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The story begins in 1944, following the end of the Spanish Civil War, Canogar moved his family to Madrid. Here he worked with fellow painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz. During this period Canogar's work was figurative and inspired by Spain's masters Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.

In the late 1950s, Canogar formed the El Paso art movement, a vital part of the modernisation of the Spanish avant-garde.

In the early 1960s, Canogar headed stateside were he gained international appraisal. He also made a bold move of abandoning informalism, which under Francisco Franco's regime was 'official' art.

Rafael Canogar, "Los Viajeros" (Travellers) Rafael Canogar, "Los Viajeros" (Travellers)

Rafael Canogar, The Punishment, 1969 Rafael Canogar, The Punishment, 1969

One of Canogar's most politically charged works was The Punishment, 1969, a three dimensional piece which featured wood, polyester and fibreglass. The piece depicts a man being beaten by a police officer, the piece shook the world as Canogar wanted to wake people up to the social unrest that defined those turbulent years in Francoist Spain.

Speaking about his work in an interview with the Tate in September 2015, Canogar explained his association with America's Pop art movement of the 1960s. ''My imagery was lifted from a range of communication media from outside Spain. During these years I made many trips abroad and spent extended periods of time in the USA (in 1965.) I wanted to keep a distance from American pop, mainly because the Spanish social and political context was very different from the American one.''

In regards to his work being part of the 2015-2016 The World Goes Pop exhibition at The Tate Modern,London, Canogar said: ''I didn’t use the term ‘pop’ to describe my work in those years, but I was occasionally labelled as such by critics and art journals. The terms on which I mostly relied were ‘realist period’ and ‘chronic of reality’. I wanted to keep a distance from American pop, mainly because the Spanish social and political context was very different from the American one.''

He described his ever-changing oeuvre: ''I have had a long career as an artist, more or less sixty years of exhibiting. My painting developed – like my country, like me, like the world. My different periods are part of my life and my history. I see these works as part of me.''

The work "Los Viajeros" (Travellers) featured in this article will be part of Duran's sale on April 27. Check out the full catalog here.

 

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