía, a monograph with a preface by Guy Scarpetta and photos by Jean Bescós.
Co-runs the seminar “El sexo y el arte” at UIMP, Seville.
1989 The Wiener Secession presents a retrospective of his works on paper. Exhibition in anthology form at Harvard University, Cambridge (USA). The Geneva Musée d’Art et d’Histoire organises a thematic retrospective of his major canvases, curated by Rainer Michael Mason, subsequently to be shown at IVAM, Valencia (Spain) 1990, at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, at the Lenbachhaus, Munich, and at the Réfectoire des Jacobins, Toulouse.
Following an operation on his eyes, begins painting again.
1990 Realises a set of large monotypes (editor Carles Taché).
The UIMP, Cuenca, and the Círculo de Lectores organise an exhibition of his illustrated books.
Publication of the book La muerte y la nada with text by Jacques Chessex.
Runs a course in drawing at the Fondazione Antoni Ratti, Como, and (jointly with Guy Scarpetta) the seminar “Escritura como pintura” at the UIMP, Seville.
Is made Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France).
Death of his daughter Ana.
1991 Participates with Carlos Saura and Luis García Navarro in the production of the opera Carmen for the Staatstheater, Stuttgart.
The Diputaciones of Huesca, Saragossa and Teruel organise a retrospective exhibition entitled “Decenario”, subsequently shown at the Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, and at the Palacio Almudí, Murcia.
Retrospective exhibition devoted to his books Retrato de Antonio Saura and Las Tentaciones de Antonio Saura (texts by Julián Ríos). Draws the illustrations to Poesía y otros textos by San Juan de la Cruz.
1992 Designs the exhibition El perro de Goya in the Salas del Arenal, Seville, and in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Saragossa.
The Círculo de Lectores organises the exhibition Antonio Saura y los libros de su vida to be shown in Madrid and then at the Institut Cervantès in Paris and in the Sala de la Corona de Aragón, Saragossa.
Publication of Note book (memoria del tiempo).
1993 Designs the set of the ballet El retablo de Maese Pedro by Manuel de Falla for the Ballet de Saragossa.
Publication of Belvédère Miró.
Operation on his hip, which keeps him inactive for several months.
1994 The Museo d’Arte Moderna, Lugano, organises a retrospective of his work made between 1948 and 1990.
The Museo de Teruel presents an exhibition of his early works (oneiric and surrealist works), curated by Emmanuel Guigon.
Receives the Premio Aragón a las Artes.
Makes a series of 218 drawings and paintings on paper entitled Nulla dies sine linea.
1995 Illustrates Las aventuras de Pinocho, after Collodi, and for this he receives the prize for the best book of the year, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Receives the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris and the Prix Liberté, awarded in Sarajevo.
With his brother Carlos, designs the staging and scenery for Bizet’s opera Carmen at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto.
1996 Curator of the exhibition Después de Goya, una mirada subjetiva, at the Palacio de la Lonja and Palacio de Montemuzo, Saragossa.
1997 Paints and exhibits several large-format paintings at Daniel Lelong in Paris (Crowds and Imaginary portraits of Goya) together with a new series of Portraits and Self-portraits.
1998 Dies in Cuenca, July 22, 1998.


short biography

Antonio Saura was born in Huesca in 1930 and died in Cuenca in 1998. Begins painting and writing in 1947 in Madrid while suffering from tuberculosis and confined for five years. Initial artistic research and pictorial experiments. Takes Arp and Tanguy as influences, yet his work already stands out thanks to his highly personal style. Creates numerous dreamlike and surrealist drawings and paintings that usually depict imaginary landscapes and employ a very colorful palette in flat, smooth applications of paint. First stay in Paris in 1952. Second stay in Paris in 1954 and 1955 during which he meets Benjamin Péret and associates with the Surrealists, although he and his friend and fellow painter Simon Hantaï soon quit their circle. By this time, he is using the technique of grattage, or scraping, and adopts a gestural style and a radically abstract, always colourful manner that features an organic design grounded in chance. Begins painting by occupying the space of the canvas in several very distinct ways, creating formal structures that are highly personal and which he will continue to develop in the ensuing years. First appearances of forms that will soon become archetypes of women’s bodies or the human face. These two fundamental themes will come to dominate the greater part of his output. In 1956 Saura embarks on a new range and level of work that will eventually form his major series, Ladies, Nudes, Self-portraits, Shrouds, and Crucifixions, executing these pieces on both canvas and paper. In 1957 in Madrid founds the group El Paso, which he heads until it breaks up in 1960. Meets Michel Tapié. First solo show at the Rodolphe Stadler Gallery (Paris), where he will regularly exhibit throughout his life. Stadler will also introduce the painter to Otto van de Loo in Munich and Pierre Matisse in New York, both of whom will represent Saura in the coming years. Limits his palette to blacks, greys and browns. Asserts a personal style that is independent of the movements and trends marking his generation. His work follows in the tradition of Velázquez and Goya, and is soon hanging in the major museums. In 1959 brings out the first of a number of printed works; Saura will prove quite prolific in this medium over the years. Illustrates numerous books in an original way, including Cervantes’s Don Quijote; Orwell’s 1984; Pinocho, Nöstlinger’s adaptation of the Pinocchio story; Kafka’s Tagebücher, Quevedo’s Trois visions and many others. In 1960, begins working in sculpture, creating pieces that feature welded metal elements depicting the human face, figures and crucifixions. In 1967 settles permanently in Paris, joins the opposition to the Franco dictatorship and takes part in numerous debates and controversies in politics, aesthetics and artistic creation. Enlarges his thematic and pictorial range. Along with the Femmefauteuils (or Womenarmchairs), begins the series Imaginary Portraits, Goya’s Dogs and Goya’s Imaginary Portraits. In 1971 abandons painting on canvas (which he will take up again in 1979) in order to concentrate on writing, drawing and painting on paper. In 1977 begins publishing his writings and is involved in creating stage designs for theater, ballet and opera. In 1983 produces a new and important series of portraits called Dora Maar or Dora Maar Visited. From this year until his premature death in 1998, returns to all of his themes and figures and brilliantly develops them anew, producing perhaps the best his work has to offer.