Altafulla i crisantems (1989)

Altafulla and chrysanthemums

Altafulla and chrysanthemums (1989) is a work by Josep Sala (Barcelona 1928 - Altafulla, 2010), produced in oil on a 200 x 200 cm canvas.

Josep Sala usually painted in the open air and did not attempt to imitate reality but reinterpret it, because when the atmosphere that surrounded him penetrated his soul, a form of intimate communication was established between the artist and the landscape, and this is what the painting represented for him: direct, subjective and unrepeatable sensations and emotions.

In the work Altafulla y crisantemos we can observe in the foreground an area that occupies up to three-quarters of the total surface area of the work, something he called the abstract zone. It is an anarchic fragment, without drawings or defined forms, where he uses the undefined and dense nature of uncultivated vegetation, the scrubland and wild flowers, such as white and red chrysanthemums, to boldly develop an admirable mixture of turbulent brushstrokes which are extraordinarily rich in their variety of material touches.

In the background we can discern the castle of Altafulla and the San Martín parish church, two buildings which outline the unique silhouette of the small town. On the horizon, relegated to a narrow strip at the top of the work, he draws whirling clouds in a sky that combines grey and blue tones; the brushstrokes are more fluid and contrast with the abundant use of material in the foreground.

The colour palette ranges from white to ochre and green hues, highlighting the reddish stains of the chrysanthemums, which are highly significant in his work.
The landscape of Altafulla is a recurring theme in the work of Josep Sala. He goes outside to paint every day and representing the surrounding area of the town was vital to the artist. He was able to interpret the scrubland, a puddle and the wild flowers in different ways, depending on the time of day and the weather. These were his preferred motifs, and he relegated the town’s architecture to the background.

The mixture of brushstrokes and the colour palette make up the abstraction in the painting of Josep Sala. The figuration of the sinuous lines of the castle and the town’s architecture can only be intuited at the top of the work.

A flat and blurred brushstroke represents the sky, while the thicker brushstrokes, with an abundant use of material, are reserved for the foreground of the work.

More information about the artist