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Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía
Gallery View. Photo: Courtesy MARCO / UM Fotografía



23 February 2023 - 21 July 2023
1st floor exhibition rooms
From Tuesdays to Saturdays (including holidays), from 11.00 to 14.30 and from 17.00 to 21.00. Sundays, from 11.00 to 14.30
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo. In collaboration with :A Forxa Produccións
Miguel Fernández-Cid

The MARCO of Vigo wants to culminate the year Laxeiro, ending April 2023, with the exhibition entitled “Laxeiro and the Art of his Time”, a show self-produced by the Museum and curated by the MARCO’s director, Miguel Fernández-Cid, in collaboration with A Forxa Produccións. 

As a nod to the artist's life trajectory, the dates of opening (23rd February) and closing (21st July) have been set to coincide with the day of the painter's birth and death.

The exhibition presents a new vision, a proposal for debate, which emphasizes the dialogue of his painting with that of other contemporary artists, stressing the need to study Laxeiro in the context of the art of his time.

For the first time, a selection of his most outstanding works is exhibited together with pieces by other artists that Laxeiro looked at with an observant eye (Zuloaga, Corredoyra, Souto, Colmeiro, Maside, Asorey, Mallo, Seoane, Torres García), or that provide references for a rich visual dialogue. Among his "devotions", Gutiérrez Solana, Vázquez Díaz, Palencia, or the later Saura, Canogar or Barcala. And as special references, artists such as Rembrandt and Goya, present with graphic work.


Learning activities for school children

Visits and workshops for school groups
With the support of: Fundación “la Caixa”
Until the 17th of June, 2023
Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 13.00
For booking please call +34 986 113900 Ext. 100/ +34 986 113908 /

Educational Concerts for School Children

A sound and visual tour through the rooms of Laxeiro's exhibition, guided by EMM Music City School teachers in collaboration with the Educational Dept. of MARCO.

Organised by: Educational Service, Concello de Vigo / Music City School
Dates: from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 March 2023
Hours: from 10am to 10.45am (1st shift) and from 11am to 11.45am (2nd shift)
Contact Tel. / email: 986 810181 /

Workshops for Children

Every Saturday, MARCO’s educational department organises different activities addressed to children, inspired on the works exhibited.

With the support of: Fundación “la Caixa”
Until the 28th of May, 2023
Hours: Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm (age 3-6) and from 12:30pm to 2pm (age 7-12)
For booking please call. +34986 113900 Ext. 100/ +34986 113908 / email

Puppet show: "A Night in the Trasmundo".

Conceived as a tribute to the life and work of Laxeiro, this dreamlike journey full of adventures is starred by "Pepiño" and other characters present in the artist's paintings.

Produced by Títeres Natuacasa.
For children and family audiences
Dates and times to be confirmed

Information and Guided Tours

Gallery staff are happy to respond to questions and queries related to the exhibition. Additionally guided tours are available:

Daily at 18.00 / ‘A la carta’ visits for groups are available by appointment.

Interactive Maps via the Vigo app

The interactive maps system accessible on the Vigo app allows visitors to consult exhibition-related content (videos, pictures, information about the pieces on show), either via beacons or bluetooth devices located inside the museum spaces or anywhere else via the map on your mobile phone’s screen after downloading the app, or on the Concello de Vigo website.




Laxeiro lived in Cuba from 1921 to 1925. During his stay in La Habana he saw exhibitions by Ignacio Zuloaga and Jesús Corredoyra. Laxeiro was still a child, but he retained some images and ideas. Years later, when he had become a fully-fledged painter, he remarked: “These exhibitions made everything that I carry inside me as a painter shudder to the core”. Whether or not the memory is actually literal, it points to Zuloaga and Corredoira not as companions but as a starting point for a way of painting that was conscious of what had already been achieved. Fully developed painters seen by the novice, he is surprised by them and makes his first selections; dense painters, of flesh, of colour and shadows.


