The Art Collection has adjusted the space for the mural Homenaje al Padre Donostia (Homage to Father Donostia) by Jorge Oteiza, at Banco Sabadell’s corporate building in San Sebastian. The mural has also been the object of minor restoration.
The origins of the mural can be traced back to 1956, when Jorge Orteiza and Luis Vallet were commissioned to create a monument to Basque composer and musicologist José Gonzalo Zulaika y Arregui, Aita Donostia, in Mount Agiña. Vallet built a concrete chapel, while Oteiza placed a stele a little further away, comprising three rectangular prisms made of marble, black at the base and the capital, and beige in the middle. A large circle was perforated in the stele, which was a little out of place, and that changed over the course of the day by the shadow it cast inside. The circle seemed to be a reference to the Holy Host, and at the same time to the sun and the moon. However, it can also be interpreted as a reference to Malevich and the English painter Ben Nicholson, with whom the sculptor had just shared an award at the Sao Paulo Biennial.
These references to Nicholson are made very evident, as highlighted by Pilar Muñoa, in the great frieze of the Bank’s corporate building in San Sebastián, entitled Homenaje al Padre Donostia, also known as Suite con el paisaje de Agiña. Oteiza uses the same marble as that of the stele, but rather than a monolith, the sculpture takes the form of a panoramic frieze adapted to the architecture of the building. The name of suite is no coincidence since it evokes music, perhaps closely following Nicholson, who contrasted figurative and abstract concepts with musical and architectural ones. The frieze is like a stave through which the melody passes longitudinally.