Familia andaluza (Andalusian Family)

Francisco Ontañón

Barcelona, Spain, 1930 - Madrid, Spain, 2008
  • Date: 
    1960 (circa) / Vintage print, 1965
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper glued to tablex
  • Dimensions: 
    Full bleed image: 99,8 x 69,8 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 

In 1960 Francisco Ontañón used the phrase “the avant-garde of photographic restlessness” to describe the Madrid school, consisting of photographers such as Gabriel Cualladó, Francisco Gómez, Gerardo Vielba and Ontañón himself, which was beginning to exhibit and publish its pictures. Ontañón was an excellent photojournalist, firstly for the magazine La Actualidad Española and then later for the newspaper El País. His photo-books include Vivir en Madrid (1967), a deliberately distanced and ironic narrative.
The photograph Familia andaluza (Andalusian Family) is glued to a wooden frame, the way that AFAL group photographs were shown in exhibitions in the 1960s, with neither exterior frames nor glass. It is a group portrait, face-on as tradition demanded, of at least fifteen people looking out at the viewer with the seriousness and imposing presence of the old formal portraits of royal families. Ontañón uses the doorjamb to create a claustrophobic image, where the family becomes a caged, nervous huddle, full of an energy that sooner or later is going to have to break free.

Horacio Fernández