Isabella Quintanilla’s Intimate Realism Exhibition

Isabel Quintanilla's Intimate Realism

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid.

27 February to 2 June 2024

It is no secret amongst serious contemporary painters that the  Madrid Realists’ achievements have influenced artists around the globe. An opportunity to see the work of Quintanilla is exceptionally rare. I’m delighted to be able to share these images with you, courtesy of the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid.

You may also enjoy my published review of Madrid Realists 2015 Exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza

Isabel Quintanilla Window with Rain, 1970 Oil on canvas, 52,5 × 65 cm. Private collection. © Isabel Quintanilla, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023
Isabel Quintanilla Window with Rain, 1970 Oil on canvas, 52,5 × 65 cm. Private collection. © Isabel Quintanilla, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023

Press Release: For the first time, the museum is devoting a retrospective to a Spanish woman artist, Isabel Quintanilla (1938-2017), one of the key figures of contemporary realism.

The exhibition features around 100 works spanning the artist’s entire career and including her most important paintings and drawings. Many have never previously been seen in Spain as they are principally housed in museums and collections in Germany, a country where she was widely recognised in the 1970s and 1980s. Quintanilla lived and worked during a period in Spain when women artists lacked the status and recognition accorded to their male counterparts, an issue that she herself confronted in her public statements with the aim of defending the significance of her work and that of her female colleagues.

Isabel Quintanilla’s painting is the result of an absolute mastery of technique and of skill acquired at different art schools but above all the consequence of a lengthy and ongoing working process. She always referred to the constant struggle involved in resolving the problems posed by painting to all artists who wish to make use of it in order to experience reality in a different way.

The selection of works on display offers a fascinating survey that introduces visitors to the “world of Quintanilla”: filled with her most personal possessions, with the intimacy of the rooms and spaces in her different houses and studios and with her family and friends. This is a world in which we recognise settings and objects that trigger our emotions, which was one of the artist’s constant aims. As Quintanilla herself said on numerous occasions, painting was her life and her life was painting. Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

All images courtesy Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, see attribution in caption.