Eduardo Chillida (Spanish, 1924–2002) is regarded one of the most important Spanish sculptors of the 20th century. Chillida first became famous for his monumental abstract steel works, many of which are now public sculptures. These works include the series El peine del viento (The comb of the wind), installed in front of the UNESCO office in Paris in 1968, and at the bay in the Basque region of his hometown in 1976, or his 2000 sculpture Berlin, placed facing the chancellery in the Germany capital as a symbol of German reunification. Chillida was born in San Sebastían, in the Spanish section of the Basque region set between Spain and France.

After studying architecture in Madrid, he began creating sculptures in 1947. He lived in Paris for three years before moving back to Hernani, near his hometown San Sebastían. There, he first worked with clay and plaster, but soon concentrated on sculpting using steel and granite, the materials with which he could best “form the empty space, provoking the vacuum and embrac[ing] the horizon,” as he once commented. While Chillida received widespread international attention, he went unnoticed in Spain for many years. He had solo shows and retrospectives in France, the United States, and Germany in the 1950s, and participated at the documenta exhibition in Kassel three times. In 1958, he won the international prize for sculpture at the Venice Bienniale, and in 1960 was awarded the Japanese Praemium Imperiale, before holding a large retrospective in Madrid in 1977. Much of Chillida's work is inspired by his Basque upbringing, and many of his sculptures have titles in the Basque language, Euskera. A large body of his work may now be seen in San Sebastián. In 2000, Chillida opened his own museum in Hernani, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He died two years later, at 78 years old; the museum still actively displays his work today.

Timeline

1924
Born: in San Sebastian, Spain
1943–1946
Studied architecture at the University of Madrid, Spain
1947
Left architecture and studied drawing at a private school in Madrid, Spain
1954
A group of Franciscan monks commission him to design the four doors of their basilica at Aranzazu (Basque country)
1958
Awarded the prize of the Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL
1960
Awarded the Kandinsky Prize by Nina Kandinsky
1964
Awarded Carnegie Prize for his sculpture at Pittsburgh International, Pittsburgh, PA
1966
Won Wilhelm-Lehmbruck Prize and the Nordrhein-Westfalen Prize at Düsseldorf, Germany
1971
Visiting Professor at the Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1974
Awarded The Diano Marina Prize in Milan, Italy
1975
Awarded the Rembrandt Prize of the Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe,Stiftung, Frankfurt, Germany
1978
Shared with Willem de Kooning the Andrew W. Mellon Prize and received the Pau i Treva prize in Perpignan, France
1981
Received the Medalla de oro al Merito de las Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain
1983
Elected a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK and received the European Prize for Fine Arts in Strasbourg, France
1984
The French government awarded him the Grand Prix National des Beaux-arts
1985
Received the Kaiserring prize, awarded by the city of Goslar, West Germany and received the Wolf Foundation prize for Sculpture in Israel
1986
Received the Revista Euzkadi prize in Bilbao, Spain
1987
Awarded the Principe de Asturias de las Artes Prize in Madrid, Spain and the Lorenzo-il-Magnifico Prize in Florence, Italy
1988
Received the Order for Science and Art, awarded by the Federal German Government
1991
Received the Imperial Prize created by the Japan Art Association
1993
Elected Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1993
Elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston, MA
2002
Died: in San Sebastian, Spain

Exhibitions

2012
Eduardo Chillida, Picasso-Museum, Münster (solo)
2012
Obras, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne (solo)
2010
Chillida and the challenge of philosophy, Museo Chillida-Leku, Hernani, Gipuzkoa (E) (solo)
2010
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
2009
Chillida 1980 - 2000, Caixa Forum, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, Spain (solo)
2008–2009
Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, Wuppertal, Germany
2008
Chillida. 1980 - 2000, CSIC Tarragona, Spain (solo)
Galeria Cayon, Madrid, Spain
2006
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
2004
Galerie Lelong, Zürich, Switzerland; Paris, France
2003
Annely Juda Fine Art, London, UK
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
2002
Plastiken-Collagen-Gravitationen-Zeichnungen-Radierungen, Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
2001
Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
2000
Opening of the Chillida Museum in Leku, Hernani, Spain (solo)
Galerie Lelong, Zürich, Switzerland
1999
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
Galerie Lelong, Paris, France
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (solo)
1998
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
IVAM, Valencia, Spain
Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
1997
Tasende Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1995
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
Galerie Lelong, Paris, France
1993
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
1992
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
Palais Miramar, San Sebastian, Spain (solo)
1990
Hayward Gallery, London, UK
44th Biennale de Venise, Venice, Italy
Galerie Lelong, Paris, France
1989
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
1988
43rd Biennale de Venise, venice, Italy
Galerie Lelong, Zürich, Switzerland
1985
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
1985
Tasende Gallery, La Jolla, CA
1984
Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art New York, NY
1983
Galerie Herbert Meyerellinger, Frankfurt, Germany
1981
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland
Museum of FIne Art, Bilbao, Spain
1980
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (solo)
1980
Ministry of Culture, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Spain
1979
Retrospective, National Gallery, Washington D.C. (solo)
1979
Museum of Art Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
1977
Galeria Iolas Velasco Madrid, Spain
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Boston, MA
1974
Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel, Switzerland
1974
The Hastings Gallery, Spanish Institute, New York, NY
1972
First retrospective of graphic works, Ulm Museum, Germany (solo)
1969
Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland
Kunsthaus, Zürich, Switzerland
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1968
Documenta IV, Kassel, Germany
1966
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (solo)
1965
McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London, UK
1964
Galerie Maeght, Paris, France
1962
Kunsthalle, Bale, Switzerland
Picasso, Miró, Chillida, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
1961
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
1956
Galerie Maeght, Paris, France (solo)
1954
Clan Gallery, Madrid, Spain

Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
Museo Chillida-Leku, Hernani, Spain
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TXCaixa Galicia Foundation, Vigo, Spain
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

Literature

2004
Eduardo Chillida, Éloge de l’horizon, interviews compiled and prefaced by Susana Chillida. Paris, France: Éditions Galerie Lelong, 2004
2003
Baraňano, Kosme M. de; Uriarte Cámara, Jesús: Chillida. Madrid,2003.
2003
Chillida Belzunce, Susana: Elogio del horizonte: Interview with Eduardo Chillida and Susana Chillida. Barcelona, Destino, 2003
2003
Ezquiaga, Mitxel: Museo Chillida-Leku : una utopía convertida en realidad Donostia-San Sebastián, ACC Comunicación Creativa, 2003.
2003
Kortadi, Edorta: Una mirada sobre Eduardo Chillida : vida y obra de un artista universal. Madrid, Síntesis, 2003.
2003
Maderuelo Raso, Javier: Chillida, elogio de la mano. Madrid, Editorial de Arte y Ciencia, Fundación Juan March, 2003.
2003
Patino Perez, Antón: Eduardo Chillida : vida e filosofia. Ourense, Diputación Provincial de Ourense, 2003.
2001
Chillida, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume. Paris, France: Editions du Jeu de Paume / Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001
1998
Chillida : Retrospectiva 1948-1998, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain, 1998