Antonio Leyva, gallery proprietor and author | Culture | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The Orfila gallery is situated within the coronary heart of Madrid subsequent to well-known areas devoted to the artwork commerce similar to Marlborough or, till just lately, Soledad Lorenzo (now, Odalys). Inaugurated in 1973 with an exhibition devoted to the Galician painter Laxeiro, the gallery's exercise has been a mirror of the mental and inventive lifetime of its proprietor, Antonio Leyva, who died final Tuesday in Madrid on the verge of turning 90. His son Antonio will proceed to guide the household enterprise, simply as he had been doing lately.

Antonio Leyva had not turned 40 when he determined to open Orfila, the identical 12 months during which Pablo Picasso, Pablo Neruda and Salvador Allende died, three historic figures that the brand new gallery proprietor admired above all others, and that is what he remembered in one of many publications. facsimiles edited to commemorate the gallery's 25 years. In May 2023, he commemorated half a century of existence in the identical house and with the identical kind of artists.

Historian and poet, with greater than 50 printed works, he had till then labored in companies linked to tradition. One of these jobs was within the first Antonio Machado Bookstore in Madrid, at quantity 17 Fernando VI Street, based in 1971, within the midst of late Francoism. There Leyva, a person dedicated to democracy and good relations with the opposition to the dictatorship, participated within the group of e book displays and literary debates, but in addition organized live shows, exhibitions and political rallies. One of the occasions that brought on him essentially the most disgust occurred within the early morning of October 28, 1971 when parafascist teams attacked three progressive bookstores in Madrid: Visor, Cultart and Antonio Machado. The three shops had agreed to dedicate their home windows to Pablo Picasso who was then turning 90 years previous. The painter's books, posters and prints that had been displayed behind the home windows obtained fireplace and paint.

Antonio Leyva in an image provided by the family.
Antonio Leyva in a picture offered by the household.

When Leyva determined to arrange on his personal and open his personal enterprise, he opted for an artwork gallery, an exercise during which there have been nonetheless few names who dared to publicize the work of up to date artists. There had been Juana Mordó, Elvira González and Fernando Mignoni (Theo), Evelyn Botella and Fernández-Brasso (previously Rayuela and Juan Gris), amongst others. Miguel Fernández-Brasso remembers Leyva as a cordial, refined and cultured man with whom he spoke extra about literature than artwork once they met at inaugurations or displays.

To inaugurate the primary of the greater than 600 exhibitions he has held at Orfila, he selected Laxeiro, “the most important Galician expressionist of our time and one of the most valuable in our country,” he wrote then. Laxeiro marked what was to be the popular programmatic line of the gallery, an impartial line that has been maintained all through half a century throughout which Orfila grew to become the oldest gallery in Madrid and one of many oldest in Spain. Some of the names of Orfila's creative quarry are Juan Barjola, Álvaro Delgado, Luis García Ochoa, Antonio Guijarro, Ángel Medina, Antonio Quirós, Eduardo Roldán, Agustín Úbed, Alberto Sánchez, Caneja or Maruja Mallo, amongst many others.

Direct dealings with artists

Foreign artists have additionally had their place within the listing of names proven at Orfila. The most stunning was exhibited in 1973 and was Elmyr de Hory, to whom Orson Welles had devoted a well-known documentary that was launched in Spain that 12 months. De Hory, the good forger, had been concerned in a number of scandals, trials and extradition requests that ended his life tragically.

The painter Juan Pita believes that the distinction between this gallery and others could also be within the direct dealings with the artists. Pita has labored with the founder and along with his son, Antonio Leyva Sanjuan, who for some years has co-directed the gallery along with his father. Pita explains that there aren’t any pressures or calls for, as there could also be in different kinds of institutions. In alternate, he feedback, Orfila doesn’t journey to festivals overseas. They additionally don’t go to Arco, an absence that Leyva Sanjuan explains by saying that they participated one 12 months, however then they weren’t admitted to an version and determined to not ask for it once more as a result of in a household enterprise like theirs every part is an expense they usually can’t compete with the massive companies. worldwide.

In one in every of his final interviews, granted to The Impartial, in 2021, was damage by the low esteem that there was for artwork: “The trickle of gallery closures in Madrid is continuous. It's a terrible situation. In the decades of the 70s and 80s there were just over 200 galleries in Madrid. Today there are 30 or 40 left. While, theoretically, the standard of living has risen and the population has increased, art has gone down.” Regarding his expectations of change for the gallery and the artists, he said that his aspiration was to proceed sustaining complicity and by no means aspire for something. “I don't have a penny. I survive and that's it. My life is that this. When I used to be 18 I printed my first e book and since then I’ve printed 40 or 50 extra. That's my world. “There is no further explanation.”

All the tradition that goes with you awaits you right here.



The literary information analyzed by the most effective critics in our weekly publication