For casual museum-goers, Spanish art ends with Guernica, Picasso’s monumental protest, painted in 1937, of the Fascist bombing of the Basque capital during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso had left Spain for good in 1904; it was from his self-imposed exile in Paris that he pulled down his agonizing painted curtain on his native land. Aside from the old joker (and Franco supporter) Salvador Dalí and the respected Catalan abstract painter Antoni Tàpies, it is hard to think of a Spanish artist of any stature who emerged during Gen. Franco’s seemingly endless reign of repression and national stagnation following World War II. A retrospective of painter and sculptor Antonio López García at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, makes a strong case that this intense Realist, now in his 70s and much admired in Spain, deserves an international audience. His arresting Sink and Mirror, like certain paintings of his idol Velásquez, combines two radically different perspectives: a head-on view of the mirror and a plunging view down toward the sink. The hauntingly empty mirror adds to our sense of visual disorientation.
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