Biography and bibliography
Helios Gómez, born in 1905 in the Triana district of
Seville, was trained at the Seville Industrial Arts and Crafts School,
and at the town's Cartuja factory, as a painter and decorator
on ceramics. His first works were published in the anarchist newspaper
Páginas Libres and he also illustrated books by Seville
authors such as Rafael Laffon and Felipe Alaiz. In 1925, he held his
first exhibition at the Kursaal in Seville, and had another
exhibition a year later at the Ateneo in Madrid and at the
Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona. As he was strongly convinced of the
urgency of political change, he joined anarchist groups, and decided
thereafter to speak, write and paint according to his chosen political
According to Jean Cassou, he was an artist
because he was a revolutionary and
a revolutionary because he was was an artist. In 1927, forced
to leave Seville for political reasons, he went into exile in
Paris. There he held exhibitions in several
galleries and contributed as a graphic artist to the Spanish exile
newspapers Tiempos Nuevos and Rebelión, and
to the weekly Vendredi. He was arrested for taking part
in a protest demonstration against the executions of Sacco and
Vanzetti and deported from France. He then settled in Brussels
where he exhibited, worked as decorator, and illustrated Max Deauville's
book, Rien qu'un Homme. In 1928, he left for Amsterdam,
Vienna, then Berlin and travelled in the USSR for two months.
En 1929, he settled in Berlín, where he held exhibitions, contributed
to several publications, including the Berliner Tageblatt, and
attended typography and interior design classes. At the beginning
of 1930, the Socialist International (AIT) published his first
After the fall of Primo de Rivera's dictatorship, at the end of
1930, Helios returned to Spain and settled in Barcelona, contributing
to several journals, L'Opinió, La Rambla, La Batalla,
L'Hora, Bolivar and Nueva España and creating
book covers and illustrations, mainly for left wing publications.
This was the year in which he published the manifesto Por qué
me marcho del anarquismo (Why I am quitting anarchism) and
joined the Comunist Catalano-Balearic Federation, part of the
BOC (Bloc Obrer i Camperol, the Workers and Peasant's Bloc). He
was expelled shortly afterwards because of his antidogmatic stand.
In 1931, he joined the PDC and ilustrated Mundo Obrero.
In 1932, he was arrested in Madrid for his political activism
and was imprisoned and transfered to the Jaén prison. He
was granted bail to attend, as the Spanish representative, the
International Congress of Proletarian Artist, held in the USSR,
to whisch he had been invited by VOKS. He seized this opportunity
to settle in the USSR until 1934. During this period, he visited
Leningrad, lived in Moscow, and exhibited at the Pushkin Museum
in 1933. Public Art Editions published his second album,
His work departed from abstract figures to adopt a more politically
committed realism, easy to decipher and whith a strong social
content, but different from socialist realism, which he constantly
criticised. He returned to Barcelona during the summer of 1934,
but was arrested again in the autumn in connection with the workers
uprising in Catalonia. He again left for Brussels where he published,
at the beginning of 1935 his third album, on the 1934 events,
He returned to Barcelona in 1935, and following the legalisation
of left-wing organisations, with other artists of the Els Sis
group, in 1936 he founded the Sindicat de Dibuixants Profesionals
(The Union of Professional Designers), which was to launch the
activist poster movement during the Civil War, thanks to intensive
production of anarchist and republican posters. He also produced
work for many publications as well as paintings on the war, approaching
surrealism. At the beginning of the Civil War, he took to the
barricades in the defence of Barcelona and joined the Aliança
d'Intel·lectuals Antifeixistes de Catalunya ( the Catalonian
Alliance of Antifascist Intellectuals). He was appointed Political
Commissar of the UGT (General Workers Union), and as such organised
the Ramón Casanellas Column, sailed with the Bayo expedition
to free Ibiza and Majorca, and joined the fronts in Aragon, Madrid
and Andalusia. In charge of culture in the 26 th Divison, he designed
the masthead and artwork of the newspaper El Frente, and
organized the exhibition in homage to Durruti in Barcelona.
At the end of the war, he went into exile in France where he was
interned successively in the concentration camps in Argelès-sur-mer,
Bram and Vernet in the Ariège, and then was deported to
the French camp in Djelfa (Algeria), between February 1939 and
Back in Barcelona in 1942, he founded the short-lived group LNR
( Liberación Nacional Republicana, Republican National
Liberation) and the Casa de Andalucía (the House
of Andalucia). In 1948, he exhibited works of a surrealist style
in the Arnaiz gallery, in Barcelona, and created murals for decorating
various venues, the Colon jazz club and the San Jaime
University Hall of Residence in Barcelona.
