Esther Boix

1927Llers, Spain | 2014Anglès, Spain
Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Esther Boix

Catalan painter and teacher.

Esther Boix was a Catalan painter and teacher trained at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios Llotja (1943) and the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de Barcelona (1945-1951). A grant from the Institut Français de Barcelona (1953-1954) allowed her to study in Paris. Later, she travelled and studied in several European countries. These experiences facilitated the configuration of her own personal style. In 1955, she held her first solo shows at Galería Argos in Barcelona and the Galería Biosca in Madrid, and took part in the III Bienal Hispanoamericana de Arte, also in Barcelona.
She was a member of the short-lived (1950) Grupo Postectura, which held a group show at Barcelona’s Galerías Layetanas. Critics cited her as one of its most outstanding artists. She also joined the Grupo Indika (1952), renewing her visual vocabulary, and the Grupo Estampa Popular, a collective of which she was the prime mover in Barcelona in 1965, leading her to turn to drawing as well as printmaking. She and María Girona i Benet (1923-2015) were the only women founding members of the Estampa Popular Catalana, making basic contributions. E. Boix and Carlos Mensa Corchete (1936-1982) ran these groups until they handed over the reins to younger artists in 1969. At the same time, she was also heavily involved in teaching. In 1967, she and Ricard Creus founded Escuela de Técnicas de Expresión L’Arc in Barcelona, whose focus was to encourage children and teenagers to develop their creativity in every sphere – a pioneering initiative in that time and place

After her student years under the influence of Novecentista classicalism and Expressionism, her interest turned to interior studies and human subjects. Later, after her travels through Europe, urban landscapes appeared in her work. From the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, in parallel with her city scenes E. Boix also did natural landscapes and paintings imbued with social criticism. Like other women artists such as Ana Peters (1932-2012) and Ángela García Codoñer (1944-), the social engagement reflected in her work was distinguished by a particular interest in analysing the female condition.
For instance, in her 1965 print Dona que frega i els fills tancats [Scrubbing Woman and Locked-up Children], she employs thick, abrupt lines and strong black and white contrasts, typical of the realist expressionism of many of the artists associated with this “people’s prints” movement. In the upper part of this lino print we see what appears to be the inside of a prison cell, while in the bottom half there appears a woman scrubbing a floor on her knees. This piece can be considered a denunciation of the oppression of working women under the Franco regime. Further, there is a certain symmetry to two of the women, but, whereas the first seems bent under the weight of the load she is carrying, the hands of the second are strong and vigorous.
During the 1970s, her work began to address addressing nature and ecology, along with the social and political issues that had long been her signature. In 1978, she went back to landscapes, imbued with a more hopeful tone reflecting the political changes sweeping Spain during those years.

E. Boix was the author of a number of books, including the Del arte moderno series comprised of La revolución del arte moderno. Del impresionismo al expresionismo (1987), La razón y el sueño. Del Cubismo al Surrealismo (1989) and Europa y Norteamérica. De los totalitarismos políticos a las artes conceptuales (1991).
In 2000, the town council of Les Preses (Girona) awarded her and her husband, R. Creus, the title of the city’s adopted children. Career surveys of her work include a 1994 exhibition in the Fontana de Oro in Girona, and the 2007 Esther Boix. Espejos y espejismos organised by the Fundació Fita, the Casa de Cultura and the Museu d’Art in Girona.

Julia Fernández Toledano

Translated from From Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Esther Boix, Dona que frega i els fills tancats [Woman Cleaning and Children Shut In], 1965, linocut on paper, 65 x 50 cm, Private collection

Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Esther Boix, Alta fidelitat [High Fidelity], 1962, oil on canvas, 99 x 81 cm, Museu d’Art de Girona

Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Esther Boix, Gris à la lente, 1972, oil on canvas, 73 x 62 cm, Private collection

Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Esther Boix, Mujer con cesta en el camino [Women with basket on the road], 1951-2000, lithography, 62 x 48.5 cm, Private collection

Esther Boix — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Esther Boix, Untitled, 1978, lithography, 21 x 15 cm, Private collection

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