Manuel Aragon 1932-2006
Manuel Aragón Ortega was born in the town of San Fernando in the province of Cádiz in the Andalucía region of Spain. He was born on the 26th of April 1932, son of Antonio Aragón Suarez, who was a non-professional artist, and Agustina Ortega Jimenez.
From a very early age he spent all his free time drawing and painting with his father who was also his first teacher. His still-life paintings and his continuing life drawing of these years formed a solid base for his future career.
Although he used still life themes to improve his drawing technique, it was clear that his passion was for landscape painting. His favourite themes were the salt lakes and the marsh areas of his native town.
In 1951, while painting in the “Canteras de Puerto Real” he casually met Pierre de Matheu, an artist from El Salvador and from the very first moment the connection was very strong between the two of them.
In the same year, he was sent to Madrid to complete the military service which was then compulsory for all young men in Spain. In Madrid he became a regular visitor of Pierre’s studio, who Manuel admired all his life and always referred to as his “maestro”. Pierre de Matheu was Manuel de Falla’s cousin and after living for 40 years in Paris he moved to Cadiz in his search for the Mediterranean landscape and light.
In 1975 Manuel had his first individual exhibition in the Galeria Peninsula in Madrid and another in Galeria Melkart in Cadiz.
It is around this time that he discovered the area known as “El valle del Jerte” in the south of the Salamanca region which inspires many of his paintings with the golden autumns and the cherry blossom in the Spring.
From 1976 to 1980 there was a dramatic change in his style with geometry becoming a very important element of his compositions: boats, blossom trees, white villages and above all his olive trees that he described many times as if they were real characters.
1980 and 1981 were very productive years in his career and he had several exhibitions in Cadiz and Jerez.
In 1984 Manuel travelled to Venice and became fascinated by the islands of Murano and Burano as well as the little village of Chioggia near Venice.
Between 1998 and 2003 he had 3 exhibitions in Galeria Margarita Summer in Madrid which where a great success.
Manuel continued painting and evolving in his technique spending most of his days in his studio until the end of his life due to cancer on the 31st of December 2006.