13 MAR — 28 SEP 2024


Madrid is a huge commonplace in the ABC Collection. Blanco y Negro appeared in Madrid, and later ABC. Writers and artists came to Madrid in the late twenties and thirties to the lure of the growing modern press, and they continued to come decade after decade for this and other reasons. Madrid has been portrayed in colour and black and white, in buildings, in places and in characters; in the elegant and in the slum, in the festive, in the popular and in the miserable; in the decadent, in the modern and in the postmodern. The ABC Collection is a very Madrilenian collection, it preserves images of many Madrids, of all those Madrids from more than a century ago until This Madrid, proposed by Andrés Trapiello, who has curated this exhibition, making an essential selection, according to him, but not a basic but very inspiring one.



Madrid as a pictorial entity crystallised late, with Goya. Before that, of course, there were artists who included the city of Madrid in their paintings, either as the main subject or as a background and accompaniment. Perhaps the great painter of Madrid was Velázquez, who painted like no one else “the atmosphere of Madrid”, that of the Guadarrama mountains, observed by him from the Torre del Viento, and that of the interiors of the Alcazar. And his son-in-law Mazo, and others in paintings of more documentary than pictorial value. But it was Goya, with his meadows of San Isidro and his scenes of Madrid (carnivals, “cacharreros”, “placistas”) who established the Madrid theme. He was followed by others, Lucas, Alenza… until those of 98. These, with Beruete and Regoyos at top, did with Madrid the opposite of Velázquez, who saw from the inside out, and took their easels to the suburbs of Madrid, to portray, from the outside in, its palace, its river, its remoteness… In a few years Madrid was one of the favourite subjects of painters, as it was also of its writers, and a hundred illustrators emerged who worked with the texts of Larra, Mesonero, Alarcón, Fernández de los Ríos and, of course, Galdós. And of course a hundred other journalists and writers who brought to the curiosity of readers in Madrid, Spain and even Latin America, the thousand aspects of an increasingly cosmopolitan and attractive city. Many of these illustrators, who worked from the last third of the 19th century until almost the end of the 20th, are included in the extraordinary collection from the archives of ABC and Blanco y Negro, the publications for which they worked.  These archives will be the object of periodic visits and, given their size, will provide a thousand and one visits, all of them different. The one I have made is, shall we say, an essential one, the most silent and least anecdotal, that of the suburbs, the self-absorbed and poetic one that goes from Sancha to Esplandiú, from Souto to Ramón Gaya, and two dozen more artists over the course of a hundred years.

Andrés Trapiello


This project is part of the collaboration programme between Fundación Colección ABC and Madrid City Council, with the support of the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sport.


    ABC Museum (Calle Amaniel 29, 28015, Madrid)


    13 March to 28 September 2024


    Tuesday to Saturday from 11.00 to 14.00h and from 16.00 to 20.30h. Monday and Sunday closed.