Reality shaped his art. His art shaped my reality

Alberto Ignacio Manrique de Lara Díaz was born in Las Palmas of Gran Canaria, Spain, in 1926. From a very young age he showed a great talent for drawing, which led him to alternate his calling as an artist with that of his profession as master builder.

In 1949, he began working as illustrator for ‘Planas de Poesía’, a politically committed and socially motivated magazine founded by the Millares brothers (José María, Agustín and Manolo Millares). A year later, together with Felo Monzón, Juan Ismael and Manolo Millares, he set up the so-called LADAC (‘The Archers of Contemporary Art’), a vanguard movement which emerged in the Canary Islands in the 1950’s.

The need for economic stability to provide for the family he had created led him to decline the invitation to move to Madrid with his LADAC colleagues in search of new horizons, focussing instead on his career as a master builder during the tourism and construction boom which took place during those years in Gran Canaria, providing him with a period of great prosperity.

In 1975, Alberto Manrique, with eight children and the complicity of his wife, Yeya, took the risky decision of taking up his great passion once again and abandoning his successful career as master builder to devote himself exclusively to painting. He chose watercolor as his means of expression, a huge challenge given the immense experimentation still to be discovered in that field. Nor did he limit his work to watercolor either, and over the course of his artistic career he used techniques such as oil painting, etching,
serigraph, ink, and stained glass among others. Among his characteristics as a painter is his use of the ‘pulverized’ watercolor, a technique which he explored in depth and experimented with, achieving visual effects which could have hardly been expressed in any other way, a personal stamp of identity in his pictorial style in which objects seem to defy gravity, in addition to his use of perspective which he takes to its limits, deforming reality, something on account of which his paintings have been given the name ‘fantastic realism’.

  • Agropsicosis (watercolor) 100x70 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • After the holocaust (watercolor) 100x79 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • Schizophrenia (watercolor) 90x65 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • Schizophrenia chess (watercolor) 70x50 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • It is always possible to dream (watercolor) 100x70 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • Devil's trill (watercolor) 134x86 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique

  • Children's dreams (watercolor) 90x70 photograph by ©Ricardo Manrique