Ibiza art scene. By mid 60’s Ibiza had a well established art scene. Local galleries El Corsario, Ivan Spence and Carl Van Der Voort, were the most active among many others, and had great impact in the international art circuit.
El Corsario was the first gallery to be established in Ibiza in the mid 50’s.
Ivan Spence with his wife.
Carl Van der Voort in his gallery.
Carl Van Der Voort and Pierre Dmitrienko, 1964.
Artists, writers, hipsters, bohemians and bon viviants of all sorts had been arriving to the island since the mid 50’s lured by the gorgeous beaches, mild weather, local culture and a tolerant atmosphere of live and let live, where everybody could reinvent a new identity for himself. The beatniks was the first counter culture movement to settle into Ibiza.
As early as 1959 the avant-garde collective Grupo Ibiza 59 was formed. They were Erwin Bechtold, Hans Laabs, Egon Neubauer, Katja Meirowsky and Heinz Trökes, from Germany; Robert W. Munford and Erwin Broner, from the States; Bertil Sjoeberg, Swedish and the Spaniard Antonio Ruiz. These artists didn’t belong to any group or specific school, their style and approach to art were as diverse as their countries of origin and backgrounds. The Spanish sculptor Carlos Sansegundo and African-American painter Bob Thompson later joined the group.
Katja Meirowsky Hagging Erwin Bechtold, with Erwin Broner, Hans Laabs and Antonio Ruiz.
Heinz Trökes. In the 1950s, Trökes was ranked together with Willi Baumeister, Ernst Wilhelm Nay and Fritz Winter, as one of the major exponents of abstract art in Germany. He moved to Ibiza in 1952.
Erwin Bechtold discovered Ibiza in 1954 and the island became his home, though he has never interrupted his relations with Barcelona or the European art centres. He founded the Ibiza 59 group. In 1957 he took part in the legendary exhibition “Eine neue Richtung in der Malerei” (‘A New Direction in Painting’) at the Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany.
During the early 1960s he produced paintings of organic forms which gave rise to intense public debate in Germany. These forms would be abandoned in 1966, when geometric shapes first began to appear in his works.
In 1956, Munford moved first to the island of Formentera and subsequently to the island of Ibiza. While on Ibiza, Munford helped found Grupo Ibiza 59. Prior to 1957, Munford had painted in an abstract expressionist style. During his time in biza, he moved towards a distinctive proto-pop style characterized by the use of cloudy atmospheres, silhouetted figures, and pop art elements, such as handwriting, numbers, diagrams, repetitive stamped images, and photographic transfers.
Hans Laabs was co-founder of the surrealist artist cabaret “The Bath” in Berlin. In 1951 he became a member of the “New Group Berlin”. In 1953 he moved to Ibiza, where he lived in a penthouse in the old town overlooking the harbor and the sea.
In 1949 Katja Meirowsky founded together with Alexander Camaro and its partner Liselore Bergmann the artist cabaret The bath. In 1953 she move to Ibiza with her boyfrined.
Bertil Sjoeberg moved to Ibiza in 1954. His stay in Ibiza meant the beginning not only a new world of motifs and inspiration, but also the turn to informal art that fundamentally influenced his work at this time. Among the artists living on Ibiza emerged friendships which resulted in the Grupo Ibiza 59. Together organized group exhibitions that received attention beyond th island.
Erwin Broner was the architect in Grupo Ibiza 59, he developed several projects around the island combining traditional Ibizan architecture with modern elements, the best example being his own home. The he built between 1959 and 1960 in Sa Penya, a fishing district, extending another house that was there before.
Later in 1962 Grupo Puget was formed with Antoni Marí Ribas “Portmany”, Vicent Calbet, Ferrer Guasch and Toni Pomar.
Antoni Marí Ribas Portmany.
Rafael Tur Costa.
Manuel Hernandez Monpó.
Frank El Punto, was the pen name forLogin Frank L.Schaefer German painter. He moved to Ibiza since 1955 and is well known for its abstract gestualism.
Edith Sommer. Landscapes are for her spatial stage sets for strange visions. Lonely and exotic, her paintings give an effect of strong, clear and contrasting colours.
By mid 60’s beatniks and hippies, rustic and pop art, vernacular and abstract, jazz and flamenco, rock and acoustic music, peasants and fishermen with artist and intellectuals, it all came together in balance.
It was also around this time, 1964, when the first Ibiza art biennial took place. Later in 1969, the first museum of contemporary art in Spain was established in Ibiza town. Recently the museum underwent a five year expansion project and reopened in April 2012.
We would like to express our gratitude to the wonderful staff and director of Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Ibiza, for all their help and all the research material they provided.