Manolo Millares (Spanish, 1926–1972) was a Spanish abstract painter and member of the avant-garde group El Paso. Born in the Canary Islands, Millares was a self-taught artist. While his earliest works show an influence of Surrealism, Millares became interested in abstract painting upon his first visit to mainland Spain in 1953. He moved permanently to Madrid in 1955 and began to produce his signature material paintings, black and white painted canvases layered with twisted, bunched, and cut burlap. In 1957, Millares formed El Paso with Atonio Saura (Spanish, 1930–1998) and Pablo Serrano (Spanish, 1910–1985), with the goal to promote art under the dictatorial rule of Franco.

During the 1960s, Millares achieved a reputation outside of Spain, including a solo show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York in 1961. In the late phase of his work, semblances of human figures, which he named homunculus, began to appear in the abstract forms of his paintings, suggesting Millares’s interest in the primitive qualities of man. His work continues to be shown internationally, and is part of many museum collections, including the Tate in London.

Timeline

1926
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
1955
Moved to Madrid
Co-found the artist group "El Paso" (1957–1960)