Eduardo Chillida: Celebrating 100 Years

10 January 2024

On occasion of the 100th anniversary of Eduardo Chillida’s birth, the exhibition ‘Maeght Universe’ and accompanying film celebrate one of the most influential Spanish artists of the 20th century and his relationship with legendary art dealer Aimé Maeght and his wife Marguerite.

At Chillida Leku, the museum created by Eduardo Chillida during his lifetime, the exhibition ‘Maeght Universe’ brings together works by great masters who frequented Fondation Maeght and shared its creative and utopian atmosphere, including Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Joan Miró, among others. With works by a total of 11 artists presented in dialogue with works by the Spanish artist at the museum, the exhibition helps to better understand Chillida’s work and its place in art history.

In the film, ‘Chillida & Maeght: Finding the Light,’ released to mark the 100th anniversary of Eduardo Chillida’s birth, Ignacio and Luis Chillida, sons of the artist, and Isabelle Maeght, granddaughter of Aimé and Marguerite and administrator of Fondation Maeght, celebrate Eduardo Chillida’s work and legacy and the bond of trust and friendship shared with Aimé Maeght, who played a key role in promoting the artist’s work.

Eduardo Chillida with ‘Lo profundo es el aire, Estela IX (How Pround is the Air, Stele IX)’ © Zabalaga Leku, San Sebastián / VEGAP 2020. Photo: Jordi Belver

Chillida Leku Museum, 2019. Photo: Eneko Santiago Saracho

In 1950, Chillida took part in ‘Les Mains Éblouies,’ an exhibition devoted to young artists at Maeght’s gallery in Rue de Téhéran in Paris, which marked the beginning of a long and prolific collaboration. On that occasion, Chillida exhibited two sculptures that were praised by critics and heralded a promising future for the artist. That first exhibition marked his introduction to the gallery and its artistic circle, where he went on to form friendships with artists such as Braque, Miró, Giacometti and Calder, and became closely acquainted with the work of Kandinsky.

‘Chillida is one of the most important sculptors of the last decades of the 20th century, because he is, I think, the only one to have used wood, alabaster, concrete, iron, corten steel. And, in fact, out of all these materials, he created masterpieces.’—Isabelle Maeght

Aimé Maeght and Eduardo Chillida at Saint Paul de Vence, 1976. Photo: Claude Gaspari

Chillida working on ‘Lurras’ in Grasse, France, 1979. Photo: Francesc Catalá-Roca

The Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght opened in 1964 thanks to the vision of its founders and the group of artists who helped to design and create it by donating artworks. The Fondation offered the opportunity to the artists and their families, including that of Eduardo Chillida, to spend summers in Saint Paul de Vence, on the Cote dAzur, working in a creative environment and sharing ideas with friends and colleagues.

The exhibition ‘Maeght Universe’ pays a tribute to the Foundation Maeght at Chillida Leku, the museum created by Eduardo Chillida in his lifetime and conceived as a work of art in itself, which is home to the most comprehensive body of works by the artist. Chillida Leku comprises an exhibition space in the traditional Basque country house from the 16th century and its surrounding landscape, where monumental sculptures made of steel and granite interact with the beech, oak and magnolia trees.

‘It's marvelous to be able to see works by friends of my father presented alongside works by my father, in this place where they have adapted so well, both the outdoor works such as the one by Alexander Calder, and all the works inside the farmhouse.’—Luis Chillida

Eduardo Chillida and Alexander Calder at Saint Paul de Vence, 1970. Photo: J. Rob

Alexander Calder’s ‘Morning Cobweb’ at Chillida Leku © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Telmo Sánchez

Eduardo Chillida 100 years
Celebrating the artist’s life, work and contributions to the history of modern art, ‘Eduardo Chillida 100 years’ promotes a wide range of international exhibitions, publications, films, music and education activities among others.

As part of the program, Hauser & Wirth Menorca will present an exhibition of the artist’s work, drawing on his strong connection with the island, opening 11 May 2024.

‘Maeght Universe’ is on view at Chillida Leku until 14 April 2024.

The commemoration is led by the Eduardo Chillida – Pilar Belzunce Foundation. Learn more about the full program here.