A number of Basque artists have a prominent place in the art history of the 20th century: Julio Gonzalez 1876 – 1942, Jorge Oteiza 1908 – 2003 and Eduardo Chillida 1924 – 2002.
They are connected by the material character with which they (mainly) created their sculptures: Iron wire, Iron, Steel and Corten steel.
A striking fact: Pablo Picasso apprenticed with Julio Gonzalez to master the technique of welding and working with iron in general.
Jorge Oteiza, who was also an important theorist, publicist and teacher with regard to time and space in the creation of sculpture, remains too unknown in the history of visual art today. This has been partly remedied by the Museo Jorge Oteiza (near Pamplona), which, in addition to a special overview of the master’s work, can certainly be considered architecturally one of the most successful museums worldwide.
And speaking of architecture, the Museo Universidad de Navarra is also impressive. The sculptors already mentioned have work in the permanent collection. Their drawings also deserve attention as reflective interpretations of their sculptural language.
Conclusion: the three sculptors have each expanded and enriched the language of 20th century sculpture in their own unique way.