Un mundo (A World)

Ángeles Santos

Portbou, Girona, Spain, 1911 - Madrid, Spain, 2013

If there was one work that caused a stir in Madrid’s Salón de Otoño (Autumn Salon) in 1929, it was unquestionably Un mundo (A World) by a young and unknown painter called Ángeles Santos. The monumental painting, standing at 3 x 3 metres and executed in Valladolid by an artist who lacked first-hand knowledge of what was being produced in Europe during that period, mesmerised the intelligentsia at the time. Ramón Gómez de la Serna would write: “At the Salón de Otoño, submerged in the Retiro, a wreckage of leaves and mud, a revelation has emerged: the revelation of a seventeen-year-old girl. Ángeles Santos, who appears as the painting’s Saint Teresa, listening to doves and stars which dictate the feel her paintbrushes must have”. Santos made a surprising, original and modern work built around references taken from her immediate surroundings and from avant-garde magazines and publications. The most important of these was Franz Roh’s book Magic Realism: Post-Expressionism, which, translated into Spanish in 1927, gave her insight, through photos at least, into the work of artists such as Joan Miró and members of the so-called New Objectivity from Germany, with which Un mundo has much in common.

Raúl Martínez Arranz