Realism has been a problematic style in the 20th century. Considered by many as bourgeois, passé, and incapable of engaging contemporary issues, it has often been relegated to the sphere of the academic art. For many years, this was the case for Antonio Lopez Garcia who, in spite of being called by critic Robert Hughes as “the greatest realist artist alive”1, has until recently received little attention until outside of his native Spain.
One of the main reasons for this is that Lopez’s work cannot be defined in conventional terms. For one, he works simultaneously in drawing, painting and sculpture, all of which have undergone many stylistic changes throughout his career. Attempts by critics to link Lopez and the Madrid realists to other neo-realist schools have proven ineffective as their methods, models, and motivations have been uniquely different. Even an attempt to explain ‘Madrid realism’ has been difficult as the group and its core members (a mere five) seem to share an allegiance founded on friendship, family, and a common history, rather than a defined aesthetic approach.
Equally misleading is