consider myself privileged to have personally known and spent
some good quality time with Vicent Calbet, who was a quiet and
a reserved gentleman with a natural talent for the art of using
brilliant Mediterranean colours in his wonderful paintings.José
P Ribas has done a good job on writing the biography of this
famous Ibicencan artist. I also thought it would be appropriate
if I were to include some pictures of Vicent, his home and studio
that I was fortune to have taken during the time I had the pleasure
to spend amongst this unique man.Sunday afternoon was quite
an event at Vicents finca on the outskirts of San José,
where his family and friends will always lovingly remember him
as being a generous host. Colourful characters from all walks
of life would appear at his home on a Sunday afternoon bringing
with them pigeons in cages, buckets of live lobsters with excellent
bottles of vino and cava to be washed down with the food that
was prepared for impromptu feasts fit for a king.Unfortunately,
Vicent Calbet departed this life prematurely and in his prime
as a truly great painter. He died at the age of 55 whilst in
Japan preparing an exhibition of his work. Calbet had left Ibiza
in April 1994 for the Japanese City of Fukuoka but was suddenly
taken ill and died of a heart attack due to excess medication.According
to his close friend and travelling companion, Antoni Planells,
Calbet hated flying and had taken large doses of tranquillisers
before boarding the aeroplane for the flight to Japan. He felt
ill while still on board and on his arrival went straight to
his hotel room to rest. Antoni found him dead the next early
morning when he went into his room to wake him.The artists
death came as a terrible shock to his family, many friends and
critics alike. At the time, Albert Ribas, director of the Sa
Nostra Culture Centre in Palma de Mallorca said that it was
a sad blow to the Spanish artistic colony as Calbet
was one of the greatest artists in Spain.
© Gary Hardy
Vicent Calbet Riera was one of the most famous and influential
of Ibiza-born artists. He was born in "Es Vivé"
on 20th October 1940. His father Mariano had a barber's shop
in Eivissa Town on Plaza José Pidal, now known as "La
Tertulia and his mother, Catalina, owned a food shop near
the Vila Square.The year he was born, all the family moved to
"Dalt Vila" (the old part of Ibiza Town, inside the
big walls) where he lived with his four brothers until he was
25.1951: At the age of 11, Vicent begins his studies at the
"Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Ibiza" (School of Arts
and Crafts of Ibiza), where he begins to sketch pencil portraits.
A year later he also starts working, helping his father in the
barber's shop.1956: Vicent is admitted to the Academy of Art
of San Carlos (Valencia) where he studies for two years as an
independent student, just going to Valencia for his exams.1958:
Calbet leaves for Valencia to finish his studies in four years.
Meanwhile, he works as a waiter to support himself. There, he
forms friendships with other students of the Art Academy, Valdes,
Solbes, Toni Riera, Vicent Maciá, Manuel Naranjo. (Solbes
and Valdes were in the following years, two of the components
of "L'Equip Crónica," considered one of the
most important Spanish artistic groups in the 1970s).The influence
of the Academy and the Valencian regional flavour of painting
can be seen in Calbet's work of the time. During the same period,
a show of Medieval Art, in the "Pio XII Museum" enables
him to discover and develop a passion for medieval painting.
Despite this, Munch and Rouault become his real masters. During
these years he is supported and encouraged by his friends and
painters, Agudo Clará and Antonio Pomar and also by the
collector Ramón Medina.1960: His first exhibition in
Gallery Tanit. He obtains the 3rd National Medal in the "II
Young Art Exposition" in Madrid. With the money that he
earns for the sales of his paintings, he takes three trips to
different countries of Europe, visiting museums where he admires
his favourite painters, Rembrandt, Goya and the classic masters.
Back in Spain, in 1961, he exhibits in "Sala Rovira"
of Barcelona.1962: Vicent receives a grant from the French government.
He travels to Paris, where he meets Fernando Arrabal, who helped
Calbet to find a job in a travel agency to support himself.
