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ZUMETA, Usurbil 1939



Zumeta was born in 1939 in Usurbil (Guipuzcoa, Basque Country, Spain) and he is one of the main representatives of 20th century Basque Art. Thanks to his artistical features and personality, he stands as the most prominent figure of that style known as Basque Neo-expressionism. A rich, generous palette radiates from his works, which unceasingly transmit the artist's infinite energy.

Zumeta's works are mainly based on the use of pure color, his painting's most expressive element; to him, color is sheer emotion, and out of emotions, intense energy will spring out and give significance to everything... Form coming out of colors : this could be Zumeta art's guiding rule. His canvases start from the very color stain and color itself shows him the subtle way to the work's achievement.

Zumeta : Praise and Loyalty to Painting / by Carlos Martínez Gorriarán

One could label Jose Luis Zumeta as one of those basic painters who, having forsaken those trendy language and metalanguage puns which other contemporary artists had already succumbed to, turn out to be absolutely indispensable to us... Why ? For they just can paint to feel surprised by their work and to surprise us through that pictorial challenge, unceasingly renewed, always the very same and somehow and still, different. We have here one of those works that sets up by itself a continuous and magnificent praise of the game of painting.

On the other hand, Zumeta is one of the artists more representative of the prompt and specific process undergone by Basque modern art in the aftermath of the spanish civil war, when seen as the result of the conjunction of international art's recent vanguards and the urgent need to put an end to Franco's regime isolationism and local conservatism. He was one of the founders of the Gaur group and he quickly became an established Basque vanguard artist. However, his nonconformist heterodox works stand for one of the most genuine examples of creative freedom in Basque Country, where ideological prejudice has always been widespread. Today, Zumeta has become a classic that no one can't ignore, thanks to a sense of coherence whose secret is reflected in this statement he made, back in 1979 : « Commitment is to oneself; if you're not loyal to yourself, you can't be loyal to anyone ».


arteko gallery of contemporanean art
c/ Iparraguirre, 4. 20001 Donostia-San Sebastián
Tel. +34 943 297 545
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Tuesday: 16:30 - 20:30, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 11:00 - 13:00 and 16:30 - 20:30 - Saturday: 11 - 13:30