Eduardo Arroyo

Eduardo Arroyo is a Spanish painter, sculptor and theater designer. He was born in 1937 into a bourgeois family in Madrid. His father was a pharmacist, a right-wing man and a Phalangist.
The last days of Pompeii Madrid, 1969. Six lettuces, a knife and three peelings, 1965.
Arroyo studied at the Lycée Français, then at the School of Journalism. In 1958, he left Spain in opposition to Franco. When he arrived in Paris, he gave up journalism to devote himself to his art.
In 1960, he participated at the Salon de la Jeune Peinture. He befriended the Haitian artist Hervé Télémaque, initiator with Bernard Rancillac of the Narrative Figuration movement. In 1964 and 1965, Eduardo Arroyo participated in exhibitions on the new figurations organized by the art critic Gérald Gassiot-Talabot (Daily Mythologies, Narrative Figuration in Contemporary Art) and in a short time became, in France, one of the essential protagonists of the figurative avant-garde with a strong political content.
Activist in May 68, more than ever militant against Franco's policies, he was arrested in 1974 on Spanish territory, from where he was expelled. He obtained in France the status of political refugee. After Franco's death, he returned to Spain, where he received official recognition.
His work presents militant periods, or at least violently critical ones, and familiar periods, often tenderly humorous. The images of Pop Art, so close to the world of advertising and the press, nourish his particular imagination, which has made such famous series as those of Mussolini, Franco and Hitler or illustrious figures of the Catholic Church.
After Franco's death, Eduardo Arroyo returned to Spain, a country in which he now felt like a stranger. He explored new themes and characters, notably a boxer, a metaphor for the artist. The return of Spain to democracy defuses the protest and accusatory dimension of Arroyo's pictorial proposal.
Since 1969 he has collaborated with directors, in particular with Klaus Michael Grüber, in the creation of theater sets. Eduardo Arroyo also works with other materials (collage, sculpture, ceramics, lithography, engraving) which allows him to return to oil painting with greater force.
In the 1980s his manifesto canvases are painted in very bright colors, in flat tints. He is the author of two stories: In 1982, Panama Al Brown (world champion boxer intimately supported by Jean Cocteau) and in 1989, Sardines in oil.
In 1997, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne exhibited his "Suite Senefelder" and Co., consisting of 102 prints made from abandoned images, as a tribute to Aloys Senefelder, along with his paintings dedicated to boxing. In 1998, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid presented the first anthological exhibition of the work of Eduardo Arroyo.
In 2003 and 2004 the traveling exhibition of the cycle "Arte español para el extranjero" showed his paintings in Hungary, Romania, Russia and Luxembourg.
A man of many facets, Arroyo deploys his talent in fields as diverse as drama, stage design, ceramics and writing. It is in this sense that nothing escapes the discerning eye of this contemporary storyteller.
In 2017, the Maeght Foundation devoted an important retrospective to him, which would be his last major public presentation. The artist passed away in his native Madrid in October 2018; he was 81 years old.
Today, his work is in the collections of the most important museums, such as MoMA in New York, Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao.
On view in spring 2021 at the Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York in the exhibition Narrative Figuration. 

Robinson Crusoe, 1965.

Arroyo by Jean-Luc Chalumeau
Eduardo Arroyo, born and died in Madrid, 1937-2018, was first a militant anti-Franco journalist. Forced to take refuge in France in 1958, he settled in Paris and joined the Salon de la Jeune Peinture, which he largely contributed to radically politicizing.

In 1965, with Gilles Aillaud and Antonio Recalcati, he produced a series of eight paintings denouncing the role of Marcel Duchamp, which he saw as a hostage in the service of capitalism. Living and Letting Die or the Tragic End of Marcel Duchamp created a shock. The work is now installed in the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid. It was lent in 2002 to the British critic Sarah Wilson for her exhibition Paris, Capital of the Arts 1900-1968, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Living and Letting Die... conceived by Arroyo alone and made with six hands is indeed considered an emblematic work of the Narrative Figuration.

Another well-known painting, present at the New York exhibition, Six Lettuces, a Knife and Three Peelings (1965), insidiously attacks the image of Napoleon Bonaparte, a figure obviously detested by the Spanish revolutionary Eduardo Arroyo.
The last days of Pompeii Madrid, 1969.