Jordi Canut Martin
New York • Ibiza • New York
Multifaceted, eclectic, like a chameleon, but particularly modern and abstract... How else can a globetrotter like Carlos Sansegundo be defined, a sculptor and designer as well as a painter?
Few people can boast as he can of having rubbed shoulders with the greatest and participated in the most cutting edge artistic currents in Europe as well as the other side of the Atlantic, even to have turned away a milliondollar business deal with Pierre Cardin. The fact is this restless cosmopolitan par excellence lives amongst us. After much coming and going, Sansegundo established his residence over ten years ago in Santa Eulària. No doubt this is quite an honour. Dressed with jeans, trainers and a baseball hat that give him a youthful yankee air, at 78 this artist shamelessly but humbly tells us about his adventures around the world.
The son of a merchant who loved art, as a kid Sansegundo already showed great talent in painting. At 18 he left his hometown of Santander and went to Madrid with a scholarship to study at the arts school of San Fernando. He started to train there but lacked inspiration, so in 1953 he went to Paris, where he shared exhibition rooms with the greatest: Picasso, Miró,... In 1956, the master sculptor Henry Moore offered him work in his atélier in the British countryside. As he has always done when destiny tempted him, he did not hesitate to accept the offer and, while he only stayed a few months, he assures that Moore taught him a lot. Back in Madrid, he used to hang out at Café Gijón, a meeting point for many artists. Camilo José Cela was one of his friends back then. One afternoon, this friend who would one day become a Nobel prize winner noticed a car stopping and an amazing woman stepping out of it. She looked foreign. "Hey", said Cela, "you speak English, don't you? Go for her!"
Sansegundo walked up to the elegant lady and asked her if she was North American. Later that night they were dining in the best restaurant in Madrid and a few days later he arrived in Ibiza for the first time. At the beginning of the 60s, the island was ablaze with culture, a refuge for European and American artists who wanted to escape the bleak postwar rigid mentalities. Such efervescence captured the young painter and he decided to shack up in a little casita with the misterious American lady, in Es Vivé.
Sansegundo soon joined the group "Ibiza 59" and took part in various exhibitions in the mythical gallery "El Corsario", in Dalt Vila. In his own words, "his jaw dropped" when he witnessed the trendy atmosphere on the island which he "had not seen in Paris, nor London, much less in Madrid". The artist is nostalgic about those times gone by...
But then another unexpected gust of wind took his life in a new direction. During an exhibition at the modern art museum in Madrid, a rich gallery-owner from New York offered to buy all of his paitings. Sansegundo accepted and two months later he was invited to go exhibit his work in the Big Apple. The Matutes family helped him to transport his artwork to Barcelona and from there he sailed on to the United States. Little did he know, but he would not return soon. As soon as he arrived, he met Ruth Kligman, the director of the Washington Square Gallery, in Greenwich Village, one of the most prestigious art galleries. Stunned by her Elizabeth Taylor-like beauty, Sansegundo did not hesitate to propose there and then, and a month and a half later Andy Warhol became their best man. Once again, Sansegundo entered the most cutting edge artistic circles on the arm of a beautiful lady. His friendship with De Kooning or Rothko and the Pop Art of Warhol and friends at 'The Factory' left an indellible mark on his ample production. "Lots of colour, proportions and silhouettes, without ever losing the chromatic balance", he explains.
Carlos Sansegundo has been married three times and has two offsprings. He seems to have lived enjoying what he loves most: bringing to life with his hands the shapes and colours that since childhood dance in his mind.
Texto: Jordi Canut Martin
Fotos: Alberto Rodrigáñez Pedroche