At the forefront of illustration

From the first drawings realists in the nineteenth century, notes of the natural that the artists carried out on site emulating modern photojournalists before the irruption of photography, to the most recent humorous vignettes, much bolder, critical and reflective, the illustrations from
The vanguard
constitute an extraordinary visual chronicle (artistic, satirical or political drawings, cartoons, comics, jokes, visual metaphors) from which you can follow the passage of time and the events that have marked it, as well as the concerns, aspirations, mentalities and wishes of the societies of each moment.

Over the years, successive artistic movements crept into his illustrations. Modernism, naturalism, the influence of surrealism, expressionism … The vanguard was one of the first newspapers to incorporate illustration and, from the Universal Exhibition of 1888, with the entry of Modesto Sánchez Ortiz in the direction, the newspaper opens to the world of culture and gives entry to a good number of writers , but also to bohemian artists, such as Rusiñol, Casas, Pellicer, Llimona, Nonell, Torres García, Pichot, Meifrèn, Opisso …, “starting a path of no return in the Spanish press”, according to the art historian Daniel Giralt-Miracle, author of the book Cartoonists, humorists and illustrators of ‘La Vanguardia’ 1881-2006, published in 2007 on the occasion of the 125 years of this newspaper.

It is a journey from the first natural drawings to animated illustrations on the web

With the advent of photography in 1929, photojournalists send cartoonists home, so that little by little the illustrations cease to be simply ornamental or descriptive and become charged with ideological intentionality. The cartoonists no longer make chronicles but criticisms, with figures of extraordinary talent such as Lluís Bagaria i Bou, who mark a before and after, thanks to his caricatures of characters and his famous Cushion drawings, devastating criticisms of the policies of Franco and Hitler published during the Civil War.

The post-war period opens up a grayer period where there is no room for humor, irony or satirical commentary, until, already in the 1940s, the cartoonists Silenio or Fresno began to cultivate the art of speaking between the lines. The caricature in its psychological portrait aspect will return at the end of the fifties by the hand of Manuel del Arco, who illustrates his own interviews in his section Hand to hand, “With a self-confidence and a lack of inhibition until then non-existent”, according to the author of the book, who also highlights the white humor of Joaquim Muntañola, who published a daily joke from 1962 to 1970, at which time he shared ownership with Perich. He was the protagonist of an authentic “revolution of the concept of illustrated journalistic reflection”, opening the way that José Luis Martín, Máximo, Oli, Ferreres, Guillén, Ventura Coromina, Kap, JL Martín or Toni Batllori will follow, who since 1995 has been naked day to day of the protagonists of politics in his strip Dolls.

La Vanguardia published page. Article From the Mill by Santiago Rusiñol with illustrations by Ramón Casas. La Vanguardia of January 18, 1891 (Hemeroteca La Vanguardia)

Fernando Krahn deserves a separate chapter – “meticulous drawing, sense of irony and reflection” -, as well as the incorporations that would come later, Peret, Joma, Perico Pastor, Mariscal, Meritxell Duran, Barbara Perdiguera or Jordi Labanda, giving entry to a contemporary art that does not renounce reflection. In recent years, The vanguard has continued to bet on illustration, both on paper and on the web, where in some cases animated versions are published. “The line of illustration tries to combine an image of strong visual impact with a powerful conceptual message, sometimes seeking classicism, other modernity but always with a contemporary language, which connects with the trends of the current world”, says Rosa Mundet, editor-in-chief of Design and the person who ensures that the reader can continue to enjoy the best. If up to now illustration seemed like a man’s thing, with few exceptions, the situation has gradually been balanced with the arrival of Maria Corte, Cristina Spanò or Sònia Pulido (last National Illustration prize). His signatures, such as those of his colleagues Riki Blanco, Edmon de Haro, Marc Pallarès or Oriol Malet, are claimed in international media such as The New York Times O The New Yorker.

From the exhibition of 'Cartoonists, humorists and illustrators of' La Vanguardia '1881 - 2006'.

From the exhibition of ‘Cartoonists, humorists and illustrators of’ La Vanguardia ‘1881 – 2006’. (.)

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