Friends in high places

André Breton and Eugenio Granell 1941 André Breton and Eugenio Granell 1941

Granell's friends included Wifredo Lam as well as many other Spanish, Latino and South American artists. In 1952, Granell travelled to New York with fellow Spanish artist José Vela Zanetti, who too was in exile from Spain. The artists had met in the Dominican Republic. Zanetti introduced Granell to Marcel Duchamp.

In New York, Granell's work became immersed in the world of Surrealism, exhibited alongside pieces by Duchamp, Max Ernst and René Magritte.

In 1959, André Breton curated The Homage to Surrealism Exhibition to celebrate the Fortieth Anniversary of Surrealism. The show focused on the work of Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró as well as Eugenio Granell.

Wifredo Lam, Benjamin Péret, Eva Slucer, Eugenio Granell, Rafael Ferrer in Paris, 1954 Wifredo Lam, Benjamin Péret, Eva Slucer, Eugenio Granell, Rafael Ferrer in Paris, 1954

Marcel Duchamp and Eugenio Granell in 1950s Marcel Duchamp and Eugenio Granell in 1950s

Although he found success abroad, Granell paid homage to his Spanish homeland with an essay of his study of Picasso's Guernica, which earned him his PhD from the New Scholl for Social Research.

Exile

In 1939, before Granell had ever put paintbrush to canvas, he went into exile. He came to France, where he eventually escaped camps to Paris. His associations with Marxism would mean, throughout his career, he was on the move, in a constant state of exile.

In 1940, Granell arrived at the Dominican Republic. It was not until 1941 that he began to paint. By 1942 his work was part of the Private Exhibit of Modern Spanish Painters. However, it was his solo exhibition in 1943, which marked him out as a Surrealist artist as Granell presented 44 works of Surrealism.

On the move once again, Granell moved to Guatemala in 1946. As the revolution broke out in the country, Granell was forced to leave as his views were challenged for being anti communist.

Eugenio Fernández Granell, Los establos de Salomón, 1976 Eugenio Fernández Granell, Los establos de Salomón, 1976

Eugenio Fernández Granell, El escultor meticuloso, 1974 Eugenio Fernández Granell, El escultor meticuloso, 1974

The Spanish artist's work is vibrant with the experiences he had travelling, a blend of Caribbean and Spanish cultures. His works are influenced by Cubism as well the natural elements and indigenous art of the Americas, all with a touch of humour, which Grenell described as "Humour, [is] our only defence against tedium.''

Return to Spain

In 1985 Granell returned to Spain, where he was finally recognized for the contribution he had made to Spanish art, Surrealism in particular. In 1995, the Fundación Eugenio Granell was built in his home town Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. The institution is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to surrealism, with around 600 works by Granell as well as pieces by Picabia, Duchamp, Man Ray, Miró, and many other surrealist artists.

The two works featured will be included in Duran Subastas' auction from 19th to 20th July, 2017. Check out the full catalogue here.

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