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MAXAM Foundation
MAXAM Collection. The explosives calendars

MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Collection - MAXAM Collection. The explosives calendars

Salamanca. 2011.05.27/ 07.24.
Exhibition hall Caja España-Caja Duero

This exhibition was held in Valladolid (Sala Teatro Calderon, 4/11/2010 - 28/11/2010) and León (Sala Botines, 2/12/2011 - 11/01/2011) before going to Salamanca.

The MAXAM Collection was born in 1900 with a very simple goal:  to offer a useful and lasting mean of promoting the company’s image and activities. This is the origin of MAXAM´s calendars, with images that enjoyed ever-increasing public acceptance by reaching  as many homes and public places as possible.
 
In those days, a poster-sized calendar was the best way of advertising the company. The works illustrating the almanac should have a popular character while being of artistic quality, a dual objective still maintained by the MAXAM Collection. These concepts have evolved in different directions throughout the Collection’s 110 years of life, and until now but endowed it with an own identity and will continue to do so in the future.
 
A brilliant collection, of which the Exhibition hall Caja España-Caja Duero will be exhibiting a representative sample of 73 works to awaken our memory and increase our knowledge of the evolution of the Spanish society.
 
The beginnings of the MAXAM Collection
The Collection started in 1900 with two works by Arturo Mélida (Diana Cazadora for that year and Santa Bárbara for 1901) in the art nouveau style, which at that time was shaping poster art throughout Europe, an innovative advertising technique of the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.
 
At the same time, to produce these posters, Unión Española de Explosivos – now known as MAXAM – started its cultural patronage, pioneer in our country, which it still continues to date. Each year, a well-known artist, representative of current
trends, is commissioned to illustrate the calendar. The only indications given to the artists were that it should be a figurative work and should somehow make reference
to the company’s activities.
 
A patronage complemented by the diffusion of the calendar, which for many years was the only access to culture in many parts of Spain. These reproductions of the commissioned work were carefully kept at the end of the year and on many
occasions were framed by the owners, thus forming, in the words of Luis Carandell - the “museum for those who never go to museums”.
 
Themes and artists
Following its allegorical art nouveau beginnings, the Collection rapidly assumed the representation of the realist trend, tied to portraits of middle-class women hunting (1902, Emilio Sala, Dama con escopeta), or those related to the use of products
made by the company –Unión Española de Explosivos- the Spanish navy (1912, Juan Martínez Abades, El saludo en el mar) or the mining world (1909, Manuel Benedito Vives, Descanso).
 
But if for many years there was a theme for which the MAXAM Collection was known, this was due to the prominence of the so-called explosives’ women. And undoubtedly the artist who best represented them was Julio Romero de Torres. Four works of marked symbolism that place us in front of four daring, challenging and sensuous women who abstract us as spectators to unreal worlds 1924, Lighting the fuse; 1925, Women with Pistol; 1929, La Hunting Shotgun; 1931, The Rocket.
 
Spanish society, its conservative mentality and consequent tastes, can be seen in the explosives’ women that continued to represent the company’s calendars from the 40’s onwards, realist portraits based on popular traditions and an aesthetic taste that dominated for many years, even decades. A line that also marked the male subjects, tough types, such as those depicted in En la taberna by José Bardasano (1965) or those who try to be so, as in Retrato de un adolescente by Domingo Huetos (1967). All images that year after year decorated the walls of all sorts of establishments: bars, tobacconists, shops, canteens, railway stations…
 
In the 90’s, the company, now with new shareholders, started its international expansion that has led it to occupy leading positions with a consolidated presence in all five continents. And in 1996, the MAXAM Collection, without forgetting its roots and history, initiated a new stage with Mirando al futuro by Miguel Peña. A new stage, a bet on modernity that has brought to the Collection the most up-to-the-minute names in figurative art, names such as Eduardo Arroyo, Clara Gangutia, Manolo Valdés, Eduardo Úrculo, Angel Mateo Charris or Rafaél Canogar, among others.


Visits
27thof May - 24th July.
Monday to Sunday from 11.00 a.m. to 14.00 p.m. and from 18.00 to 21.30 p.m.




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