Passion for Spanish modernity
IN her native Madrid, Ana Vázquez de Parga, a secret but fundamental figure of our artistic scene, has passed away at the age of 82. Educated at the Colegio Estudio and the Complutense, modern culture surrounded her since she was a child, as the daughter of the unforgettable marriage formed by the historian Luis Vázquez de Parga and the archivist Consuelo Gutiérrez del Arroyo. For many, starting with the four daughters (Consuelo, Margarita, Marietta, and Ana) and the couple’s only son (Luis), the Vázquez de Parga villa in Jarama, in El Viso, lined with books, paintings, photographs and sculptures (among others, by Ángel Ferrant), was a space of freedom and modernity in the gray post-war Madrid.
Married to the painter Joaquín Pacheco, with whom she had her only daughter, Sara, during part of the 1960s and 1970s they lived in Paris, in an attic on rue des Écoles.
There she worked at Robert Delpire’s pioneering advertising agency. José Bergamín, dazzled by her beauty, then dedicated one of the sections (‘Ana’) of his collection of poems ‘La clara desierta’ (1973) to her.
Returning to Madrid, she successively directed the Biosca, Ponce, and Ruiz-Castillo galleries, and treated Maruja Mallo, Caneja, Álvaro Delgado and Cristino de Vera, the latter of whom she would curate the 1994 retrospective at the MEAC.
An expert in our historical avant-gardes, she actively dealt with the work of a Jarama regular, the aforementioned Ferrant, casting some of his reliefs in bronze and curating his 1983 retrospective at the Palacio de Cristal.
Even more important was his work on behalf of Óscar Domínguez, whom he had exhibited at Biosca in 1973 thanks to the collaboration of Maud and Eduardo Westerdahl.
In close contact with the former, who in the Paris of the forties had been the companion of the surrealist painter, she contributed decisively to the ordering of his work, an arduous task, given the abundance of fakes.
In 1996 he curated his retrospective at the Reina Sofía. Always in a Sunday key, he participated in the work prior to the inauguration of the Tenerife TEA, when it was still called IODACC, the O and D corresponding to the initials of ‘Drago de Canarias’.
In a more dispersed order, mention should be made of the collective ‘Spanish Natures’ that in 1987 he curated with Calvo Serraller for the Reina Sofía; that of 1990 for the CAAM on European symbolism; ‘Istmos’, in 1995, for Caja Madrid; that of 1991 on the fifties, for the Community of Madrid; retrospectives of Frida Kahlo, Pancho Cossío, Baltasar Lobo or Antonio Saura; or his contribution (“Art is not learned, it is apprehended”) to the catalog of the exhibition on Study organized by the Residencia de Estudiantes (2009).
The death, in 2016, of her second husband, the architect José Antonio López Candeira, would mark for her the beginning of a total withdrawal from the art world.
JUAN MANUEL BONET