Who was Cesar Manrique

The Life of Cesar Manrique (1919-1992)

The artist Cesar Manrique, the artist who left indelible traces in Lanzarote, was born in the island capital, Arrecife, in 1919.

Manrique lived in Madrid from 1945 to 1964 and after finishing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in this city, he held exhibitions of his painting frequently, both in and of Spain.

He participated in the XXVIII and XXX Biennial of Venice (1955 and 1960) and in the III Hispano-American Biennial of Havana (1955). At the beginning of the fifties He delves into non-figurative art and investigates the qualities of matter until He becomes the essential protagonist of his compositions. Like other Spanish painters like Antoni Tàpies, Lucio Muñoz, Manuel Millares; Manrique is linked to the informalist movement of those years.

World citizen

The Lanzarote artist traveled around the world to stay in New York in 1964. The direct knowledge of American abstract expressionism, pop art, new sculpture and kinetic art, provided a fundamental visual culture for his later creative career. Cesar Manrique exposed his work three times in the gallery Catherine Viviano of New York, in 1966, 1967 and 1969.

César returned to his island definitively in 1966, Lanzarote, which at that time was beginning its tourism development, and He promotes a model of intervention in the territory in terms of sustainability, seeking to safeguard the island's natural and cultural heritage.

This model was key for the declaration of Lanzarote as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.

His commitment to the island territory did not stop him to open his creative work to other artistic manifestations. In this way, he developed a new aesthetic ideology, which he called art-nature / nature-art, which was able to concretize in his spatial interventions. a singular example of public art in Spain.

The clearest examples of this impressive work of Manrique are: Jameos del Agua, his house of Tahiche (now the headquarters of the Cesar Manrique Foundation), the Mirador del Rio, Jardin de Cactus, among others of his works that can be seen in Lanzarote.

Married to the Canary Islands

Manrique not only stayed on his island, Lanzarote, but also provided different proposals for other Canary Islands, such as Costa Martianez in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife), the Mirador El Palmarejo in La Gomera, La Peña Viewpoint in El Hierro.

Beyond the Canary Islands archipelago, Manrique intervened in Ceuta, with the Marine Park of the Mediterranean, in Madrid with the Madrid-2 Shopping Center, La Vaguada, among others.

These interventions, which are fundamentally part of the public work, such as viewpoints, gardens, degraded spaces, coastal reforms, have the main characteristic of maintaining a dialogue respectful of the natural environment and are related architectural values of local tradition With modern conceptions.

Manrique is considered as a cultivator of diverse creative languages, such as: sculpture, painting, urbanism, public art ... Underlines in the whole of his artistic production a manifest will to integrate with the natural environment. Cesar Manrique had a syncretic and totalizing purpose, which he described as "total art", which he made explicit in his designs of public spaces. An effort of harmonization, in short, that not only refers to his passion for beauty, but also for life.

César Manrique died on September 25th, 1992 in a traffic accident. The entire Canarian people felt the departure of the 73-year-old artist, who was finishing his work in the foundation that carries his name in Tahiche, waiting fot the World Tourism Day that year.