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Last modified 6-12-15
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Joan Gardy Artigas (Spanish, b. 1938)

Sculptures / Sculptures 2 / Sculptures 3 / Drawings / Drawings 2
Lithographs / Lithographs 2 / Lithographs 3 / Lithographs 4 / Lithographs 5 / Lithographs 6
Etchings / Etchings 2

Artigas speech at University of Wisconsin: "Eroticizing the World"

Spanish Art: Artigas / Bru / Chillida / Guinovart / Lledos / Miro / Palazuelo / Picasso / Rafols-Casamada / Saura / Tapies
Joan GardyArtigas (b. 1938) is a living embodiment of the modernist art movement. The son of Josep Llorens Artigas, Picasso’s and Miró’s favorite ceramicist, Artigas grew up surrounded by both the art and the artists who revolutionized twentieth-century art. Impressed into service as Miró’s assistant as a teenager, he left Spain several years later both to escape the oppressive Franco regime and to try and establish an independent artistic identity. After a period as a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, he became friends with the sculptor Alberto Glacometti and, opening a ceramics atelier in Paris, worked with Georges Braques and Marc Chagall. When his father became too frail to work, Miró called him back to Spain and a twenty-year partnership—broken only by Miró’s declining health in 1981—ensued. The fruits of this partnership can be seen in large ceramic murals and sculptures all over the world including ceramic murals for Harvard University, UNESCO (Paris), Fondation Maeght (St. Paul), the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, the Barcelona airport, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Haack Museum (Ludwigshafen), IBM Headquarters (Barcelona), and a 60-metre (200 foot) ceramic mural for the Palais des Expositions et des Congres de Madrid; he and Miró also collaborated on a 22-metre (73 foot) ceramic sculpture for a fountain in Barcelona.

In addition to his work with Miró, he has made a number of monumental public sculptures including a monumental work in Zurich, a large fountain for Vitry-sur-Seine, La Porta Blanca, an 8.5-metre (28 foot) cement and bronze sculpture for Chamonix, Forma de dona for Plateau d’Assy, Porta per una ciutat, an 11-metre (36 foot) scupture outside Barcelona, La porta de Franca, a 15-metre (50 foot) sculpture on the French side of the tunnel at Mont-Blanc, Terra I foc, a 15-metre (50 foot) work for "la Caixa," Barcelona, and works for Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, London, the Fonda Europa de Granollers, Barcelona, and the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca, and sculpture gardens in London and Tokyo. He also participated in several architectural projects with the firm of Skidmore Owings, and Merrill, making ceramic floors and fountains in Atlanta, Chicago, Cairo, Egypt. Artigas began exhibiting his own smaller ceramic and bronze sculptures in France and Spain during the mid-1960s and began making lithographs and etchings in 1966. He has had a number of commissions for large public sculptures (in bronze, ceramics, and concrete) in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. and has had shows in many European, Japanese, and American galleries and museums, including The Meadows Museum of Spanish Art at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Hispanic Institute in New York, and Galerie Lelong in Paris. A major retrospective of his works in all media was held at the Tecla Sala Centre Cultural in Barcelona in 1996 and a large exhibition documenting Miró’s collaborations with Josep Llorens Artigas and Joan Gardy Artigas was held at the Fundació Pilar I Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca in 1998. Spaightwood Galleries gave him his first U.S. one-person show in 1982, and has included his work in shows almost every year since, with one-person shows usually every two to three years.

He has been a visting artist at the UW—Madison, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He serves on the board of the Fondation Miro in Barcelona and is Director of the Fundació Tallers Josep Llorens Artigas in Gallifa, Spain, which he created in 1989 in memory of his father and to provide a place where artists from all parts of the world come together to work for a period of up to six months.

