Nestor Basterretxea

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Nestor Basterretxea
Nestor Basterretxea.jpg
BornNestor Basterretxea Arzadun
(1924-05-06)6 May 1924
Bermeo, Basque Country
Died 12 July 2014(2014-07-12) (aged 90)
Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
Nationality Spanish
Occupation Sculptor, Painter, Film producer

Nestor Basterretxea Arzadun (6 May 1924 – 12 July 2014) was a Basque Spanish artist, born in Bermeo, Biscay, Basque Autonomous Community. [1] In the 1950s and '60s, he spearheaded along with other artists such as Jorge Oteiza, Remigio Mendiburu, or Eduardo Chillida, an avant-garde artistic movement concerned with the crisis of Basque identity, and formally a special focus on large volumes and the concept of emptiness.

The Basques are an indigenous ethnic group characterised by the Basque language, a common culture and shared genetic ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitanians. Basques are indigenous to and primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country, a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bermeo Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Bermeo is a town and municipality in the comarca of Busturialdea. It is in the province of Biscay, which is part of the autonomous region of the Basque Country in northern Spain.



In the 1952 Basterretxea was commissioned along with other Basque artists the reconstruction of the Franciscan Sanctuary of Arantzazu. He was assigned the works to design the paintings covering the crypt. After a year-long period and halfway to completion, the paintings were held to be controversial by Church officials and works were suspended sine die. Despite their completion in 1984, the paintings were publicly unveiled and put on show only in September 2009, after an agreement was finally reached with the veteran artist. [2] The Arantzazu reconstruction project paved the way to the establishment of the influential artistic group Gaur ('today') in the 1960s.

Sanctuary of Arantzazu Church in Arantzazu, Spain

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu[aˈɾants̻as̻u] is a Franciscan sanctuary located in Oñati, Basque Country, Spain. The shrine is a much appreciated place among Gipuzkoans, with the Virgin of Arantzazu standing for the main worship figure and patron of the province along with Ignatius of Loyola.

Gaur (artistic group)

Gaur was a Basque artistic group founded in 1966 by Amable Arias, Rafael Ruiz Balerdi, Nestor Basterretxea, Eduardo Chillida, Remigio Mendiburu, Jorge Oteiza, José Antonio Sistiaga, and José Luis Zumeta. The avant-guard group, based in Gipuzkoa, Spain, provided the springboard for a wide Basque artistic movement with close links to influential social, cultural and political agents in the Basque Country opposed to Franco's dictatorship during the 70s and early 80s.

In 1973, he presented in Bilbao's Museo de Bellas Artes (Bilbao Fine Arts Museum) his work Serie Cosmogonica Vasca (Basque Cosmogonic Series), which included some 19 works made in wood depicting Basque Mythology motifs. In 2008, Nestor donated this series to the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. [3]

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Art museum, Provincial museum in Basque Country, Spain

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is an art museum located in the city of Bilbao, Spain. The building of the museum is located entirely inside the city's Doña Casilda Iturrizar park.

In the 1980s Basterretxea became Culture Councillor for the Basque Government for two years. In 1982, he created the seven branched tree that heads the Basque Parliament. [3] Towards the end of that decade, he created two of his best known works: La Paloma de Paz (Peace Dove), initially installed at the Zurriola seafront, Donostia (San Sebastian), later on moved to a roundabout outside the Anoeta Stadium of the same city, and back to the same location somewhat later. In 1989, the Memorial to the Basque Shepherd was installed in Reno, Nevada. [3] When Basterretxea entered his seventh decade of life, he started to reflect the Basque conflict in his work.

Basque Parliament Spanish regional parliament

The Basque Parliament is the legislative body of the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain and the elected assembly to which the Basque Government is responsible.

San Sebastián Place in Basque Country, Spain

San Sebastián or Donostia is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 km from the French border. The capital city of Gipuzkoa, the municipality's population is 186,095 as of 2015, with its metropolitan area reaching 436,500 in 2010. Locals call themselves donostiarra (singular), both in Spanish and Basque.

Anoeta is a multi-purpose stadium in San Sebastián, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain that was inaugurated in 1993.

Basterretxea also engaged in film making, with short films such as Operación H (1963), Pelotari (1964), as well as Alquézar, retablo de pasión (1965), as well as several other documentaries. [3] In 1968, he came back onto the spotlight with the full feature documentary Ama Lur - Tierra Madre ('mother earth'), co-directed with Fernando Larruquert. Despite the documentary's countless difficulties with Franco's regime's censorship, it ultimately made it through to the San Sebastián International Film Festival, to public and critical acclaim. [4]

San Sebastián International Film Festival annual film festival held in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

The San Sebastián International Film Festival is an annual FIAPF A category film festival held in the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastián in September, in the Basque Country.

Basterretxea died at his home in Hondarribia in the morning of 12 July 2014, at the age of 90. [5]

Hondarribia Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Hondarribia is a town situated on the west shore of Bidasoa river's mouth, in Gipuzkoa, in Basque Country, Spain.

Some sculptures by Nestor Basterretxea
Curled sculpture depicting a wave in Bermeo Olatu sculpture.JPG
Curled sculpture depicting a wave in Bermeo
Curled sculpture depicting a wave in Bermeo 
Leioako indarra next to a church (Biscay) Leioako Indarra eleizaurrean.jpg
Leioako indarra next to a church (Biscay)
Leioako indarra next to a church (Biscay) 
Sculpture perched on the front of the dam of Arriaran (Gipuzkoa) Arriarango urtegiaren uhatea.jpg
Sculpture perched on the front of the dam of Arriaran (Gipuzkoa)
Sculpture perched on the front of the dam of Arriaran (Gipuzkoa) 
Depiction of a tree with seven branches presiding over the Basque Parliament Parlamento Vasco.jpg
Depiction of a tree with seven branches presiding over the Basque Parliament
Depiction of a tree with seven branches presiding over the Basque Parliament 
Memorial to the Basque sheepherders in the outskirts of Reno, Nevada Euskal artzaiaren monumentua.JPG
Memorial to the Basque sheepherders in the outskirts of Reno, Nevada
Memorial to the Basque sheepherders in the outskirts of Reno, Nevada  
Lurraren alde of the Basque sculptors Park "Meatzaldea Goikoa" in La Arboleda-Zugaztieta. Lurraren alde, Nestor Basterretxeak egindako eskultura.jpeg
Lurraren alde of the Basque sculptors Park "Meatzaldea Goikoa" in La Arboleda-Zugaztieta.
Lurraren alde of the Basque sculptors Park "Meatzaldea Goikoa" in La Arboleda-Zugaztieta. 

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  1. Estornez Zubizarreta, Idoia; Izaga Sagardia, Carmen. "Nestor Basterretxea Arzadun". EuskoMedia Fundazioa. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  2. Gonzalez, Marian (2009-11-09). "Remodelación de los murales de la Cripta de Aranzazu". El Diario Vasco. Vocento. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Basterretxea, figura de la modernidad artistica reivindicativa" . Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  4. Roldán Larreta, Carlos. "Ama Lur". EuskoMedia Fundazioa. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  5. "Muere el escultor Nestor Basterretxea a los 90 años" . Retrieved 12 July 2014.