Styles: Iberian Resurgence

Art in Spain inexorably involves a set of attitudes to and by the government. The Civil War, cutting off a rich flowering of painting and sculpture, turned Picasso into a rebellious exile in France, Dali into a Franco sympathizer, Miró into a resister who stood his ground on Spanish soil. Until 1958, art and the government fought a wary underground war, and the world wondered whether the Spanish art had ended in 1937 with Picasso's Guernica.

Then came a wry event. Abstract paintings by a fiery Catalonian named Antoni Tàpies won a...

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