Ismael Gonzalez de la Serna studied at the academy of art in Madrid. As a young man, he was a friend of Federico García Lorca. In 1921, he settled in Montparnasse in Paris, where he associated with Gris, Gargallo, Gonzalez, Soutine, Kisling, Pascin and, particularly, Picasso.
La Serna was first influenced by the French Impressionists, then after coming to Paris, by Picasso and Braque, exploring Cubism. He subsequently developed an eclectic style, with compositions including figures such as The Dressmaker, Spanish Dancers and still-lifes. According to Terriade, 'His art is the natural link between reality and the abstract'. In 1917, he illustrated Lorca's first book Impressions and Landscapes (Impresiones y paisajes) and in 1928 the Sonnets of Góngora for the Cahiers d'Art.
La Serna took part in group exhibitions, including those at the arts centre in Granada in 1933; the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1936; the Spanish pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition in 1937; the Galerie Berri in Paris in 1938, 1947 and 1948; Contemporary French Art at the museum of fine arts in Mexico in 1956; the Tate Gallery in London in 1963 and the St-Étienne Museum in 1964. Before coming to Paris, he had held his first exhibition in Madrid in 1919. His first Paris exhibition, organised by Paul Guillaume, took place in 1927. He later had solo shows in Brussels in 1928; at the Galerie Zak in Paris in 1928 and 1930, and again in Paris in 1974; at the national gallery in Berlin in 1930; at the Galería del Turismo in Madrid in 1932; at the Centro Cultural Conde Duque in 1990 and in 1963 in New York.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Paris (Mus. d'Orsay)