Assembled over a period of forty years, the “El Universo de Pedro Coronel” | Museo Pedro Coronel collection thus consists of approximately 1350 pieces from such different places and times as Ancient Greece, the native cultures of the Ivory Coast, and pre-Columbian and colonial Mexico, among others. As a collector, the Mexican artist Pedro Coronel (Zacatecas, 1923-1985) divulges a universal vision of art that is characteristic of his time.

Like many other Mexican artists from previous generations, explains Marisol Argüelles, exhibition curator, Pedro Coronel spent enough time in Paris for this to have reinvigorated his vision of art. During the postwar years, he met artists and forged strong friendships with some of them as he collected drawings and prints by the most outstanding exponents of the mid-century avant-garde art movements, who revolutionized art education as well as the art market after breaking with the academies.

This survey, organized by five themes, is specifically limited to the graphic artwork that the artist collected and which influence emerges on his own practice; at the same time, illustrates a metamorphosis in visual representation when artists were leaving behind the representation of the human figure and directing their work toward abstraction.

Pedro Coronel bought and conserved the work of artists who were essential to our understanding of these movements: we can mention names like Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso.

In Picasso, it is easy to understand the process of synthesis that leads to abstraction, involving a simplification of forms—the tendency to render nature in an increasingly abstract way, until the image loses any possible relation to the object.

Many of the abstract movements were initially tied to Surrealism, and this is why we find a number of abstract artists connected to this tendency. Among them we should mention Victor Brauner, Roberto Matta and Wifredo Lam.

Pedro Coronel’s collection displays different offshoots of abstractionism, beginning with Kandinsky’s lyrical abstraction. It also features a marked tendency towards geometric abstraction and the exploration of color—both elements present in Coronel’s own oeuvre—in the work of artists such as Serge Poliakoff, Alberto Magnelli, Eugenio Carmi, and Sonia Delaunay. During and after World War II, a large number of painters of different nationalities converged on the United States, and the New York School was born. The painting that came out of it was christened Abstract Expressionism. Although Jackson Pollock was one of the preeminent representatives of this art movement, other artists like Robert Motherwell, included in this collection with works by Abstract Expressionists from other countries, among them the Catalan Antoni Tàpies y Antonio Saura.

Abstract art revolutionized how we understood artwork in terms of its conception as well as its perception;and it introduced a completely new course of action. Artists like Eduardo Chillida experimented with these tendencies as far as they could. There are many examples throughout the twentieth century where the synthesis of forms is complemented by other methods of experimentation: this is the case of Alexander Calder.

Abstract art was initially a challenge to the art system, not only in formal terms—as it definitively broke with academic teachings and realist schools—but by defying a system of values that was called into question when the war ended. Abstract artists were so radical that they assumed the role of apostles of the avant-garde, trumpeting the gospel of abstraction, sometimes as a spiritual process, and sometimes as the fruit of reason.

Artistas abstractos en la colección de Pedro Coronel exhibition will remain open to the public from Friday, February 12 to Sunday, July 17, 2016.

© MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE MONTERREY, 2016 | Zuazua y Jardón S/N, Centro. Monterrey, N.L. Mexico, 64000 | Ph. +52 (81) 8262.4500

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