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b. ca. 1897, Granada, Spain
d. 1968, Paris, France


Ismael González de la Serna was a Spanish artist, who is known for his contributions to the twentieth-century avant-garde. As a young man he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown of Grenada. In 1917, an exhibition of French Impressionists came to Grenada; its revolutionary aesthetic had a profound effect on de la Serna, who considered the local artistic sensibilities stuffy and traditional in comparison. In 1921, de la Serna moved to Paris where he hoped to join the luminaries of the avant-garde. In 1927, the influential art critic Tériade devoted an article to him in his art journal Cahiers d'Art, propelling him to transcontinental success. The German dealer Alfred Flechtheim organized a show of de la Serna's works and, when the exhibition sold out, offered him a contract. But when the Nazis came to power, the majority of Flechtheim's inventory was either looted or destroyed, and Flechtheim was forced to annul his artist contracts. Fortunately, de la Serna had also signed contracts with the Galerie Zak in Paris and with the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels. In 1936, de la Serna participated in a group exhibition at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris. During his lifetime, he also exhibited at the Hammer Galleries in New York and the Tate Gallery in London. In 1974, just a few years after his death, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris held a major retrospective of his works.