«Io sono venuto qui con uno spirito assai diverso da quello che portarono i miei connazionali, loro venivano con uno spirito di conquista. Io, per difendere voi e i vostri valori che sono inestimabili e credo di aver trovato a Matera parte della mia storia. Io ho sempre pensato che voi avete una cultura, una civiltà, una sensibilità parallele alla mia.»

Josè Garcia Ortega

José Ortega was born in 1921 in Arroba de los Montes (Spain). In 1934 his family settled in Madrid and the young José began his artistic journey during the Spanish civil war and the subsequent establishment of Francisco Franco's dictatorship, years that would profoundly mark him for the rest of his life. Accused of anti-Franco activities, he is forced first to prison and then to a long exile. In the 1960s he lived in France and frequented the fervent Parisian cultural environment, coming into contact with important artists and intellectuals including Antonello Trombadori and Pablo Picasso.

In 1972 he arrived in Matera and found his space here, the silence to work, the values, the warmth and the colors of his Mancha and, above all, he discovered papier-mâché, the ancient material with which the Matera craftsmen make the triumphal chariot of patronal feast of the Madonna della Bruna. He decides to stop in Matera where he creates the cycles “Pasaron” and “Muerte y Nacimiento” which in their complete story constitute a unicum.

In 1976 he obtained authorization to return to Spain where he exhibited the works produced in Matera. In 1980 he left Spain again to return to Italy, settling in the small town of Bosco, in the province of Salerno.

He died in Paris in December 1990 and his remains rest in the Montmartre Cemetery.

Discover the project and the works
Awesome Image


Within 7 days of the date indicated on your booking, you may visit – at a discounted price
the MUSMA Museum of Contemporary Sculpture