The Myth of Spain. Ignacio Zuloaga 1870 – 1945
17.2. — 26.5.2024

Ignacio Zuloaga: Halbfigurenbildnis eines Picadors (Detail), 1910, Privatsammlung. Leihgabe im Museo de Segovia – Museo Zuloaga de Segovia

The Myth of Spain. Ignacio Zuloaga 1870 – 1945

17.2. — 26.5.2024

With its exhibition The Myth of Spain. Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945) the Bucerius Kunst Forum celebrates the great rediscovery of an artist whose paintings embody the identity of Spain to this day. Developed in cooperation with the Kunsthalle München, the show is the first comprehensive retrospective of the Spanish painter in Germany. Zuloaga, an international star of the art scene during his lifetime, shaped the image of Spain around 1900 like no other artist, an image that still reverberates today. In his large-format paintings, he depicts toreros and flamenco dancers, but also the simple life of the rural folk. He also created numerous expressive portraits of well-known cultural and political figures. His interpretations of hermits in vast, barren, sometimes mystical landscapes are reminiscent of the artistic legacy of El Greco, while Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez also had a great impact on the artist. In times of industrialization and Spain's orientation towards European modernism, the artist wanted to preserve the "Spanish soul" and posed the question of the country's identity: Tradition or modernity, reflection on one's own or opening to Europe? Questions that are still relevant today. The show brings together some 80 works by the great Spanish painter from the period between 1890 and 1941 and invites visitors to rediscover the versatility of his oeuvre.

Born in 1870 in Eibar in the Basque Country as the son of a prominent blacksmith, Zuloaga spent his early years in Paris. His inspiration from the international art scene is evident in his café and street scenes as well as his first portraits. He befriended artists, writers and musicians and was well connected in cosmopolitan high society. For example, he shared a studio with Paul Gauguin, was friends with Auguste Rodin and travelled with Maurice Ravel. In the mid-1890s, Zuloaga moved to Seville, where he gained experience as a torero and kept company with the Gitanos, the Spanish Roma community. After moving to the Spanish city of Segovia in 1898, his prime creative period began, focusing on renderings of the harsh and barren landscape and its “archetypal” inhabitants. Zuloaga focused on figures who, in his opinion, embodied the "true" Spain. The way in which Zuloaga portrayed Spain sparked fierce debates in his home country. Many of his compatriots criticised his renderings as being unpatriotic and coloured by a foreign point of view. In Germany, by contrast, Zuloaga’s works were presented in a number of exhibitions during his lifetime and were well received by both artists and writers. Literary and artistic personalities such as Rainer Maria Rilke, August Macke, Paul Klee and Paula Modersohn-Becker were inspired by his art. In the latter years of his life, the artist was greatly admired by the Spanish dictator Franco, and he allowed himself to be co-opted for propaganda purposes.


An exhibition of the Kunsthalle München, in cooperation with the Bucerius Kunst Forum. The exhibition can be seen in Munich from 15.9.2023 to 4.2.2024.

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daily 11:00 am — 7:00 pm
thursday 11:00 am — 9:00 pm

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Regular: 12 Euro
Reduced: 6 Euro
Tuesdays (except holidays): 6 Euro


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Audio Guide
Download the BKF Guide conveniently and free of charge onto your smartphone to experience the exhibited works.

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Exhibition catalogue
In the extensive 215-page exhibition catalogue, you can find out more about Ignacio Zuloaga's impressive work.

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Guided Tours
Our public guided tours give you an insight into the current exhibition.

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[Translate to english:] Mythos Heimat Yi Jou Chuang

The Myth of "Home" - A Questioning
18.5. — 26.5.2024 Group exhibition of active and former fellows of the Claussen Simon Foundation's stART.up scholarship programme at the Bucerius Kunst Forum.

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