Eusebio Sempere returned to Spain in 1960, following 12 years in Paris, where he had gone to study on a scholarship from the official Spanish students’ union to escape the stagnant art teaching at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Carlos in Valencia. In Paris he attended the Collège de l’Espagne alongside other Spanish artists such as Pablo Palazuelo and Eduardo Chillida, who became friends with shared artistic interests. He managed to get by in the city, despite financial ups and downs, and was dazzled by modern art, above all Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Mondrian. He also got to know the Kinetik and Op Art movements, which he identified with in those early years. Still in Paris, he went through a painful process that involved turning his back on figuration and setting off boldly along the path of geometric abstraction. Although his work was silent, nocturnal and almost secret, he made a key series: the gouaches on card in which he outlined simple geometric figures, at first flat and then with the virtual appearance of volume, arranged in an orderly or random fashion. These simple, emotive, naive pieces became more complicated as he took a growing interest in volume, depth and movement. In them he created his own artistic alphabet and laid the eternal foundations for his plastic language. This work occupied him for the first few months of his stay in Madrid and includes the three papers in the ”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art. These gouaches are worked on with ruling pens on pieces of black card, the medium chosen by the artist to match the possibilities and interests of his plastic art. These pieces of card feature a series of simple coloured, striped geometric figures on a background of very fine parallel white lines, an experimental combination that also featured in later works. Eusebio Sempere became one of the leading representatives of geometric abstraction and optical and kinetic trends in Spain. His increasingly complex pieces, paintings or sculptures, are the result of rigorous, continuous work on geometric form, optical illusion and the sensation of movement, and also possess a unique lyricism and great formal beauty. As his paintings become more and more perfectly executed, the lines become finer and neater, the colour is downplayed and his painting becomes more spiritual, almost mystical, with a subtle, ethereal play of light. La Acrópolis, a panel from 1981, sums up all the artist’s aesthetic premises: geometry, meticulous, detailed technique, exactitude and neatness, and an incessant poetic search for light. Sempere was a generous, staunchly committed artist. In 1977 he donated his collection of 20th-century art to the city of Alicante to open one of the first contemporary art museums in Spain, La Asegurada, the embryo of today’s MACA, Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened to the public in 2011.
R. M. Castells