IVAM Collection


The permanent collection is undoubtedly the epicenter of IVAM. This is a unique collection, which is one of the most outstanding in Spain and has enabled the IVAM became a museum with great personality. It has an enviable artistic heritage with works from different geographies and cultural contexts: Valencian artists, Spanish, European, Latin American, North American…

Since it began to form in 1985, enriched by continuous acquisitions and donations, with sets of such notable works as Julio González (1876-1942) and Ignacio Pinazo (1849-1916), the IVAM collection has been structured around some conceptual and historical axes that ply the historical avant-garde of the early twentieth century, leading into the second half of that century.

A detailed study of the collection material leads to the conclusion that the innovative and experimental nature of modernism and avant-garde traverses much of the works related to the first four decades of the twentieth century.

Today the collection features the impressive number of 11,322 works in various disciplines: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, installation, etc.

JULIO GONZÁLEZ INTERNATIONAL PRIZE was established in 2000. The award is given in order to honor artists who stand out for their international projection and their contribution to the modern art development. List of winners

History and mission

The IVAM (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern – Valencian Institute of Modern Art) was created in 1986 as a public corporation by the Cortes Valencianas (Valencian Parliament), and its main headquarters, the Centre Julio González, was inaugurated in 1989 in the centre of the city of Valencia. Its basic objective is the pursuit of the cultural policy of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian Regional Government) with regard to the knowledge, tutelage, fomentation and diffusion of modern and contemporary art and its associated activities. To this end, it carries out a programme of exhibitions and sensitisation through strategies and alliances of territorialisation and internationalisation, where the field of art is viewed as an active intersection of heterogeneous relations linked among themselves.

Julio González

The work of Julio González (Barcelona, 1876 – Arcueil, France, 1942) has contributed decisively to the development of contemporary sculpture. Lying fully at the intersection of the new languages that evolved in the first decades of the last century, the constructive proposals of this artist are among the most authentic expressions of the modern sensibility, laden with reason, feeling and hope.

The acquisition and donation in July 1985 of a set of 360 works (sculptures, drawings, work in precious metals, paintings and reliefs) and of part of the artist’s archive marked the starting point of the IVAM project, and has had a profound effect on the centre’s collection and exhibitions focusing on the art that best expresses the anxieties and concerns of each period. The IVAM’s collection of works by Julio González makes it a worldwide referent for those exploring the evolution of the different sensibilities converging on the field of sculpture. This magnificent representation from the artist’s legacy was reinforced with a significant selection of works by his brother Joan, from the Paris years, and by his daughter Roberta, who worked to ensure the diffusion and appreciation of her father’s work.

Born into a family of craftsmen who ran a metal workshop in the Barcelona of modernisme (art nouveau), a time of great architectural projects in the city, González learned the techniques of metalwork during his youth. However, his creative aspirations, which he shared with his brother Joan, encouraged him to broaden his academic training before moving to Paris in 1900. After his arrival in the French capital, his creative vocation was consolidated through contact with artistic circles and figures of the stature of Pablo Gargallo and Pablo Picasso.

His collaboration with the latter in the late 1920s, centred on a series of projects for metal sculptures, was crucial for González. While he showed Picasso the plastic possibilities that iron had attained through several generations of craftsmanship, the consequences were even greater in the case of the Catalan sculptor, who saw the alternative of a formal renovation in his creative practice. He dedicated himself fully to sculpture, beginning a singular career that was to produce surprising results. In the following decade, he took part in some of the most advanced exhibitions of the day, such as the international show of the Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square) movement organised by Torres-García and Michel Seuphor, which included works by artists like Mondrian, Arp, Pevsner, Kandinsky and Le Corbusier, and whose repercussion was enormous.

Julio González used the procedures of autogenous welding to create metal assemblages from rods, plates and a variety of objects, generating pieces based on the absence of solid mass and the principle of constructed sculpture. He adapted his skill at welding and forging to the new demands of an art open to the great themes and challenges which were to mark the rise of the modern spirit, faced with great tragedies that truncated the hankering after progress. With his exquisite technique, he penetrated his material to achieve highly evocative works on the basis of a combination of planes, lines and forms that complement, intersect or rival one another. In the 1930s, he made sculptures of great importance for his artistic career. These works employ a variety of themes and techniques that reflect the artist’s determination to leave us an artistic legacy projected towards both the future and the past from a specific time and place. His heads, his women, his masks and his arms maintain a fine balance between abstraction and figuration that transmits the restrained emotion proper to human nature.

