Luis Marsans

Barcelona 1930 - 2015

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Lluís Marsans (Barcelona, 1930 – 2015) was born in Barcelona on December 31, 1930. During the years of the Spanish Civil War he moved to Paris with his family and returned to Barcelona in 1940. In 1947 he traveled, with his mother and brother, to the United States and Mexico, where his father lived. In New York, through Ismael Smith, with whom he establishes a relationship of friendship, he meets Salvador Dalí and discovers contemporary art. In 1948 he returned to Barcelona and decided to devote himself fully to painting. He began his pictorial training working in the studio of Ramon Rogent. At Rogent’s workshop he meets Joan Ponç, with whom he will always maintain a close friendship. As a result of this friendship, he has known, from his beginnings, the work of the artists of the group Dau al Set. Intuition, rather than direct knowledge of contemporary art, leads him to discover the Bauhaus and Malevich’s work. These interests lead him to try to meet Walter Gropius in Aix-en-Provence in the summer of 1949. The intervention of chance, always very present in the life of Lluís Marsans, will make that instead of meeting Gropius, the visit of a Cézanne’s exhibition will determine a change of orientation in his work. After seeing the great Cézanne’s exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, he reaffirms the aesthetic option that Rogent’s teaching had already shown him: the taste for a certain type of painting, clear and precise. In the early 1950s he left the Rogent workshop and continued his technical and aesthetic research alone. These events and his own evolution will lead him to make the decision to burn his previous work. From this burning the work La Mano was saved, at the time in the hands of Juan Eduardo Cirlot, a close friend of the artist. During this time he meets a Chinese artist who teaches him Chinese calligraphy, reaching a certain mastery of the brush, the trace and the line, which will be fundamental in his later work. The first work with which the new stage begins in 1953 are illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe's texts that have not been localized. During the years 1955-1960 he shared his dedication to painting with the work with José Antonio Coderch and in the editorial RM. Marcel Duchamp’s knowledge of Cadaqués intellectually seduces Marsans, as he sees the announcement of a new plastic language. This influence is concrete in the edition of Sis cils, in 1960. During the period 1960-1965 he dealt with the experiment of achieving a painting that integrates both figuration and abstraction. This experiment is reflected in the studies of the Suite Pacioli, small-format works where a profound interest in mathematics is evidenced. In 1972 he presented his work for the first time in public at the Galerie Trece in Barcelona. He exhibits there the illustrations of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. He works with the human figure and begins his flower drawings. From 1973 there is an alternation between abstract work and renewed attempts to meet the figuration. In this sense, he begins the landscape theme, on the one hand, and on the other, he publishes the Suite Anonyme in 1978. In the 1980s, Marsans’ figurative language addresses new topics, always with the secret intention of finding the true link between things. Thus the subjects of music, dead natures and books are slowly born and developed. From 1980, he regularly exhibits in Paris, Madrid, New York and Washington. In 1995, the City of Barcelona organized a monographical exhibition, “From Concept to Representation”, at the Palau de la Virreina. This same year he participates in the collective “Spanish Realism between two millennia”, in the Hall of the Passion of Valladolid, and presents individuals in the Sala de Armas de Ciutadella (Pamplona), in the Caixa Rioja Foundation (Logroño), in Palau Almudí (Murcia) and in the Casal Solleria (Palma de Mallorca). Later, after the 1990s, he exhibited in several renowned galleries in Barcelona, including the Sala d'Art Artur Ramon on multiple occasions.