Revolution is in the air, at London’s Mayoral at least: the gallery is staging an exhibition of artists associated with the Spanish Civil War, from Wednesday January 18 to Friday February 10. Marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exposition – which the Spanish government used to highlight the cruelty of Franco’s regime – Art Revolutionaries will feature paintings and sculptures by such modernist masters as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Julio González, alongside important archive material, including a replica of Miró’s mural El Segador (The Reaper), which vanished when the original pavilion was taken down.
“El Segador reflected the pain, suffering and revolutionary angst of the Catalan people on seeing how their identity, language and culture risked being engulfed by a nationalist victory,” says Joan Punyet Miró, the artist’s grandson, who worked on the exhibition alongside specialists Fernando Martin and Josefina Alix. Work by Miró for sale includes the collage drawing Métamorphose (£650,000), a pencil, India ink, wash, decal and watercolour on paper dating from 1936, and Personages, Bird, Stars (£850,000), a 14cm x 75cm oil on canvas depicting three stylised figures from 1944.
Admirers of Calder’s kinetic sculptures can choose from Crag with Yellow Boomerang and Red Eggplant (1974, £3.9m) or 3 Feuilles Noirs, 5 Blanches, 2 Rouges (1960, £1.2m), a delicately suspended composition of painted sheet metal and wire. Picasso’s Standing Woman and Sitting Woman (1939, £350,000) is a bleak portrayal of two figures in gouache and black ink on lined paper.
The exhibition will also include replicas of the Republican Pavilion’s façade and original furniture. “We are very conscious of the importance of the Spanish Civil War, of the fight for the ideals of freedom,” says Jordi Mayoral, director of the Mayoral Gallery. “The works created by our artists then are still part of our collective memory, and represent a significant turning point in the country’s struggle between democracy and fascism.”