Antonio Grediaga Kieff

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Alt text: Abstract diamond-shaped sculpture in bronze with points in each cardinal direction mounted on base, frontal view
Alt text: Abstract diamond-shaped sculpture in bronze with points in each cardinal direction mounted on base, side view
Alt text: 

Antonio Grediaga Kieff
Canadian-Spanish, Born 1936
Folkloric Fado
Bronze mounted on a black marble pedestal
12 5/8 H. x 12 W. x 4 3/4 D. inches
Signed and numbered: Kieff 9/9

Artist Description

A sculptor, painter, graphic artist, draftsman, muralist, printmaker, jewellery maker and educator, Kieff Antonio Grediaga (signs his works “Kieff” ) was born in Madrid, Spain and has lived in Montreal and Saint Bruno (a suburb of Montreal), Quebec, Canada since 1969 (his late wife, whom he married in 1968, was Canadian). Although Grediaga’s oeuvre is impressive and wide ranging, he’s probably best known for his table-top bronzes and monumental public space sculptures.

His mediums include bronze, aluminum, steel, wood, iron, marble, granite, commemorative medals, acrylic, oil, gouache*, tempera*, fresco*, pastel, collage*, found objects*, etching*, gold, gemstones, installations, and mixed mediums. Most of his work is abstract, therefore the primary subjects are shape, color and texture. However, the bullfighting fan appears frequently in various mediums and his other subjects include busts, figures, nudes, dancers, still lifes, symbolism, allegory* and architectural studies. His styles include Abstract Expressionism*, Biomorphism*, Color Field Painting*, Concrete Art*, Constructivism*, Cubism*, Fauvism*, Kinetic Art* and Surrealism*.

Grediaga is mostly a self taught artist. However, before coming to Canada, he studied industrial design, engineering, architecture, drama and music (operatic singing) at various schools in Madrid (1950 – 1956), São Paulo, Brazil (1959 – 1961); Buenos Aires, Argentina (1961 – 1966); Barcelona, Spain (1966 – 1967); and Vienna, Austria (1967 – 1969).

Since immigrating to Canada, he’s also lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain (1972); Japan (1972 and 1983); Pietrasanta, Italy (1976); Tel Aviv, Israel (1977); New York City (1979 – 1980); Taiwan (1987 – 1988); and Havana, Cuba (frequently from 1997) where he opened a foundry art workshop school in 2000.

His works have been exhibited in the Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel (1977); the National Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (1988); the Chiang Kai-Shek Museum, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (1988); the Centre d’Art Ozias Leduc, St. Hilaire, Quebec (1994); the Cultural Centre of Spain, Havana (1998 and 2002); the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum, Santiago de Cuba (2005); the National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba (2006); and the Museum of the City, Madrid (2009).

Grediaga has also exhibited at numerous prominent commercial galleries in Montreal, across North America, and around the world, such as Gallery Moos, Montreal; Dominion Gallery, Montreal; Galerie Bernard Desroches, Montreal; Wallack Galleries, Ottawa; David Findlay Galleries, New York; Martin Lawrence Gallery, New York; Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston; Kenmore Galleries, Philadelphia; Hokin Gallery, Chicago; Virginia Miller Gallery, Miami; Klabal Gallery, Minneapolis; Dubose Gallery, Houston; Maxwell Gallery, San Francisco; Ross Lawrence Gallery, Beverly Hills; Alwin Gallery, London, England; O’Hana Gallery, London, England; Safrai Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; and Minami Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.

The titles and locations of some of his public space works are:
Bullfighting Fan (iron), Plaza Vieja, Havana, Cuba
Reclining Woman
 (bronze), Southfield, Michigan
The Three Graces
 (bronze), Southfield, Michigan
Je me souviens
 (20 x 12 mural), Cultural Center, Saint Bruno, Quebec
Folk Allegory
 (bronze), Cultural Center, Saint Bruno, Quebec
 (bronze) city hall, Saint Bruno, Quebec
Totem 86
 (bronze), Crescent Street, Montreal
The Turning Point
 (iron and aluminum), Columbus Circle, New York City [outdoor kinetic installation at the International Art Expo, 1980]
Folklore no. 22
 (bronze), Weight Watchers Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota Folklore no. 22 A (bronze), The Paragon Group, Dallas, Texas
Genesis XI
 (bronze), Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, Ohio

(1) Please note: Several sources, mistakenly refer to the artist as Antonio Grediaga Kieff. His registered first name is Kieff and he was baptized Antonio. According to Grediaga’s website, he was named after Kiev the Ukrainian city where he his father, a Republican soldier, believed the tanks came from during the Spanish Civil War.
Note: While the story may be true, the connection is not that obvious.

Kieff Antonio Grediaga was born on May 28, 1936; the first shipment of T26 tanks arrived from Russia on October 12, 1936, and they were probably manufactured in Leningrad. We could not find a historic connection between the tanks supplied to Spain during the civil war and the city of Kiev, although there are many other avenues where there may be one, such as a military base, an individual, or a port of departure. The Soviet people and Stalin were enthusiastic supporters of the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War and they provided it with much humanitarian and military aid. In fact, they shipped more tanks to the Republicans (331) than Germany shipped to the Nationalists (122).

Reference: Spanish Civil War Tanks: The Proving Ground for Blitzkrieg (2011), by Steven Zaloga; Osprey Publishing (pp.22 and 27).

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