In surveying the sculptural work of Julio González, it is largely possible to identify an early phase characterised by a formal analysis through planes, with cut and welded plates. Afterwards there emerges another linear form which allows him to advance in the expression of the three-dimensional and dynamic character of his figures. His third path of formal investigation is distinguished by the positive use of empty space, materialising in the effects of light and shadow obtained by the use of curved plates. Finally, we find a naturalist manner that is accentuated in his final years after his contribution to the Pavilion of the Spanish Republic at the International Exposition in Paris, where he exhibited La Montserrat. The work chosen by González was originally Woman in front of a Mirror, but the opinion of José Gaos, the curator of the pavilion, finally prevailed, and the sculpture presented was the one that incarnated resistance against barbarity. The first option was destined for another exhibition whose intentions were more specifically artistic, Origins and Development of International Independent Art, held that year at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, which constituted the first systematic overview of the artistic trends of the 20th century.

Another factor of variety found in the work of Julio González, which blends in with the syntactic factor, lies in the perseverance of themes like motherhood, masks, feminine and dancing figures and dreams. This persistence of themes responds to a tradition in classical sculpture that receives new formal solutions in the hands of the artist.

Julio González remains the mirror in which we see and confront ourselves when we wish to seek the most essential and complex aspects of the aesthetic experience in its most innovative and human manifestation. His investigations of the expressive and aesthetic possibilities of iron have enthroned him as the inventor of sculpture made in this metal, which has produced illustrious examples in recent decades both inside and outside Spain. The structural solutions and the emotional charge of Julio González’s works prepared the way for the imposing spatial creations of artists like Eduardo Chillida and Richard Serra.

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Ignacio Pinazo

Ignacio Pinazo (Valencia, 1849 – Godella, 1916) opened up a new space in painting for the treatment of naturalism, light and formal investigation. Transmitting a reality in motion with his deft touches and strokes, he defined a personal style characterised by free forms and the vindication of the autonomy of art, upholding experience and interpretation on the basis of an unfinished appearance. His stays in Italy and his personal interest in the Verismo of Domingo Morelli or the dreamlike vision of Mariano Fortuny, together with his admiration for the painting of Velázquez, Goya and El Greco, drove his permanent search for poetry and truth in his artistic creation.

On this path to a particular realism that announced creative independence and the overcoming of academic stereotypes, his plastic expression follows the path opened by the defenders of modern sensibility like the poet Charles Baudelaire, who upheld the value of “the transitory and the fleeting” while shunning existing forms. This spirit of modernity meant a leap into the future that crystallised in the search for innovation and the goal of liberty from the institutions and accepted aesthetic values. The desire to represent the current world meant a quest for new directions in artistic practice.

Pinazo’s works tell us of human nature, communicating their content through the union of form and content, and sincerely and directly expressing an emotional link with their subjects. The production and execution of many of these works stem from constant observations, translated into pictorial inventions and characterised by a calligraphic brushwork and chromatic expression achieved after a process of reduction and synthesis. The unfinished appearance of his forms is the clearest definition of the presence of time, which alters the course of things.

On this road to modernity, Pinazo was the master of a unique style with flashes of an enormous capacity for evocation and outstanding technical skill where every stroke, trace or mark activates our gaze and contains a minimum breath of humanity or beauty. His love of his homeland, which soon put an end to his experience as a teacher in Madrid, kept him in an inner refuge that has made critical appreciation of him difficult. He attained his place in European art through his firm defence of the artist’s independence, identifying so successfully in his case with the great themes of his time that he felt like a part of them. In that period, the city of Valencia and its surrounding area underwent structural changes, rejuvenated by several reforms that made it a dynamic city with new streets and avenues that channelled popular energy. At the same time, that energy flooded across bucolic and maritime landscapes peopled by a variety of human types. The characteristically temporary nature of popular cultural manifestations is fixed in Pinazo’s abundant studies.

The nearly 500 works in the collection, which include paintings, panels and drawings from an acquisition and donation, were selected before the inauguration of the IVAM, and cover the most characteristic techniques and themes of an artist who managed to surpass established tradition and find conciliation with the thought and discoveries of his time.

The current review of Pinazo focuses on his defence of public space, fundamental today for the democratic debate and the generation of public opinion, and now in the throes of a crisis owing to the evolution of the virtual world and urban transformations that have sent community life into a dangerous recession. His work also attains an absolutely contemporary expression when analysed through that idea of the fleeting and the permanent in a time with no beginning or end, the intuition of the dynamic nature of reality, a flowing and becoming as vital states of the present inserted within the currents of globalisation, and the technological image and the speed of communications.

