Eduardo Chillida Belzunce was born in Donostia-San Sebastián on 15 March, 1964. The son of Eduardo Chillida and Pilar Belzunce, he is the youngest in a family made up of the parents and eight children, four boys and four girls.
From a very early age Eduardo showed an interest in art. In this way, he made his first sculpture with clay given to him by his father. This small terracotta piece shows a woman seated in a chair with her arms resting behind her head and her legs crossed. More than the ability to do it, what stands out in the sculpture is the supple vision of the female body that Eduardo already had as a young boy.
In several sketches by Chillida of his son when he was a boy, Edu always appears painting, whether sitting or laying down, but always with a pencil and paper in hand.
It would appear that his enthusiasm for “being an artist when I grow up,” as he himself stated, was more significant than his desire to study. After briefly attending the Deba Art School and the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Centre), where he had the pleasure of taking classes from the painter Antonio López, and also the School of Arts and Crafts in Madrid, he began to work first in sculpture and later in painting too.
At the time, while he was still not twenty years of age (this period corresponded to him being between seventeen and twenty), he sculpted in stone, alabaster, and also worked with terracotta and bronze.
He spent some time in his brother Pedro’s studio. Pedro, Chillida’s oldest son and Eduardo’s godfather, had by then finished a degree in Philosophy and Letters and had set himself up in a studio next to the paternal home. There, the two painted and chatted and they both gave free rein to their own art.
In 1985 Eduardo had a terrible motorbike accident that resulted in him being in a coma for a month and a half. Against all medical prognosis, Eduardo managed to escape that dark tunnel, regain his speech, walk and, ultimately, with a great deal of effort, have a real life again. As a result of the paralysis he suffered on one side of his body after the accident, he was forced to become left-handed in order to be able to continue painting.
It was at this time, in 1986, that he moved to Madrid with his brother Luis, where they shared a student flat. Proof to both himself and others that he could lead his own life. He continued painting there but not sculpting. This was something that, since the accident and for the time being, he had put to one side. It would appear that sculpture did not occupy such a central place in his memory, although one never knows what might be going through the mind of an artist.
The following year, in 1987, he spent six months in New York in his sister Susana’s home. There he enjoyed walking in Central Park and visiting the Metropolitan Museum to see, in his own words, my painter friends. Of course, keeping up with that habit of painting wherever he went for more than a couple of days, he continued to paint in Susana’s home. He painted in one part of the house and his brother-in-law, Eduardo Iglesias, wrote in another. Susana was at that time preparing her doctoral thesis.
In 1988, having returned to Donostia-San Sebastián, he had his first solo exhibition in the Galeía Dieciséis in the city.
In 1990 he met Susana Alvarez, a journalist working in advertising, and in September 1991 they were married in Amasa, a village near Donostia-San Sebastián. Eduardo and Susana have four children. Eduardo was born in 1993, Laura in 1995, Pablo in 1998 and Miguel in 2004. They do not just share a family but also work, since his wife organizes Eduardo’s exhibitions and accompanies him everywhere in his life.
Throughout his entire career, committed to social, charitable and religious works, Eduardo has taken part in numerous charitable exhibitions. For example, on two occasions, with the “Beste aldean” (“On the Other Side”) mural in Zuloaga Square and the “Homenaje al Señor” (“Homage to the Lord”) mural in the Saint Sebastian the Martyr’s Parish Church, both in his native city, Donostia-San Sebastián, he has donated works, to the DYA (a non-profit ambulance service) and the Catholic Church, respectively.
In 2010 Eduardo travels to Mexico with Susana and they remains at the art collector Heberto Guzmán´s house, which motivates Eduardo to retake sculpture. It is as well as throughout 2011 he made a dozen sculptures and in 2015 he took another step, making six large bronze sculptures that were presented in Paris, France, in public for the first time in 2017 in the Place du Louvre. Since then, the sculptures have been exhibited in different places and this year, 2021, two of them will be exhibited for twelve months in London, in Lower Grosvenor Gardens.
Susana Alvarez San Martín