Carlos Nadal – Painter

Carlos Nadal (París, 1917 – ¿?, 1998)

His father Santiago Nadal has a decorative painting workshop. In 1921 the family returned to Barcelona with ill father, the sequel to the 1st World War. At thirteen he started working as an apprentice painter decorator. In 1932 his father died.

At the age of 13 he lied about his age and enrolled as a student of the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona, and in 1932 became a student of the Senior Fine Art Academy of St George, Barcelona.

In 1936 he was conscripted into the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War, fighting with them on the Aragonese Front and, towards the end of the campaign, in the front line at Tremp. In January 1939, he was captured and interred at the concentration camp at St Cyprien. He spent five long months only able to draw on walls and pieces of detritus. This stood Nadal in good stead as he later could and would paint on anything from tea-towels to wallpaper, if the correct materials were not available. Nadal escaped from the camp and returned to Spain without documents; there he was arrested once again and detailed at Figueras. Eventually he was given a conditional discharge and returned to Barcelona, where he continued his studies. In 1942, Nadal’s first one-man exhibition took place.

Nadal was offered a US scholarship in 1949 by the Carnegie Foundation, but chose instead to marry Flore Joris, by now a sculptor. They moved to Brussels, where Nadal took up a contract with the art dealer Louis Manteau, and where their neighbour was Rene Magritte. Nadal also made friends with Paul Delvaux.

In 1957 Nadal was commissioned to decorate the Belgian Pavilion at the World Atom Fair in Switzerland and then in 1958 to paint a large continuous mural for the Belgian Congo Transport Company at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels, consisting of 320 square metres of continuous painting.

Also achieved great success in several exhibitions held at the Sala Gaspar in Barcelona in the 50s. By the Sixties, Nadal was in great demand for exhibitions in Europe, although little known in Britain. At last he had enough money to build his own studio and summer house near Barcelona.

He has exhibited in France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States…

Key, Zadkine, Braque, Oscar Dominguez, Picasso, Lanskoy, Sartre, Paul Delvaux, Oscar Jespers, PH Spaak, I. Opsomer, Permeke, Rene Magritte, A. Vermeylen, H. Nyssen, Edgard Tytgat, Paulus, A. Henry, Eugeni D’Ors are some of the people he has been associated during his stays in Paris, Brussels or Barcelona.

Carlos Nadal

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