This special edition is published under the auspices of the Interministerial Board for the Commemoration of the XXV anniversary of the Spanish Peace and on the occasion of the exhibition “Spain 64–25 years of Peace”. Thus, this clarification on the back cover of the promotional booklet, Spain is Different [great slogan, by the way] closed, as a colophon, this masterful publication of Máximo San Juan Arranz, Máximo [1932-2014]. Accompanying the vignette was a radiant and happy sun, ironically in light of the dictatorship that involved designers in those celebrations, with their posters on Las Ramblas in Barcelona and Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, among many other propaganda activities of the Regime.
Máximo approached the commission with his good offices as a draftsman and writer, even, in this case, a designer/model maker. His drawing, ostensibly stark, of clear line, is a synthesis and very cultured, wrapped up with the philosophical maxims of a magnificent writer who cloaks the irony with the subtlety of elliptical and abstract humour. He was always defined as a “very intellectual” comedian, something that favoured him and maintained that introspective roguish look of aloofness, while very present, paradoxically, in the daily social chronicle, with his periodic vignettes in the mainstream media of the Spanish state: La Codorniz, Por Favor; Pueblo, Triunfo, Interviú, La Vanguardia, El País…
The texts of this booklet of the Ministry of Information and Tourism, directed by Manuel Fraga Iribarne at the time, are full of narrative elegance peppered with the subterranean ingenuity of his acid vision [without losing his flair despite censorship] and burlesque of the Spanish society of his time .This, curiously enough, is still valid today, which validates Máximo’s personality in his universal perception of the lives of others; as classic.
To me always, in Máximo, I was fascinated by his schematic capacity in which his thought [as in El Roto] takes him to the edge, with the ductus so well trained that in the work, whether a vignette or an illustration, it fits with his essential summary, always transcendent. Although it seems exaggerated, invariably, I considered him a graphic artist in his field of humour.
This copy was recently rescued from my archive, among the thousands of pieces I keep, for the inventory of the collections. I hope that the new generations will see [and read] and enjoy, taking into account the difficulty of developing a critical language in a society that, in the sixties, had such a civilized gag so well applied in the ministry that Fraga directed.
Saint Jerome said: “Neither poor, nor rich, neighbour or stranger, familiar or not, should shirk from right judgment.” The saints sometimes say such things, which are wise. I admire Jerome a great deal because, like Máximo, he is always represented, or remembered, with a desk where there is a pen and ink to say something to others.
Javier García del Olmlo