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Fernando Zobel

In his mid-thirties, Fernando Zobel decided to retire from the family business to live in Spain and pursue the life of a fulltime artist. His work had evolved into pure non-objectivism with the introduction of the Saeta series. This shift in Zobel’s artistic style, which transpired in the 1960s, continues to be an exemplary standard of Philippine abstraction today.
Zobel’s journey into pure non-objectivism and minimal color defined his work in this decade.  The fine, calligraphic lines of the Saetas evolved into the vigorous and painterly Serie Negra works that recall both American Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline (1910-1962) and Japanese sumi-e paintings, as seen in Vasata (1960) and Icaro (1962).
In the mid-1960s, the gestural lines dissolve into atmospheric tonalities, similar to the color field paintings of Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and the landscapes of British artist J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). El Balcon II (1964) and Pausa Clara (1966) are representative of Zobel’s range in this particular phase. Towards the end of the decade, pictorial space transformed into stark landscapes defined by geometric forms with an implicit perspective, as revealed in the majestic Las Soledades de Lope de Vega (1968).
Ayala Museum pays homage to Zobel not only for his artistic legacy but also for envisioning the foundation of an art and iconography museum as part of the overall development of the Ayala Center in Makati.The museum’s Fernando Zobel collection is part of its permanent displays and is exhibited in its Third Floor Galleries.

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