Self-portraits and iconography. The self-portraits often reveal the painter’s desires: some, being young, portray themselves older, perhaps affirming the condition they seek to achieve. Laxeiro portrays himself faithfully in his time and in the language of his painting. He quickly defined his favourite iconographic themes, to which he returned at different times: life, painting, carnival, children, musicians, family scenes, condensed real or fictional popular stories, portraits, gesture painting, the stain, the colour... Images in consummate compositions, with a touch of theatrics, a scene playing out before our eyes.


The 1930s placed him in contact with similar painters, with concerns akin to his own. In this period his models, ways of painting, iconographies and ideology became fixed. The painting as a mandorla and the cloud as a composition, all supported by the lines of the drawing. The relationship between the figures, and between them and the landscape or architecture: with allusions to the rural and to Romanesque sculpture. To paint Galicia, to define a new Galician art and to become artistically and politically committed. To explore tradition with the aim of moving towards new proposals. To deal with familiar themes and their common bond, Galicia and its values, in an attempt to depict them in a new, less costumbrista or local way, thanks to the language of painting.


The way a painting is built, the choice of materials. In Laxeiro there is a debate between figuration (the need to paint in layers, shading) and free gesture (his facility as a draftsman, making swift brushstrokes). His breakthrough comes when he discovers that the key is the composition, the inner structure of the painting, something that he intuited when he started drawing them. Agile and quick to see, he turns his attention to the Romanesque, to the Galician landscape (the mountains), and presents a personal approach including variegated compositions, adaptation to the frame and images supported and justified by their relationships. In his painting, figures possess weight and are anchored to the earth, like sculptures hewn from density. 


In contrast to the image of Laxeiro as a happy character, a painter of the everyday, of the familiar, his painting is actually dense and dramatic, like a popular feast day. The popular is joy and celebration, but also drama, pain: a bond that is experienced strongly in the rural world, in sayings and proverbs, in religion, in symbols, in games, in tales and fables, in literature and in that oral language which fuelled Laxeiro’s art. As in the books by some of his friends who were great novelists, scenes, scales, actions and stories coexist in Laxeiro's paintings, but all are governed by an apparent order. And within the painting everything is happening.


Every artist has his “chosen affinities”. Laxeiro admits to being joyful when he sees or coincides with Gutiérrez Solana, Vázquez Díaz or Benjamín Palencia, artists we feel are closer to each other for defending the independence of their proposals: in appearance closer to Solana's way of painting, while Vázquez Díaz exhibits compositions that embrace an almost warm, landscape cubism, and Palencia possesses a palette of alternative landscapes. Likewise, his encounters, such as his way of structuring a Torres García painting and pairing it with a Maruja Mallo organic painting, which lets us understand the contemporary nature of the paintings that Laxeiro tenders as altarpieces or stained glass windows.


Rembrandt and Goya are two constant references for Laxeiro. Rembrandt and the density of paint, a predilection for matter and nuance: a painting of layers upon layers, of flesh and appearances. Goya's approach was to paint everyday scenes to which he added sentences, dwelling on what the image says and insinuates. The pleasure of seeing the painting appear, the interest in expressing an opinion via painting. And hand in hand with the painter who searches and explores, is the agile, fast and accurate draftsman, which links to Castelao and Seoane.


From 1950 to 1971, Laxeiro lived in Buenos Aires and his painting became freer in gesture, but denser and more expressive, to the point of conversing naturally with European informalist approaches. Laxeiro’s heads, in contrast to Saura’s use of size, Canogar's fondness for cracks and screams, or even to his own tribute to Rembrandt’s portraits, lay bare his devotions (as is the case of Seoane in his famous folder of etchings). It is difficult to imagine a group that better indicates an era and the individual character of Laxeiro's art. 


Faced with the regional coercion of condemning an artist to a place, to a geography, he dares to analyse that with his art. Why not see Laxeiro as an oddball in the style of Derain? A painter who paints what he wants, who returns to his themes and escapes to difficult places. When looking at Picasso, Laxeiro is capable of uniting the drama of Guernica with the sensuality of his most classical figures; which would stand happily among the late works by De Chirico or Picabia. Once an official history of Galician art has been established, which being official does not inure it from a hint of Borgesian infamy, why not look at the works directly and pay attention to the stuff that is forever in the margins?


