Born in a village in old Castille in 1926, Fermín Aguayo experienced at a very young age the pain of the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, his native village fell into the hands of the Francoistas, his father and two of his brothers were assassinated, Fermín and his mother succeeded in fleeing, and thus began a period of wandering over Spanish roads with a family of bohemians who earned their living by making portraits of villagers. Their virtuosity fascinated Fermín who was inspired to paint his first pictures in 1945, always employing nut oil, the least expensive kind, which had the particular quality of drying very slowly and of darkening the colors. At the end of the ‘40s, Fermín Aguayo became known, through the creation of Grupo Porticoof Zaragoza. A pioneer of an abstraction at that time little practiced in Spain, the young artist expressed, through his painting, the violence of the situations that he had endured during the Spanish Civil War. Arriving in Paris in 1952, he was presented by Louis Clayeux to Jean-François Jaeger, who discovered the large canvases of the Corridas series and decided to support him. Aguayo thereby completed a series of abstract compositions, cut by knife, in diving and centered perspectives, in muted tonalities of the arid earth of Castille.
Twelve solo exhibitions were dedicated to his work at the gallery. His works from the 1950s evoke Spain and the incurable nostalgia of the voluntary exile. The ‘60s were marked by a return to figuration, fertile years that saw the birth of essential paintings such as his three principal tributes to Velasquez, Infanta Margarita, Infanta Margarita en rose and Felipe IV; but also Le grand atelier, Les peupliers d’octobre, Les grandes baigneuses, L’atelier aux oranges, Trois nus pour un espaceand Le peintre.
A self-taught artist, solitary and quiet, Fermín Aguayo suddenly passed away in 1977 leaving a unique œuvre, inhabited by a profound and troubling humanity.