He receives a sponsorship from the Die Insel Club of Hamburg,
for an 8-month stay in the city. Once there, he decides to live
in Lübeck, becoming deeply immersed in German expressionist
art. (These were also important and happy times as far as his
sentimental life is concerned, with Elke, his German girlfriend,
probably the most important woman in Vicent's life).1963: He
has an exhibition at the "Küunstlerklub Die Insel"
in Hamburg. He leaves Germany and came back to Eivissa.1964:
He has two exhibitions, one in the "Quint Gallery"
in Palma de Mallorca, and the other one in "El Corsario"
in Eivissa. Vicent also participates in the "Exposición
Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid.1965: He exhibits in one
of the first shows of the recently opened "Ivan Spence"
Gallery of Eivissa. One can appreciate the religious themes
in his paintings of the Ibicenco Churches, the masses, nativity
scenes, crucifixion, etc. His collages, which appear on the
sideline, were more informal, showing the influence of different
artists living on the Island, such as Broner, Dmitrienko, Giorgo
Pagliar, as well as some of the painting he had seen during
his European trips.1966: He obtains 1st Prize for Painting in
the second International Biennial of Art of the City of Eivissa.1967:
Exhibition in the "Gallery City of Stockholm". He
continues living in Eivissa, in his old studio in the district
of Sa Capelleta.1968: Participates in the National Exhibits
of Fine Arts in Madrid and the "XII Salon de Mayo"
of Barcelona.1969: He exhibits at the "Gallery 5"
in Eivissa. Exhibits at the "Ariel" in Palma de Mallorca
and at the "Atlantic Gallery" of Duisburg (Germany).During
this year, Vicent suffers profound depressions, the repercussions
of which come out in the vibrancy and pure colours of his work.1970:
He has various exhibitions, one in "Chedel Gallery"
in Geneva, another in the "Marlekin Gallery" of Stockholm
and in the "L'Ull de Vidre" in Mallorca (later, this
gallery was very popular with another name, "Quatre Gats").
In this same year, his paintings display more fluidity, featuring
purer, joyous colours.1971: Two very prolific years follow,
with numerous exhibitions of his work. He rents "Can Puvil,"
an old Ibicenco finca in the countryside, on the road to "Es
Cubells" in Sant Josép, becoming a very important
and vital centre for him, where he lives and works until his
death. He exhibits in the "Sala Libros of Zaragoza",
at this time a centre of great artistic and intellectual importance.
"Atelier Gallery", "Morona Gallery", both
in Milan (Italy), "Alfa Gallery" in Madrid, "Latina
Gallery" in Palma, "Museum of Painting" at Osnabrück
(Germany).Vicent Calbet obtains the 1st Prize at the first International
Painting Exhibition in Eivissa organised by the Town Hall.1972:
Exhibits at the "Gallery Petit" in London, at the
"Artlantis" in Duisburg (Germany) and at the "Kunstenaarscentrum"
in Bergen (Holland). This is the year that he abandons his relationship
with his foreign dealer (Josép Vallribera, also a famous
painter) and begins a less prodigious stage in regard to his
exhibitions.1973: He exhibits again in "Libros" of
Zaragoza and the "Gallery J. Blanes, in Palma.1974: Exhibition
in the "Latina Gallery" in Palma de Mallorca.1975:
Exhibition in the "Jeksen Gallery" in Denmark, and
the "Gallery Quatre Gats" in Palma.1976: Exhibits
in the "Gallery Ibiza" Eivissa.1978: Exhibits in the
"Gallery Noray" of Pollensa (Mallorca).1982: In the
"Sala de Exposiciones Sa Nostra" in Eivissa, where
he will exhibit consecutively in 1983 and 1984. Also during
these years he participate in the "Feria Internacional
de Arte de Madrid" (ARCO).1984: Exhibits at the "Mostra
Itinerant Art Eivissa".1985: Exhibits at the "Sala
de La Caixa de Pensions de Muro" (Mallorca) and at "Sa
Nostra" in Eivissa. Also exhibits in Colliurse (France),
within the "Mostra de Cultura de Balears".1986: Calbet's
work is gaining in importance, particularly his style of encapsulating
everything in square "boxes".About these works, the