What if we looked for order in Laxeiro when at his most free and colourful? When Laxeiro is conscious of his skill, of his prowess, and paints “as easy as pie”, like someone simply walking, talking or drawing. Other comparable artists rely on the strength of colour, or on composition, or even on certain manual, gentle geometries, such as collage. Laxeiro being the “old painter” (Titian, Matisse), trapped by painting, turned into painting. For years he strove to compose finished works, which were often helped by the thick lines of a preparatory drawing, and in his maturity he is aware that he even paints in the air, which is painting.


If painting were a linear path, judging it would be easier. Fortunately it is not, and reviewing it according to the criteria of each era is quite appealing. Laxeiro is the author of irrefutable paintings, regardless of their time, size and workmanship, and a flurry of drawings and paintings that guarantee him the echo of familiarity. When exhibited, we can see how the painter seeks to define a painting and adjust a composition; in his maturity, however, he is capable of deconstructing the image without harming the painting, perhaps unconsciously, to continue investigating. There are Grosz’s crowds, Paolo Uccello’s battles, Ensor’s vanishings – and Laxeiro’s laxeiros.

Curatorial text

On April 1, 2022, the Galician Royal Academy of Fine Arts decided to honour José Otero Abeledo (Donramiro-Lalín, Pontevedra, 23 February, 1908 – Vigo, 21 July, 1996), better known as Laxeiro, on the Day of Galician Arts 2022 and up until 1 April,  2023. He will then be succeeded by the following honoree, Martín Códax.

Bearing Laxeiro’s critical fortune in mind, MARCO, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vigo, is organising an exhibition different from any other curated until now. The aim is to showcase an excellent selection of his works, and to contextualise them within the art scene of his time, along with those of other artists to which Laxeiro paid attention, and which serve as guides for dialogue. Some examples of the former are the paintings of Ignacio Zuloaga and Jesús Corredoyra, which Laxeiro saw in La Habana; the 1930s works of Arturo Souto, Manuel Colmeiro, and Carlos Maside; works from different periods by Castelao, Asorey, Maruja Mallo, Luis Seoane, and Torres García. Amongst the “devotions”, Gutiérrez Solana, Vázquez Díaz, Benjamín Palencia, Miró and the later Antonio Saura, Rafael Canogar and Washington Barcala. The timeless influences of the graphic works by Rembrandt and Goya, to which Laxeiro paid tribute many times, are also present.

Rather than a conclusive retrospective, the exhibition is conceived as a starting point, a prompt for debate, emphasising the need to study Laxeiro in his artistic context, along with other artists. Given that the layout is designed to create a path in which a dialogue between works is facilitated, the presence of paintings greatly surpasses that of biographical data.

The exhibition does not follow a strict chronological order, aiming to establish quick visual connections. Texts and panels point out certain aspects or links which make the layout easier to follow. The exhibition brings us closer to a painter who was both intuitive and wise, a fun character who did not show, however, an ounce of frivolity when it came to painting, and who was often even dramatic in his research and his finds. He was a well-read artist who knew where to look for his inspiration, both in life and in art, in traditional celebrations and in museums— a hawk-eyed man, able to merge pain and happiness in his artistic expression. This inspection of his work clearly reveals the moments in which he paused to look closely, the debates which he went over again and again, or what he faced when he started a new painting.

Not only does the exhibition contain works from the Vigo City Council (from the Laxeiro Foundation and the Quiñones de León House Museum), but it also comprises works from private collections, as well as from various museums and institutions in Galicia and other regions. The presence of works from the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, the ABANCA and Afundación collections, the Montenegro and Artemanz galleries, as well as other collections which, despite being private, undoubtedly contain public treasures, is especially important. We would like to extend our gratitude to all of them for their generous contributions.

Miguel Fernández-Cid
Curator of the exhibition