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1914-1939: Historical avant-gardes

From this period, which runs from the years leading up to the First World War to the start of the Second (also the year of the end of the Spanish Civil War), the IVAM holds an extremely important collection of works belonging to the historical European avant-gardes, particularly Constructivism, Dadaism, Futurism, Neoplasticism and non-figurative or Concrete Abstraction. The development of the arts in the first three decades of the century, which transformed painting, sculpture, photography, printing and typography, is here illustrated with works by Julio González, Jean and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Naum Gabo, Antoine Pevsner, László Péri, László Moholy-Nagy, Joaquín Torres-García, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georges Vantongerloo, Paul Klee, Valentina Kulagina, Varvara Stepanova, El Lissitzky, Grete Stern, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Gustav Klucis and others.

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1939-1961: Art in post-war Europe

The 22 years covered by this period, which touches on four different decades, are marked by the consolidation of artistic movements like European Informalism and American Abstract Expressionism, together with new developments in geometric abstract art, in the context of the long post-war period in Europe and the harshest years of Franco’s dictatorship. The IVAM has a magnificent selection of Informalist works from this period by artists like Pierre Soulages, André Masson, Jean Dubuffet, Henri Michaux, Karel Appel, Lucio Fontana and Asger Jorn, as well as works produced in Spain by the group El Paso, with outstanding examples by Manuel Millares, Antonio Saura, Juana Francés, Manuel Rivera and Martín Chirino, as well as other artists active during that period like Antoni Tàpies and Joan Brossa. These artists converse with those on the other side of the Atlantic, like Ad Reinhardt, Adolph Gottlieb, Lee Krasner, Barnett Newman and Tony Smith, and with those situated “between two worlds”, like Arshile Gorky, Esteban Vicente and Hans Hofmann. All seem to explore the repercussions of the war in the emptiness and silence of a certain abstraction. In Spain, the dictatorship and its efforts to subject the country mark an ambiguous moment in social and cultural life, with a great many facets and contradictions proper to an anachronous situation. In Valencia, 1956 saw the birth of the Grupo Parpalló, an attempt at renovation in the plastic arts through Concrete Abstraction, which ran parallel to the Informalist trends that were also being developed in the country. In the Valencian context, Vicente Aguilera Cerni created a network of interpersonal relations that provided theoretical and conceptual support for the careers of Eusebio Sempere and Andreu Alfaro in a dialogue between Valencian art and international trends.

The post-war period was one of outstanding humanist photographers like Robert Frank, George Zimbel, Julio Mitchel, Sergio Larrain, Robert Doisneau, Edouard Boubat and Herbert List, while groups also emerged in Spain, such as La Palangana, whose members included Gabriel Cualladó, Ramón Masats and Juan Dolcet.

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1962-1976: Irruptions of the image

This period encompasses very diverse artistic practices that engaged in a debate between abstraction and figuration in both Europe and the United States. The IVAM possesses a large number of works illustrating these practices, based on a new configuration of time, space and perception, and on new approaches to objects, gesture and action. Such contaminations imply variations on the canons of the art of the English-speaking world, with hegemonic figures like Richard Hamilton, Richard Linder, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, John Cage and Andy Warhol, through the work of other contemporaries like Asger Jorn, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Martial Raysse, Valerio Adami, Hervé Télémaque, Sigmar Polke, Alberto Corazón, Alberto Greco and Öyvind Fahlström. In the same way, Equipo Crónica, Equipo Realidad and Estampa Popular are three pillars of the collection that help to contextualise the complex relationship of contemporary Spanish art with the international scene, as well as to confirm the political component of Pop Art in this country. Work with the moving image was consolidated through the new languages of video, and new densities were added to painting, sculpture and photography from the areas of the scenic arts and performance, as in the case of two important figures, Yves Klein and Claes Oldenburg. In the meantime, Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, Reiner Ruthenbeck, José María Yturralde and Artur Heras took up positions in the field of sculpture, while painting continued its investigations of abstraction, with Jordi Teixidor, or figuration, with Anzo, Juan Genovés, Luis Gordillo and Eduardo Arroyo. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminist movements and discourses on identity moved to the centre of the artistic debate, as shown by the works of Isabel Oliver or Ángela García in the local context, the first performances of Esther Ferrer and Valie Export, and the work of Darío Villalba, Juan Hidalgo, Eugènia Balcells, Gina Pane, Michel Journiac, Pierre Molinier, Ximo Berenguer, Rodrigo and Nazario.

