Manolo Valdés (1942 – Present) was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1942. Valdés trained as a painter in 1957 at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de Valencia, Spain. In 1964, Valdés formed the group Equipo Crónica with Joan Toledo and Rafael Solbes. As a member of Equipo Crónica Valdés participated in over sixty solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions up until 1981, with a particular focus on Pop Art as a statement against the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. His works from that period are marked by this political involvement, which Valdés executes poignantly with trademark irony and didacticism in equal measure.
Valdés specializes in sculpture, paint and mixed media. After Equipo Crónica disbanded, Valdés work developed as he found inspiration in the styles and techniques of Old Masters, such as Francisco Goya and Diego Velázquez. In 1981, Valdés exhibited a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany. In 1982, Valdés exhibited in Galería Punto, Galeríá Val, Galería Maeght and Galeria 4, Valencia. Valdés continued to exhibit multiple times a year in Germany and Spain for the rest of his career, notably exhibiting in Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao several times, participating in an Equipo Crónica exhibition that travelled from Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno to Centro Julio González, Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de la Casa de la Caridad and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Valdés exhibited in the Marlborough Gallery in New York in 1991 and 1994, Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, California in 1996, the Cynthia Bourne Gallery in 1996 and held a solo exhibition titled Manolo Valdés 1981-1995, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno IVAM, Centre Julio González. He exhibited solo in Brazil in 1997 in an exhibition entitled Manolo Valdés, Pinacoteca de Estado and again later that year in Argentina in an exhibition entitled Manolo Valdés, Museo de Bellas Artes, Buneos Aires. The Centre Georges Pompidou held a solo exhibition entitled Manolo Valdés in Paris in 1999, and he was given a solo exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice the following year. A major retrospective of his work entitled Manolo Valdés: Arte en La Calle: Escultura Monumental was held in Spain at the Ayuntamiento de Valladolid in 2006, travelling through Spain to the Cordoba, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Sevilla, Bilbao and Barcelona until 2008, and a numerous amount of seminal retrospectives over the last decade has occurred in The New York Botanical Garden (2012), Marlborough Fine Art, London (2015) and the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia (2017).
Valdés is collected worldwide, including at ATRIUM, Centro Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria; Comune di Siena; Comunidad de Madrid; Fonds National d’Arts Plastiques, Paris; Fundación Juan March, Madrid & Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Hispanic Society of America, New York; Kansas City Museum, Kansas City, Missouri; Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, Germany; Maire de la Ville de Biarritz, France; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée Picasso, Antibes, France; Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellín, Columbia; Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, Spain; Nassau County Museum of Art, New York; The Israel Museum, Israel; Veranneman Foundation, Belgium and the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg in Russia.