Manolo Valdes

Biography of Manolo Valdes

The award-winning Spanish artist Manolo Valdes (b. 1942) draws upon his Spanish artistic heritage to create complex works that explore both the past and the present day. He takes elements from the works of great masters such as Velázquez, Picasso, and Tàpies, and generates new narratives that insightfully address our social and political realities. Historical personages such as Don Quixote and Velázquez’ Meninas are abstracted and recontextualized into peculiar cultural hybrids.  


Unafraid of traditional techniques and mediums, Valdes, who began his training in painting at the age of 15 at the Fine Arts Academy of San Carlos in Valencia, skillfully explores the possibilities of drawing, painting, sculpture and in particular printmaking in highly original ways. By collaging directly onto his etchings, Valdes re-invigorates the traditional art form with vibrant colors and contemporary influences—fragmented parts are unified into a new, often surprisingly witty, vision.


Manolo Valdes represented Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and has received numerous awards. In 1985 he was awarded the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and in 2007 was named Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite by the French government. Amongst his most notable solo shows was his retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao in 2002. Valdes’ work is in public collections across the globe, including the MoMA, NYC, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Met, NYC.

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