José Luis Ulibarrena Arellano (Peralta, Navarre, 1924) developed an early artistic vocation in his home village before being initiated in the art of woodcraft as an apprentice in the Pamplona workshop of the cabinetmaker Luis Menchón. In 1941, he started his art studies at the School of Applied Arts and Artistic Crafts, first under Enrique Zubiri and then Miguel Pérez Torres, Andreu and Muro Urriza. Between 1945 and 1947, he was understudy to the sculptors Eulogio Valladolid and Valeriano Martínez in Burgos. In 1950, a scholarship form the Provincial Council of Navarre allowed him to continue his studies at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, where he studied under the French sculptor Marcel Gimond and received advice from César. Keen for new experiences, he moved to Venezuela, where he stayed for seven years, travelling over this period to other Latin American countries such as Peru and Mexico.Following his definitive return to Spain in 1959, Ulibarrena started to centre his attention on protecting folk heritage, which led him to set up the Ethnographic Museum of the Kingdom of Pamplona, with headquarters first in Berrioplano and then, as of 1986, in the village of Arteta (Valley of Ollo), run through Fundación Mariscal Pedro de Navarra, which he created together with his children. Meanwhile, he demonstrated that he was a many-sided artist who would end up focusing on highly symbolic, ethnic sculpture, hard to categorise in terms of international trends. Ulibarrena has held numerous exhibitions in Spanish cities, as well as Paris and Caracas. His work can be found in a range of museums and collections, and his monumental sculptures adorn streets, parks and squares in Navarrese towns and villages, and cities in Spain, France, Switzerland and Venezuela. He has also made religious works, such as “Paso de la Cruz a cuestas” for the Brotherhood of the Passion (1948) and several carvings of saints for parish churches in Navarre.
The artist. MARTÍNEZ TORRES, J., «Hoy es noticia… José Ulibarrena, escultor. Primer becado de la Diputación en el extranjero», Diario de Navarra, 3 de noviembre de 1963. «Conversación de Pedro Manterola con José Ulibarrena», Catálogo de la Exposición en las Salas de Cultura de la Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, Pamplona, Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, 1979. «Ulibarrena y su monumento al Padre Esteban de Adoáin», La Gaceta del Norte, 5 de octubre de 1980. ARTAJO, I., «La otra orilla de José Ulibarrena», Diario de Navarra, 5 de febrero de 1984. MURUZÁBAL DEL SOLAR, J.M. y MURUZÁBAL DEL VAL, J.M., «La escultura pública de José Ulibarrena en Navarra (1)», Pregón Siglo XXI, nº 24, 2004, pp. 62-68. MURUZÁBAL DEL SOLAR, J.M. y MURUZÁBAL DEL VAL, J.M. «La escultura pública de José Ulibarrena en Navarra (2)», Pregón Siglo XXI, nº 25, 2005, pp. 15-21. «Joxe Ulibarrena, artesano de lo sencillo a lo hermoso», Diario de Noticias, 7 de diciembre de 2007.