Bibliography: The major work on Artigas is the 122-page catalog for his 1996 retrospective, Gardy Artigas á la Tecla, which in addition to illustrating many of his works, brings together a number of texts that previously appeared in other gallery catalogs and lists his major shows and gives a full bibliography of writings about him. See also: Derriere le Miroir No. 150: 5 Peintres et 1 Sculpteur.Amable Arias, Jean Capdeville, Gerard F. Romanger, Claude Garache, Matieu, Joan Gardy-Artigas (Paris: Maeght, 1965); M. Cruz, Espace Gard: Joan Gardy Artigas. Tauromachie (Nimes: Galerie La Salamandre, 1990) , J. P. Lemesle, Gardy Artigas. Sculptures. Reliefs (Zürich: Galerie Maeght, 1975); Jose Galvan, M. Moreno & Jean Pierre Lemesle, Llorens Artigas, Joanet Gardy Artigas with an original lithographic cover by Joan Miró (Mallorca: Sala Pelaires, 1971); Anne McPherson, ed., Miró: Playing with Fire. With Essays By Joan Punyet Miro, Joan Gardy Artigas, John Bentley Mays, Rosa Maria Malet, Edward Lebow and Anne McPherson (Toronto: George R Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, 2000); Georges Raillard, Joan Gardy Artigas. Sculptures, dessins (Paris: Galerie Maeght Lelong, 1985).
Platre / Plaster. Original color lithograph, 1968. 75 signed and numbered impressions published by Maeght Editeur in Paris. This work is related to a series of fragmentary plaster sculptures Artigas was making at the time. Artigas has explained his love of lithography as follows: "If I want power, impact, a startling image, I use lithography. With the technique of printing directly off the stone, it is possible to get a maximum of ink on the paper. This ... allows ... powerful color." Image size: 865x595mm. Price: $900.
La danse ininterompue / The uninterrupted dance. Original color lithograph, 1972. 75 signed and numbered impressions on Rives published by Maeght Editeur in Paris. Artigas has explained his love of lithography as follows: "If I want power, impact, a startling image, I use lithography. With the technique of printing directly off the stone, it is possible to get a maximum of ink on the paper. This ... allows ... powerful color." The torso is too brown: it should be gray; then the sky should be black as night. This lithograph is based upon Tintoretto's Creation of the Milky Way, which depicts the moment that Juno, awakening to discover that Jove is trying to get the infant Hercules to suck from her breast, which would make him immortal, twists away from her husband's illegitimate child and her breast milk shoots out, creating the Milky Way in the heavens. Here, the universe is being born in the energy shooting out from the hips of the nude figure suggesting that the universe runs on sexual energy. Image size: 645x590mm. Price: $700.
L'ange de la morte / The angel of death. Original etching, 1975. 75 signed and numbered impressions on Arches published by Maeght Editeur in Paris. Ours is an HC impression acquired directly from the artist. Artigas has explained his love of etchings as follows: "If I want a secret image with a magic quality, I turn to etching. The pressure of the damp paper will insure that the intensity of the black, the relief of the features etched on the copper will remain on the paper, giving it a richness and a finesse that forces us to look closely at it, making us wish to hold the etching in our hands, to feel the quality of the paper. The result is a work more secret, more intimate—more precious." Image size: 393x297mm on 695x500mm Arches paper. Price: $850.
The geography of desire. Original color lithograph, 1979. 75 signed and numbered impressions published by Maeght Editeur in Paris. Artigas has explained his love of lithography as follows: "If I want power, impact, a startling image, I use lithography. With the technique of printing directly off the stone, it is possible to get a maximum of ink on the paper. This ... allows ... powerful color." Image size: 501x322mm. Price: $650.
Composition 1. Original drawing, 1982. Executed during Artigas' first visit to Spaightwood Galleries in Madison Wisconsin. Image size: 320x408mm. Price: $1850.
Scene de la vie courante / Image of daily life. Original color lithograph, 1984. 80 signed and numbered impressions on Arches published by Galerie Maeght Lelong in Paris. Artigas has explained his love of lithography as follows: "If I want power, impact, a startling image, I use lithography. With the technique of printing directly off the stone, it is possible to get a maximum of ink on the paper. This ... allows ... powerful color." Unfortunately, this photograph is not true to the colors of the lithograph. The left side of the print, should be seen in gray slate and lavender (the polygon in the mid-left foreground), the green top left should be deeper, and the shapes top right should be closer to flesh color. Finally, on the right side, the shapes like striking serpents or hungry nestling birds should begreenish-gray. Image size: 596x755mm. Price: $700.
Objet charnel. Ceramic sculpture with acrylic paint, 1983. Executed while Artigas' was a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison . Size: 530x540x320mm. Price: $8250.
Objet organique. Ceramic sculpture with acrylic paint, 1983. Executed while Artigas' was a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison . Size: 415x620x260mm. Price: $8250.
Paysage à la mine de plomb. Original drawing, 1994. Image size: 517x662mm. Price: $2500.
Dialogue. Original mixed-media drawing, 1997. Signed lower right. Image size: 506x655mm. Price: $2500.
Transgression, punishment, responsibility, forgiveness. Original color lithograph, 1998. 100 signed and numbered impressions on wove paper published by Graven Images, Madison WI. This lithograph was commissioned for Transgression, punishment, responsibility, forgiveness: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Madison: University of Wisconsin Lawschool 1998). When I asked him which quadrant was devoted to which concept, he replied that each viewer will have to make that decision for themselves. Image size: 268x194mm. Price: $400.

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