Born into a peasant family, Miguel Hernandez dreamt of becoming a coffee grower in Brazil. At the age of nineteen he emigrated, became a farm laborer in a hacienda and a seller of cereals and pastry. He finally settled in Rio de Janeiro as a cook before joining a small group of revolutionaries. Back in Europe, he contributed to an anarchist journal in Lisbon. Arrested, he had to leave Portugal and return to Spain. He took part in the war in Morocco, then returned to Madrid, became a barber, and then a broker for a publishing house. Ardent anarchist and anti-militarist, he was imprisoned several times. During the Civil War in 1936 he commanded five thousand men. He married in 1938 and had to flee Spain. Interned in France in a refugee camp, he sent his wife back to Spain. They would never meet again. At the end of the war, he moved to Paris, with no income, he lived in poverty, but continued his political struggle. Administrator of the journal España libre, he devoted the rest of his time to his artistic production.
His work is populated with images of his country, workers and peasants, a mixture of disturbing feverish characters, inscribed in agonizing spirals. It is at its strongest when Hernandez represents women surrounded by doves – dark beauty, ghostly image recalling perhaps his lost love.
SEE ALSO :
Publications de la Compagnie de l’Art Brut, fascicule 1. Text by Jean Dubuffet. Paris, 1964.