Juana Mordó (Thessaloniki, 1899 – Madrid, 1984) was an essential figure in the history of Spanish art galleries.
After a period in Paris and Berlin, she arrived in Madrid in the 1940s and soon played an important role on the cultural scene.
She opened her gallery of the same name in 1964, after having directed the important Biosca gallery, and from there helped to launch the careers of a whole generation of artists, as well as spreading the Spanish art scene internationally and bringing important exhibitions of foreign creators here.
We bring you closer to the figure of Juana Mordó through the eyes of two artists who knew her and who passed through her gallery: Carmen Laffón (Seville, 1934) and Rafael Canogar (Toledo, 1935), both very important figures in Spanish art in the second half of the 20th century.
The Juana Mordó Gallery continued to operate until 1994, when its director since Juana’s death, Helga de Alvear, decided to change its name, thus opening another essential chapter in Madrid’s gallery scene.
The Juana Mordó Gallery Archive was donated by Helga de Alvear to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1997, and since then it has been kept in its Documentation Centre.
I was fortunate to have known Juana Mordó during her lifetime. She was a very cultivated person –she was fluent in several languages– knowledgeable and passionate about literature and, of course, about art. When she settled in Madrid, she set up a gathering in her house in which many artists, writers and intellectuals of the time took part.
After her period of work at the Biosca gallery, she founded her own gallery where she welcomed important contemporary artists of great value: Lucio Muñoz, the El Paso group, Fernando Zóbel, Gustavo Torner, Sempere, Gerardo Rueda…, all of them abstract and some figurative, such as Antonio López. Her work made it possible to develop contemporary collecting in Spain, which she was able to extend to other countries.
The gallery was her life. It was where she interacted with his artists, whom she loved dearly. It was not only an artistic centre of great importance, which paved the way for other modern galleries. It also served as a place of conviviality for her artists and friends.
I met Juana at the Biosca gallery, through Gerardo Rueda, and when she created her own gallery, I was part of her group of artists. I maintained a great friendship with her, and she was the first woman I met with a true spirit of modernity. She has always remained in my memory.
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