The catalogue raisonné of graphic art contains all his printed works, ranging from an early piece from 1959 (for KWY magazine) to his latest prints (1972).
Published by Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha, Fundación Juan March and Fundación Antonio Pérez in collaboration with Fundación Azcona.
The body of graphic art works by Manolo Millares - some fifty pieces - is, for the most part, divided into five folders, mainly created using copper engraving and screen printing techniques: Mutilados de paz (1965), Auto de fe (1967), Antropofauna (1970), Torquemada (1970) and Descubrimientos-Millares, 1671 or Descubrimiento en Millares 1671. Diario de una excavación arqueológica imaginaria y barroca (1971).
Mutilados de paz (1965) was the first folder of screen prints, executed by Abel Martín. It contained four printed works revolving around a poem written by Rafael Alberti in Rome, created with assistance from Gerardo Rueda. Auto de fe (1967) followed, with another four dry point prints designed in conjunction with Elvireta Escobio. A virtually hand-crafted edition (twenty numbered copies) printed in the workshop of Dimitri Papagueorguiu depicting fragments of the book Causas del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en Canarias taken from documents that the artist’s great-grandfather, Agustín Millares Torres, had saved from destruction at the hands of a carter on the Atlantic coast.
Antropofauna (1970), a folder of five etchings printed by the artist in the Barcelona workshop of Gustavo Gili with the aid of Joan Barbarà for the Las Estampas de la Cometa collection, was awarded the Ibizagrafic prize (1972) by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Ibiza, granted by a jury in which Conrad Marca-Relli took part. That same year - 1970 - another of his prints, also published by Gili, was used as the introduction to the book about the artist by José María Moreno Galván.
Torquemada (1970), a folder of six screen prints once again printed by Abel Martín, was published by Juana Mordó, the gallerist who had represented Millares and many other artists of his generation since the gallery opened in 1964. Emblematic of the portrayal of the blindness exuded by “justice and inquisitive rage, the maliciousness”, to use the artist’s terminology. This folder would be followed by Descubrimientos-Millares, 1671 (1971).
In addition to these graphic works, he also participated in other memorable folders such as the one devoted to El Paso (Galleria L’Attico, Rome, 1960), printed in Dimitri’s workshop. He also took part in the first series of screen prints published in 1964 by the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, executed by the duo Eusebio Sempere and Abel Martín, who would be involved in the following screen print folders by Millares: Mutilados de paz (1965), Torquemada (1970) and Descubrimientos-Millares, 1671 (1971). The Cuenca museum became a focal point for the spread of graphic art and bibliophilia in Spain.
In 1969 he illustrated Poemas de Amor by Miguel Hernández for the Alfaguara publishing house, in its El Gallo en la Torre collection overseen by Camilo José Cela, creating two dry point works. That same year, he learned from Antonio Lorenzo the printing technique to which the latter had, in turn, been introduced by graphic artist Bernard Childs in the early sixties, and Millares decided to set up his own printing workshop. There are a few works remaining from this disrupted experience, which are included in the exhibition.
His final work is from 1971, an authentic display of concept, and of artistic approach, a tribute to the world of Cuenca, which was so essential to Millares’ development. This folder was titled Descubrimientos-Millares, 1671 or Descubrimiento en Millares 1671. Diario de una excavación arqueológica imaginaria y barroca. In these twelve works in screen printing, Chinese ink and smoke grey Chinese wash, Millares unleashes a universe of possibilities, displaying the knowledge gained over the previous years, not only in graphic art, but also his vast understanding of illustration. This is the victory of black and grey, of myriad encounters, the triumph of writing as a symbol: the spot, the letter, the correction, the downwards or upwards drip, the tiny mark and extensiveness, writing over printed text - black, grey, white spaces - , the line and the imprint. There is a bit of Artaud-esque creative paroxysm in these twelve screen prints executed by Abel Martín following a concept overseen by Ricard Giralt Miracle. All encased in a wooden box designed by another artist from Cuenca, Gerardo Rueda. This folder was also Millares’ final gift to the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, under the guidance of its founder, Fernando Zóbel. All of his collaborators are present: the Blassi brothers, conceptual designers of the folder-object, and the museum carpenter, Domingo Garrote (along with Rafael Saiz), who built it; the museum’s printed anagram, designed by Gustavo Torner; even the bibliomaniacal reference by Zóbel, which appears when the folder is opened. Twelve prints, like twelve months at the end of the artist’s life.
A set of five proofs made in his studio and recently discovered in his archives and eight posthumous prints with certain variations, printed in the Madrid workshop Mayor 28 in collaboration with Fernando Bellver and Manuel Valdés, round off the catalogue.