Esteban Vicente American, 1903-2001


Esteban Vicente was born in Turégano, Spain. He enrolled at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1921 intending to study sculpture and completed his training in 1924. Soon after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Vicente moved to New York. By the 1940s, Vicente was committed to exploring abstraction, giving up his earlier representational style of painting. A member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, Esteban Vicente was part of the most influential circles of his generation. Vicente was a core member of the New York School, which included Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman and shared studio space with Willem de Kooning.


In the 1950s, Vicente began to explore collage, integrating the Analytical Cubism of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris into works that were animated and highly keyed. Vicente’s paintings, collages and drawings reflect a primary responsiveness to the medium even as he remains anchored in an essentially Cubist definition of surface. From the 1960s on, Vicente refined his gestural style of painting and collage to reflect a more reductive approach that employed vibrant color harmonies and contrasts. Throughout his long career Vicente explored a mode of expression that integrated abstraction, movement, and color. His artistic career was characterized by great energy and exuberance, as well as openness to experimentation and a sense of balance.

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