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1977-1989: Transition and postmodernity

Grouped in this period are some of the most audacious phenomena of the late 1970s, with concepts that are now almost academically defined as postmodern. The IVAM itself acted as a historically determined institutional threshold, showing itself to be a result of the thematically over-exploited Spanish Transition to democracy as well as a peculiar phenomenon with a specificity of its own in the Spain of Autonomous Regions. The collection brings together the work of representative artists at a moment of aperture that was decisive for the art produced in Spain, with names like Antoni Muntadas, Juan Muñoz, Ángeles Marco, Susana Solano, Joan Cardells, Bruce Nauman, James Lee Byars, Per Kirkeby, Miguel Ángel Campano, Gilberto Zorio, Allan McCollum, Gerhard Richter, Anthony Caro, Tom Otterness, Daniel Spoerri, José María Sicilia and Miquel Navarro. In the same way, artists appeared who intensified the use of the photographic medium as a concept and not just as a trace or index. This is the case of Gordon Matta-Clark, John Coplans, Robert Smithson, Hamish Fulton, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joan Fontcuberta, Lee Friedlander and Esther Ferrer. On the other hand, the processes of constitution of new theories of the image, visual studies and the new range of disciplines that reinterpreted the role of artistic practices in complicity with the practitioners can be traced in the work of artists like Fischli & Weiss, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince or Dara Birnbaum.

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1990-2001: Arts in a global world

Approaching this period from within our museological framework and addressing the contents of the collection and the institutional role of the IVAM mean reflecting on the process whereby the discourse of contemporary art and the phenomenon of the exhibition become global. It implies a consideration of the proliferation of exhibitions in which a voice is given to the global ‘others’, and an attention to the conceptual shifts within the field of the exhibition. In this respect, it is necessary to take into account the complex identitarian vindications of subordinated minorities and majorities, the explosion of the popular and the renovation of feminist discourses. In the context of the state, the period coincides with the waning of the legitimacy and the heritage of the political Transition. On the cultural map, it does so with a new policy of promotion of commemorative events and urbanistic expansion, leading to a proliferation of new museums all over Spain. It is also the moment of a generation of artists who started to work in the 1970s with new formats and materials, such as Cristina Iglesias and Carmen Calvo, and a time that saw the hybridisation of the traditional categories of artistic genres in large-format installations like those of Christian Boltanski, Tony Cragg and Gary Hill. Also, imaginaries imbued with social critique are incorporated in fin-de-siècle abstraction, as we observe in works by Peter Halley, Helmut Federle, Ross Bleckner, Terry Winters, René Daniëls, Albert Oehlen and Juan Uslé. The 1990s are also the decade of the beginning of gender politics and many other non-hegemonic manifestations to which the institution makes itself permeable through its collection and exhibitions. Outstanding works include those by Helena Almeida, Maribel Doménech, Pepe Espaliú, Ricardo Cotanda, Jesús Martínez Oliva, Carmen Navarrete and Victoria Civera.

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2002-2021: Forms of the contemporary

The last of our historical periods, and the one most closely linked to our present, offers a series of lines of flight onto projects of prospection centred on the first decades of the 21st century. This allows a purposeful approach to the multiple imaginaries of revolt and the performative phenomenon of protest as a sociological setting that refers in its turn to the iconography of 19th and 20th-century art. Actions and interventions on different contexts can be integrated in horizons relative to feminist and queer activisms and to identitarian research, with artists like Cabello/Carceller, Laurie Simmons, Ahlam Shibli, Humberto Rivas, Gillian Wearing, Martha Rosler, Dora García and Francesc Ruiz, as well as in the conflicts of an unequal globalisation traversed by the new forms of communication, as shown by the artists Rogelio López Cuenca and Nadia Benchallal. Within the same logic, from the historiographic standpoint, another of the priority areas in this chronological phase is the new awareness of crisis as a global phenomenon. In this respect, a number of artists from the Arab world, such as Mona Hatoum, Zineb Sedira, Rula Halawani, Yto Barrada, Bouchra Khalili, Mohamed Bourouissa, Joana Hadjitthomas and Khalil Joreige, can give us some of the keys to this global crisis, which spreads through time and a variety of contexts. The contemporary is now presented as a post-conceptual art, open in its meanings, which recovers the document and bodily practices through performance and the word. In the same way, narrative manifests a renewed impulse through the drawing and the graphic story, as shown by the comics of Ana Penyas and Paco Roca in the IVAM collection. These are added to the historic productions of Equipo Crónica, Equipo Realidad and one of the pioneers of the so-called Valencian School, Miguel Calatayud.

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Collection exhibitions