b. 1903, Turégano, Spain
d. 2001, Bridgehampton, New York
Esteban Vicente was a Spanish-born American artist, and a leading figure in the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. He is best known for his collages and paintings, which demonstrate his virtuosity at manipulating form and color. He was one of the founders of the New York Studio School, where he taught for thirty-six years. As a young boy growing up in Spain, Vicente often visited the Prado Museum with his father, who was an amateur painter. When he reached the precocious age of fifteen, Vicente began studying art formally at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. In 1928, Vicente received his first exhibition alongside the artist Juan Bonafé at the Atendo de Madrid, and in 1936 he moved to New York, where he befriended artists such as Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, and Ad Reinhardt.
His work can be found in notable collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Guggenheim Museum. A few years before he died, the Spanish government opened the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente in the artist’s honor. The museum, located in the historic city of Sergovia, has a collection of 153 of Vicente's works.