ZUMETA ETXEBERRIA, José Luis
(Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, 1939 -  San Sebastián, 2020)
Painting, Drawing. San Sebastián, Bilbao


José Luis Zumeta was born in Usurbil in 1939. As a teenager he enrolled at the School of Arts
and Crafts in San Sebastián and joined the Association of Gipuzkoan artists to study painting.
In 1958 he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Arte Joven Exhibition organised by the Institute
of Youth (INJUVE) in Madrid. The following year he moved to Paris in order to complete his
studies, and would later travel to Stockholm and to London, where he came into contact with
new artistic trends.
Back in Gipuzkoa he got in touch with sculptor Remigio Mendiburu and began to exhibit his
works on a regular basis. In 1966 he was co-founder of the Gaur group, together with Amable
Arias, Rafael Balerdi, Nestor Basterretxea, Eduardo Chillida, Remigio Mendiburu and Jorge
Oteiza, and that same year won the Basque Painting Award. Between the years 1974 and 1976 he
created large-scale ceramic reliefs for Usurbil, Pasai Antxo and Zarautz.
His pictorial style evolved from art informel to Lyrical Abstraction and has always been
characterised by the expressiveness of colour, even when he ventured into the fields of
caricatural figuration and social criticism in the eighties. He works in an intuitive and
passionate manner, seeing each work as a new possibility and a challenge to express his
imagination and creativity.
The expressive colouristic force of José Luis Zumeta's painting have made him one of the most
genuine of Basque Abstract Expressionists and, alongside Amable Arias, Rafael Ruiz Balerdi and
José Antonio Sistiaga, a key figure in the development of the Basque avant-garde.