César Manrique (1919-1992) was a painter, sculptor, architect and artist. Native to the island of Lanzarote, he combined his work with the defense of environmental values in the Canary Islands. He strove for harmony between art and nature as a creative space.
After completing his studies at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid (where he lived between 1945 and 1964), he frequently exhibited his paintings both within and outside of Spain. At the beginning of the 1950s, he began working in non-figurative art and investigated the qualities of this area, to such an extent that it became the essential protagonist of his pieces. He consequently had links – just like other Spanish painters such as Antoni Tàpies, Lucio Muñoz, Manuel Millares, etc. – to the informalist movement of these years. He traveled across the world and lived for years in New York. In 1966 he definitively returned to Lanzarote. On the island, which was then just beginning its tourism development, he promoted an intervention model based on sustainability, which would ensure the safeguarding of the natural and cultural patrimony of the island, a model which was decisive in the declaration of Lanzarote as a Bisphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.
He created a new and beautiful ideology, which he named art-nature/nature-art, and which he was able to consolidate in his spatial interventions, a unique example of public art in Spain: Jameos del Agua, his Tahíche house – today the headquarters of the César Manrique Foundation – Mirador del Río viewpoint, Cactus Garden, and a long etcetera. Furthermore, he conceived different designs on other islands – Costa Martiánez, Puerto de la Cruz, in Tenerife; Mirador de El Palmarejo viewpoint, in La Gomera; Mirador de La Peña viewpoint, in El Hierro. As well as outside of the Canary archipelago, in: Ceuta: Parque Marítimo del Mediterráneo, Madrid: Madrid-2 shopping mall, La Vaguada shopping mall, etc.
Among others, he obtained the World Ecology and Tourism Award and the Europa Nostra Award. César Manrique strove for harmonization which was ultimately not solely focused on his passion for beauty, but also for life.
He died in a car accident in 1992, close to the headquarters of the foundation which takes his name, founded in March of the same year.
The Foundation, located in the old residence of the artist in Taro Tahíche, today houses his works (sculptures, sketches, paintings, etc.) as well as those of other artists. If you have the opportunity to visit the island of Lanzarote do not let this trip pass you by, you are sure to be amazed!
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