Esteban Lisa – Pietro Spada

Master and disciple

11th November, 2019 - 17th January, 2020

Esteban Lisa and Pietro Spada, master and disciple, formed part of the artists who facilitated the development of artistic trends of modernity in Latin America. Their artistic and cultural interventions introduced and consolidated abstraction in the cultural circles of these countries which, after the extensive European emigration at the beginning of the 20th century, converted them into sites of intensive artistic and cultural experimentation.

They abandoned figurative art to leave space for creative imagination; they experimented with cubism as an itinerary towards abstraction.  Their painting is extremely reductive, probing towards the essential, experimenting with lines and colours, using universal symbols, geometry, physics and mathematics applied to art. Years of research, practice and discipline, permitted them to achieve synthesis, rhythm and harmony: an apparent simplicity that leads to the purely essential. Lines and colours meet in instantaneous gestures yet charged with meaning, inciting a dialogue between artist and spectator, inviting us to go further on the path to enriching sensations.

Although they never exhibited during their lifetimes, work was the paradigm of both artists: painting alone, removed from trends and mercantilism, giving a very philosophical sense to their painting.  Both expressed their metaphysical vision of art: an expansion of consciousness and inner self in order to reveal universal mysteries. Always in connection with divine nature, transcending the ego and based on experience, pure knowledge and perception, in each work of art they reveal an objective purpose, the meaning of life. They interpret painting as self-knowledge, a dialogue with oneself, with self-recognition as a unique self in an eternal communion with the Divinity.

We have recovered the idea of the exposition “Lisa-Spada: an eternal dialogue” which took place in Montevideo this Spring, and so dedicate the entry of our private gallery to the homage that Pietro Spada wished to make to his master at the end of his life.

Esteban Lisa (Hinojosa de San Vicente, Toledo, 1895 – Buenos Aires, 1983)

Esteban Lisa spent most of his life in Argentina, where he emigrated when he was 12 years old. At first, he lived with his aunt and uncle, and worked as a dishwasher, messenger, and then as a librarian in the Central Postal Office in Buenos Aires.  At the same time, he completed his primary studies in the Beato Angélico Art School. He became a painting professor in the School for Adults, located at Serrano 900 (Buenos Aires). Although he developed his pictorial work almost uninterruptedly since the 1930s, he wasn´t interested in pursuing a career as an artist, since he perceived that his role in society would be that of contributing to the spiritual development of people through his teaching of painting techniques.

The year after his death, some of his disciples created the Fundación Esteban Lisa, in Buenos Aires, dedicated exclusively to the aesthetic education of humankind.  Since then his work has been exhibited in different countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, United States, Spain, Italy, Germany…


Pietro Spada (Leporano, Tarento, 1927 – Montevideo, 2014)

Pietro Spada’s family emigrated in 1937 to Buenos Aires. In 1953 Spada started his studies in drawing and painting in the Fine Arts School Manuel Belgrano, and in 1955 in the School of Modern Art “Las cuatro dimensiones” (“the Four Dimensions”) of the painter-professor Esteban Lisa. In 1957 he settled in Montevideo, where he continued his studies in art and maintained fluid communication with Esteban Lisa. He combined his academic studies with his work as a cabinetmaker, eventually setting up a workshop.

Remaining loyal to the school of his master, Spada refused to exhibit his work during most of his lifetime, until 2014 when he realized his first individual exhibition in Montevideo, in the Fundación Atchugarry. Over the last years, his work, ever in dialogue with that of his master, has been exhibited in various cities in Spain.