Blancovaras

(Agustín Blanco Varas, Madrid 1913 - Seville 1993)

At the age of four he lost his father. He studied at San Ildefonso School for Orphans, and afterwards received a scholarship to enter the San Fernando Royal School of Art, where he obtained his degree in 1933. Among his fellow students at the school figure Viladomat and Galvez Mata (sculptor). He then obtained grants to the Painters' Residence at the Alhambra (1933-34), Tossa de Mar, and Mallorca. In this period, his work was characterized by the prevalence of the drawing, with the line ruling over the colour.
Together with Modesto Ciruelos, Waldo Insúa, and others, he became a member of the Young Group of Action Artists, which set the Hall of Madrid's Independent Artists. He married in 1936, and, that same year, participated in the National Exhibition of Arts, aborted by the Civil War. Agustín fought in the Republican lines, and was taken prisoner at the end of the war, and held in the Yeserías and Ocaña prisons until 1941. During those years he made portraits of fellow prisoners as well as self-portraits.
Between 1942 and 1954 he lived in Madrid, where his wife, Lola, bore him three sons. During that time, he produced several medium-sized oil paintings, in which the previous predominant role of the drawing is softened. As a consequence of his political past he was not allowed to exhibit his work, but instead had to work in commercial art, - posters and advertising, as well as original drawings for postal stamps. He also collaborated with the well-known bookbinders, Brugalla (Barcelona) and Antolín Palomino (Madrid).
In 1954 he was hired by the Republic of El Salvador, where he established the School of Arts, as well as working on official portraits, murals, illustrations for postal stamps and government publications. His work was becoming more colourful, as seen in many of the nude paintings he did at that time. He also traveled to Spain regularly, where he painted landscapes and portraits.
Blancovaras finally returned to Spain for good in 1969, where he taught commercial art at The School of Arts & Crafts in Madrid until his retirement in 1978. During this time, he was doing small nude paintings, using acrylic paint for the first time, as well as painting still lifes and portraits in oil, and doing many ink drawings. He also won several public contests for the posters advertising Madrid's festivities of San Isidro. As opposed to his early works, in this later phase his colours overpowered the drawing.
He lost his sight in 1978, and partially recovered it in 1981, after which he did ink drawings of the Madrid of his youth. Several of these drawings now reside in the Madrid History Museum. In 1989, he became completely blind again, and he died in Seville in 1993.