In Spain in 1962 the monthly magazine Control de Publicidad y Ventas (Control of Advertising and Sales) began, a pioneering publication with specialised information on advertising and marketing. In its 20th edition, from May 1964, an exhibition by Grupo 13 featured on the cover, with a 40-page special report inside. It opened with an article by M.A. García Viñolas and concluded with news of the “virtual” display that Control set up, metaphorically “hanging” work from the components of Grupo 13 around that time on the pages of the magazine. As, for instance, in this text: “for many, the first surprise will be knowing that there are nineteen,” the components of a group with “elastic” dimensions.
Grupo 13 was formed in Madrid in 1961 and, despite the name chosen by its founders, was initially made up of ten professionals (Calvo, Cruz Novillo, Cuesta, Garbayo, Laperal, Loizaga, Olmos, Juan Poza, Santamaría and Valdés). All of them either took charge of the artistic direction in major advertising agencies or worked as hired creatives for important Spanish companies at the time such as Profidén and Kelvinator. These initial members were also joined, at different stages, by Bartolomé, Carrasco, Escobedo, Alfredo González, Horna, Loriga, Parra, Rafael Poza, Roncero, José Ramón Sanz and Tapia.
The closing piece on this unmistakeable display “as an exhibition”, published in the magazine Control, was the following: “Number thirteen, traditionally fateful, sits as an exact corner where art, with a brush and pencil, ink stain and paper cutting, can be suddenly found embracing the zeal of a message, and its impact. The result is true and pure advertising, with no hidden corners, that reaches us loaded with humour or surprise, tenderness or candour”. This was a time when it was difficult to pin down advertising art and graphics in commercial media.
Coinciding with the first anniversary of this blog, we wanted to retrieve this graphic document which is of great interest to the recent history of Spanish graphic design. In future entries, we will return to this unusual case of “unity not uniformity” represented by Grupo 13 – a kind of precursor to Professional Associations – because of the relevance of their names and the importance of their work.