Subirachs retouching one of his works. Photograph by Joan Iriarte
I was lucky enough to visit prolific sculptor and artist Henry Moore‘s home and studio in Hertfordshire. The eagle-eyed of you may have seen me post up many photos on my personal site, both of his iconic sculptures and studio interior. I suppose you can’t help but be influenced by such a place, especially inspired by the creativity and drive to express oneself. Henry Moore had these qualities in abundance, so I went looking for others who had a similar nature and story behind them.
One sculptor who followed a similar path to Henry, and was also inspired by Moore himself, was Barcelona born artist Josep Maria Subirachs. Growing up in a working class family, and due to a bad economic situation in the country, he was forced to abandon his hopes of studying architecture and work with a local gilder and amateur sculptor from the age of fourteen. Although early on he worked as a traditional sculptor he also experiment with many mediums and embodied the idea of creativity, this included painting, drawing, graphic art, tapestry, book illustration, jewellery and much more, for him all of these were unified.
On a personal level I’m drawn to his early abstract angular works, where they interlock and combine using mainly natural materials. It’s also interesting to note the textures on the surface of the forms, producing partial images to be completed in the mind of the viewer. With Subirachs work it’s particularly nice to see the progression throughout his lifetime, from traditional to abstract, veering back towards the traditional side whilst working on the Sagrada Família in his later life. Obviously you can see all these documented on his dedicated webpage linked below, but I’ve decided to place some of my favourite examples of his work here on the site for all to enjoy.
Hieron by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1959 (stone)
Subirachs working on the plaster model of one of the doors that would later be cast in bronze and placed in the Passion façade of the Sagrada Família temple in Barcelona. Photo by Jordi Estruch y Massana.
Commemorative Monument by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1959 (concrete and stone)
Subirachs working on a plate for an etching, 1972
Complementary by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1961 (stone and polychrome wood)
Wood and Stone by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1961 (stone and polychrome wood)
Subirachs modelling the face of President Francesc Macià. Photo by Miquel Galmes, 1982.
Vertical by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1966 (wood and stone)
Subirachs drawing, 1961
Vertical Horizontal by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1962 (bronze and alabastre)
Subirachs in the studio where he modelled the sculpture Evocation of the Sea, inaugurated in 1960 in the Barceloneta district of Barcelona. Photo by Francisco Gómez, 1959.