Between 1945-46 and 1948-54, he was arrested and imprisoned in
the Modelo prison in Barcelona, where he painted the oratory
known as the Capilla Gitana.
In spite of a liberation order signed in 1950, he was illegally
detained for four more years and he died in Barcelona two years
after his release in 1956.
Jordi Font, Gabriel Gómez, Amado
Marcellán, Caroline Mignot, Jean Lemaître, Miguel Tilniav,
José Luís Jimenez. Helios Gómez, la revolution
graphique, ACHG/Association Mémoire
Graphique, Barcelona, 2013, 256 páginas, (21 x 28 cm.)
This book presents graphical folders
by Helios Gómez: Días de ira (Day of Wrath), Revolución
española (Spanish Revolution) Viva October and Horrores
de la guerra (Horrors of war). It includes a selection of drawings
from the press and numerous illustrations for publishers.
The biography and work of this unique illustrator are critically
analysed by different authors.
Published in French, with testimonials from friends and colleagues
of Helios Gómez in the original language with translations. Print
run of 500 copies
(Available from our association for €30 + postage)
Gómez, Días de Ira,
(Days of Wrath) Associació Cultural Helios Gómez, Barcelona 2012, 28 pages
(23.5 x 33 cm).
A reprint of the album published in
Berlin (1930) and Barcelona (1931). 25 black and white sheets ready
for framing with poems by the author. Introduction by Romain Rolland.
Edition in Spanish.
Print run of 100 copies.
(Available from our association
for €60 + postage)
Gabriel Gómez, Caroline Mignot
(Introd.). Helios Gómez, La Revolución Gráfica, A.C.I.M.,
F.I.M., H.G.C.A., 230 pages, Barcelona, 2009 (20.5 x 28 cm).
This book presents more than two hundred India ink
drawings published in the press from the 1930s and a selection of
color posters and book covers.
Gabriel Gómez, Caroline Mignot (Introd.),
Gómez, poemas de lucha y sueño,
400 pages, Barcelona, 2006 (21x21 cm.)
Gómez was internationally known and valued as an artist in the 1930s
basically for his black and white political drawings. The unpublished
poems and drawings of this splendid 400-page book with numerous illustrations,
allow you to glimpse the brilliance of the soul of this artist held
captive in the Modelo prison of Barcelona during Franco's regime.
Introduction in English, Romani and Catalan; poems in Spanish.
(Available from our association for €35 + postage)
Caroline Mignot, Jacques Lemaître: :Helios
Gómez, Visca Octubre, (Long Live October) Museum of Granollers,
A.C.H.G, Museu d'Història de Catalunya, CarCob (Brussels), 101
pages, Granollers, 2005. (22x30,5 cm.)
of Helios Gómez with Jean Fonteyne in Brussels led to the publication
of the album Viva October (Long Live October) in 1935, consisting
of 24 drawings about the Spanish Revolution, reissued in this catalog.
Two articles situate the context of this publication and a few reviews
summarize the biographies of these artists and intellectuals.
Published in Spanish, Catalan and French.
Pública Andaluza Centro
de Estudios Andaluces, Consejería de la Presidencia, Junta de Andalucía
(Catálogo de exposición): helios gómez, dibujo
en acción, 1905-1956. Fundación
Pública Andaluza Centro
de Estudios Andaluces. Sevilla,
Gómez, poemas de lucha y sueño, 1942-1956,
ACHG, Barcelona, 2006.
Gómez, Visca Octubre, Museu de Granollers, ACHG, Museu
d'Història de Catalunya, CarCob (Brussls), Granollers, 2005.
Helios Gómez, 1905-1956, Catálogo
de exposición, IVAM Centre Julio González, Generalitat Valenciana,
Ursula Tjaden: Helios Gómez Artista de Corbata Roja, Txalaparta,
Carles Fontseré: Memòries d'un cartelista,
Ursula Tjaden: Die Hülle zerfetzen Helios Gómez 1905-1956
Andalusier Künstler Kämpfer, Elefanten Press Verlag GmbH, Berlín,
Art Contra la Guerra, Catàleg d'exposició,
Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1986
© Associació Cultural