A portico to vindicate the figure of the painter

The contemporary gaze of Félix de la Concha inaugurates the artistic season at the Museo Lázaro Galdiano


There will be painting as long as there is existence. My concept of painting is the interpretation of light". These are the words of the painter Félix de la Concha (León, 1962) at the opening of an unusual exhibition, which aims to establish a multiple dialogue between the work created in the very space that is to be represented and reality. Portico is thus an exhibition created especially for this purpose and made up of seven oil paintings on panel and canvas, including two triptychs which, painted by the artist inside and outside the museum before the pandemic, will coexist with pieces from the Museo Lázaro Galdiano's unique collection until mid-November.  

The painter himself explains that this exhibition was born in 2019 when the museum offered him the possibility of temporarily setting up his studio in the Portico de Parque Florido, the old main entrance to the palace, to paint the two triptychs that are now on display in the same space. And, once they were completed at the beginning of that summer, the artist painted from the garden the exterior views that are now on display in the Gallery of the Ballroom of this palace, located next to one of the most important arteries in the heart of Madrid. 


Félix de la Concha, who trained at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Madrid and at the Spanish Academy in Rome, eventually settled and took up residence in the United States, where he has spent most of his artistic career. De la Concha himself points out that the current exhibition in the Spanish capital establishes an analogy with the one he already made in Pittsburgh at the dawn of the present century, which he entitled Against the Clock, A Race Against Time, an ambitious project on the portico of Clayton, the mansion of another great collector, the magnate Henry Frick.  

De la Concha establishes the relationship between the two exhibitions. He claims to start from the environment he inhabits, or which inhabits him, and in which there is always a meditation on space and time. "In my works I try to reflect the experience of being there, evolving with the passing of the days and with the place I pass through. I also try to create in the spectator the experience of entering into my gaze, offering at the same time counterpoints and subtle references, details to be seen from different angles so that, through attention and pause, the public can create their own vision". 


The realism of his works has allowed him to specialise in portraits, so that hundreds of people and characters have been immortalised by his brushes, which have also made him a "landscape portraitist", especially in environments in Spain and the United States.  

With regard to the work on display, he himself is quick to respond to criticism: "Although it seems easy to paint what you see, it is a challenge to the interpretation of reality, which is broader than what can be reflected on a flat surface, so the artist is always obliged to make his own reading". 


At a time when technology seems to be conquering all fields, Pórtico wants to vindicate the figure of the painter in an exhibition that, according to the artist, aims to be above all a delight. "A special start to this artistic season at the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, which will be full of stimuli for the spectator", says its director Begoña Torres.