art expert Guillem Frontera writes in a magnificent thesis on
Calbet's work: "It seems there is not a thing in its right
place; So many things: little stones, dried leaves, easels,
palettes, spatulas, punchers, a rag, a tin can, poster fragment
thick with glue, bits of tobacco, wax and oil thrown out, stiff
brushes, a juniper pine root, finished works, works begun, works
packaged, spilled over inkpots..."Elena Ruiz Sastre has
also written about "The boxes of Vicent Calbet." Among
other things, she says: "It is clear that Calbet is interested
in the square as a basic shape, and on this he has built many
compositions""It is as if in these boxes there is
an inherent desire to preserve from destruction these mountains
of miserable pieces of paper, destined for the rubbish bin,
and there is strange delight and great concern in the process
of creation that radiates from each one."Thus are treasured
those fragments of reality, just as we treasure at some times
in our lives those tattered memories converted into little-used
objects that nevertheless remain irreplaceable symbols"1987:
Exhibits at the "Pelaires" Palma de Mallorca, and
is presented in ARCO (Madrid) by the same Gallery.1989: Exhibitions
at the "Gallery Van der Voort" (Eivissa) and "Gallery
Bisart" of Palma.1990: Exhibition at the "Gallery
Fenici" in Madrid. "Sa Nostra" in Eivissa organises
the exhibit "Parafrasis" where once again the religious
theme is taken up.1991: Exhibits at the "Feria de Arte"
in Nice (France) represented by a Parisian Gallery.1992: Exhibits
at the "Gallery Bisart" of Palma, and at the Balearic
Pavilion of the "Universal Exposition of Sevilla"
(Spain). He participates in the "Rutas de Baleares"
of the "Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Esports
of the Govern Balear in Washinton (USA).1993: Vicent Calbet
Exhibits for the last time on the Baleares Islands at the "Gallery
Ses Voltes" in Palma de Mallorca and in the "Museum
of Contemporary Art" (MAC) of Eivissa.
© José P Ribas
EXPOSICIONS, PREMIS, ETC.
Rep tres premis de la Galeria El Corsario.
3a Medalla Nacional de la II Exposició dArt Jove.
Sala Rovira. Barcelona.
1962 Borsa destudis del Govern francès.
Premi del Club Die Insel. Hamburg.
1963 Künstlerklub Die Insel. Hamburg.
1964 Galeria Quint. Palma.
El Corsario. Eivissa.
Galeria Ivan Spence. Eivissa.
1966 1r Premi de pintura a la II Biennal Internacional dArt
1967 Galeria City. Estocolm.
1968 Exposició Nacional de Belles Arts. Madrid.
XII Saló de Maig. Barcelona.
1969 Galeria 5. Eivissa.
Galeria Atlantis. Duisburg (Alemanya).
1970 Galeria Chedel. Gènova (Itàlia).
Galeria Marlekin. Estocolm.
LUII de Vidre. Palma.
Galeria 4 Gats. Palma.
1971 Sala Libros. Saragossa.
Galeria Atelier. Milà
Galeria Morona. Milà.
Galería Alfa. Madrid.
Galería Latina. Palma.
Museu de Pintura. Osnabrück (Alemanya).
1r Premi Exposició Internacional de Pintura. Eivissa.
Galeria Petit. Londres.
Galeria Atlantis. Duisburg (Alemanya).
Kunstenaarscentrum. Bergen (Holanda).
1973 Sala Libros. Saragossa.
Galeria J. Blanes. Palma.
Galería Latina. Palma.
1975 Galeria Jeksen. Dinamarca.
Galeria 4 Gats. Palma.
1976 Galería Ibiza. Eivissa.
1978 Galeria Norai. Pollença (Mallorca).
"Sa Nostra". Palma.
"Sa Nostra". Palma.
Mostra Itinerant dArt dEivissa. Eivissa.
"Sa Nostra". Palma.
1985 Sala de "la Caixa". Muro. (Mallorca).
"Sa Nostra". Eivissa.
Mostra de Cultura de les Balears. Cotlliure (Rosselló).
1986 Al gruix de la seva obra, cobren importància les
1987 Sala Pelaires. Palma.
Arco. Sala Pelaires.
1989 Galeria Van der Voort.
Galeria Bisart. Palma
1990 Galería Fenici. Madrid.
"Paràfrasis". "Sa Nostra". Eivissa.
1991 Galeria de París. Fira dArt. Niça.
1992 Galeria Bisart. Palma.
Pavelló de les Balears. Exposició Universal. Sevilla.
"Rutas Baleares.Confluencias culturales del Mediterráneo"
Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Esports. Govern de
les Illes Balears. Washington.
Galeria Urbe. Alcúdia (Mallorca).
1993 "Vicent Calbet. Treinta años de pintura".
Museu dArt Contemporani. Eivissa.