Since its establishment in 1942, Santa Isabel de Hungría’s Advanced School was directed by Mr. José Hernández Díaz, who was presiding over Seville’s Santa Isabel de Hungría’s Royal Academy at the same time.
The School, from its beginning, was placed in Gonzalo Bilbao’s painting study, which was expanded by the acquisition of the other houses from the neighbor, making classrooms with skylights as two level studios and preserving the gorgeous garden with palm trees and mandarin trees where the student could rest and could get together. That atmosphere that tried to be educationally conservative, was at odds with the progressive principles in which Spain was already immersed. It was the time in music when The Beatles were modern underground references, with the Rolling’s rock, The Doors or Cream. In that garden guitar’s melodies could be heard at the breaks, where small groups gather together. Breakfasts and coffee breaks were served in bar Lobo, Pérez Aguilera’s afternoon break was at Casa Pepe, a small corner shop with a counter where the conversations talked about the young artists’ wish to succeed their freedom.
Art’s and society’s vision were changing by combined struggle from universities, workers’ unions, artists from every field and trend, and a large part of society. It was a general movement in the whole country. May 68 opened new doors and it was a huge referent. Spain notices about movement and wants openings.
Fine Arts in Andalucía were boiling with groups like Estampa Popular (Sevilla), which was headed for Francisco Cortijo, Cristóbal Aguilar, Francisco Cuadrado, Ronaldo Campos, Francisco Reina y Maruja Manrique. In Córdoba with Duarte from group 57, a group of spanish artists founded in Paris at Rond Point cafe. Contemporary Art had been off-limits in artistic education at the beginning of the 70’s decade, however, in the last years of dictatorship started an opening in order to show to the rest of the world that Spain was changing and updating.
Seville’s School, that was still focussed on custom and manners style with artists as Alfonso Groso, was reluctant to the new trends, but Contemporary Art was spreading through the students and some teachers who were involved in the new trend, thanks to the information brough by colleges and to somes standing galleries, such as Pasarela, the meetings at club Gorca, the beginning of the Museum of Contemporary Art at La Gavidia plaza, club Vida leaded by Jesuits in Trajano 57 street, and Juana Aizpuru’s gallery in Canalejas street, artistically directed by Francisco Molina.
November 20th of 1975 the dictator passed away. The current artistic movements already gave a huge step forward in a society willing to have an open culture without censorship. In the middle of the decade, when the School turned into Faculty, it was dependent on Seville’s University, and it had to choose a chairperson. A year before it was moved to Laraña street, to a remodeled building that belongs to the old Seville’s University.
This exhibition is a memory of some years that were the least of Santa Isabel de Hungría’s Advanced School, 1970/1974. The exhibition shown is a vision from those artists who lived the years of change and in which work can be seen a change in the direction, in some cases in the aesthetic and in others in narration to modernity.
José Luis Domínguez.