Antonio Orzaez; The art photographer

Setdart presents at auction, on April 20 and 21, the unpublished collection of photographer Antonio Orzáez made up of more than three hundred pieces that bring us closer personally and intimately to the most relevant artists of the 20th century.

Setdart is putting out to tender a large selection of works from the personal collection of photographer Antonio Orzáez, who through his lens captured a large part of the most relevant artistic moments of the 20th century. His work made him a direct witness to the lives of famous artists, with whom in many cases he established great friendships. Approaching with his camera the most intimate and personal moments of artists as famous as Pablo Picasso, the Orzáez collection has several snapshots of the artist’s work from Malaga, such as the photomontage of Las Meninas that he made around 1957, in his well-known “Variaciones sobre las Meninas”, and in this case Joan Gaspar, dedicated to Orzáez (Lot: 35273678 ). But the Orzáez collection also reveals the most intimate Picasso to us, through snapshots, in which he appears with his children and his last partner Jacqueline Roque, at his private estate La Californie (Lot: 35274489 ), or in which little Paloma is seen with her brother Claude, both dressed in Spanish costumes (Lot: 35274488 ).

The immense collection of Antonio Orzáez can be understood as an archive that documents the life of the most important artists of the 20th century, beyond their works. Invitations to exhibitions by Joan Miró, Chillida, or Tàpies reveal the intense activity of these artists, who showed their works in countries as far away as the United States or Japan. Photographs, catalogues, informative booklets… are testimonies that come together in this collection, and bring us closer to the intimacy of the great geniuses of the 20th century. Original works such as drawings, engravings and serigraphs that the artists themselves gave to Orzáez, dedicating the pieces to him personally, artists such as Tàpies (Lot: 35274498 ) and Antoni Clavé (Lot: 35256982 ), among others.

Orzáez worked with all of them, their bonds of friendship united him in an intimate and personal way, an example of this was his relationship with the artist Antoni Clavé, of whom he kept numerous original works, invitations, and catalogs, which help us understand the artist. in its entirety, until the last days of his life that are contemplated in this great collection through the invitation to the funeral of Antoni Clavé that Orzáez received (Lot: 35273833 ).

Thanks to his experience and technical quality, Orzáez was hired by the famous Sala Gaspar, at that time, the most prestigious gallery in Barcelona, which had been founded in 1909. At the time Orzáez began working for Sala Gaspar, Miquel Gaspar, son of the founder, and Joan Gaspar, nephew, ran the space. On most occasions, Orzáez covered the openings, where he captured the Barcelona art scene and all those who were part of the cultural elite of the time. He also photographed the pieces and, with his snapshots, documented artistic projects such as the collaboration between Joan Miró and Josep Royo, who created the “Tapis de Tarragona” (Lot: 35274277 ). His work at the Sala Gaspar led him to meet several generations of artists, thus getting closer to the young promises with whom he also had a relationship, such as Montserrat Gudiol (Lot: 35273977 ).

The auction also houses a wide variety of cameras that he used to work (Lot: 35273733 ). But Orzaez’s desire for photography led him to enrich his collection with numerous unique and exceptional cameras, such as spy cameras from the 1940s (Lot: 35273730 ), or even a Nemrod underwater camera (Lot: 35273629) .

This extensive collection reflects Orzaez’s work as a photographic artist, and his value as a collector. Made up of more than three hundred pieces (photographs, books, invitations to exhibitions, drawings, engravings and cameras), the objects that will be put up for auction on April 20 and 21, stand as indispensable testimonies of one of the most fertile periods of the history of art in this country. The work of Antonio Orzaez, his contact with the cultural life of Barcelona, and his friendships are witness to this and gave rise to a life full of memories.