Antonio Saura

About Artist: 1930: Antonio Saura was born September 22 in Huesca (Spain) as firstborn of four siblings. His mother Fermina was a pianist as a young woman, his father Antonio a lawyer. 1936: During the Spanish Civil War the family lived in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona in the remaining strongholds of the Republican Government’s retreat. Saura described himself as a „very aware and lonely child, rather weak physically and badly behaved.“ When very young he loved to read above all else, especially books on biology and astronomy. He had the desire to change everything that seemed imperfect in his eyes. Very early memories he could „never forget“ included visiting a Huescan cinema and seeing Man Ray's short film The Starfish followed by King Kong while „shooting could be heard outside.“ 1938: While holding his father’s hand in Barcelona during a bombing attack he witnessed how a man whose head was torn off by shrapnel still managed to walk a few steps before going down. 1939: After the end of the War he spent a year in Huesca. Saura was convinced that „he flew down the steps at his grandmother’s house.“ 1940: The family moved to Madrid. He was fascinated by the prints of Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle, a Spanish edition of Geffroy’s Les Musées d’Europe, and a painting of Beatrice Cenci’s execution on the breaking wheel. He was intrigued by the ocean. He read Jules Verne, Emilio Salgari, and the journal Chicos. Fall 1943: Antonio Saura contracted tuberculosis. 1944: He had to undergo several operations and was confined to bed for the greater part of the subsequent five years, isolated from the outside world. His ailment was very painful. He had his mother’s constant support. He left school and devoted himself to reading and writing. On the radio he discovered Stravinsky, jazz and flamenco music. In an edition of the Nazi journal Signal he stumbled across so-called „degenerate art.” 1945: Press photographs of concentration camps and the aftermath of the atom bomb in Hiroshima filled him with „horror.”

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