The artistic vocation of Manuel Álvarez-Laviada (Oviedo, 1892-Madrid, 1958) was evident from a very early age and, under the guidance of his uncle Cipriano Folgueras, he went into the area of sculpture. In 1909 he enrolled at the Madrid School of Sculpture, Painting and Engraving where he became friends with Mariano Moré, the painter from Gijon, and he associated with the group of artists from Asturias, led by Sebastián Miranda, Cañedo and Juan Cristóbal. In 1921 he obtained one of the two scholarship places for the sculpture section of the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. During his stay in the Italian capital, which lasted until 1928, he gradually forged his own style, influenced by the artists forming part of what is known as the Novecento movement, such as Morbiducci, Mascherini and Conti, from whom he took his monumental and constructive ambition. He also travelled throughout Europe, where he was particularly attracted to Greece, as can be seen by two sculptures which marked his breakthrough as an artist: "Diana Cazadora" (second medal in the National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1926), and "Las Dríadas", (first medal in the National Exhibition in 1930). After completing his training, he returned to Madrid where he took part in, and won prizes at numerous National Exhibitions and contests. He also started work in the area of monumental sculpture, combining his artistic work with his teaching duties, following his appointment in 1935 as associate professor of the School of Fine Arts. During the Civil War, his sculptural work took second place, whilst he devoted himself to collaborating with the Board to Defend the Artistic Heritage, formed for the purpose of preventing the destruction of works of art. Once the war had ended, he resumed his work, which was basically focussed on carrying out commissions in collaboration with the architect Luis Moya (monument to Manolete in Cordoba, statues for the Labour University of Gijon). Reluctant to exhibit individually, Manuel Álvarez-Laviada was a regular at the National Exhibitions and he also took part in contests in Barcelona and Rome. A number of museums and institutions hold his works (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias). His monumental sculpture is present in a number of Spanish towns and cities.
Sources of information:
Municipal Archive of Pamplona.LAFUENTE FERRARI, E., «Manuel Álvarez Laviada, escultor español», Clavileño. Revista de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanismo, nº 4, Julio-Agosto 1950, pp. 37-43.«Ante la inauguración del monumento a la Inmaculada», Diario de Navarra, 5 de septiembre de 1954.«Fue ayer inaugurado el Monumento a la Inmaculada Concepción», Diario de Navarra, 9 de septiembre de 1954.Villameriel Fernández, D., «El escultor Manuel Álvarez-Laviada. Apuntes biográficos», Roma y la tradición de lo nuevo. Diez artistas en el Gianicolo (1923-1927), Madrid, Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, 2003, pp. 108-115.