José Guerrero (1914-1992) grew up in quite poor in Granada and changed schools a few times before age 15 when he lost his father. The family needing help, young José started a paid apprenticeship with a woodcarver. Around the time when Guerrero lost his brother in early 1931, his employer Juan Martínez Herrera encouraged him to take drawing classes at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios. The artist developed his technical skills and style quickly during those years, before being thrust into the Spanish civil war. At the onset of World War II, he moved to Madrid, where he furthered his artistic studies, made friends and connections in the arts and launched his career. From 1946 through 1949 Guerrero lived, worked, and further developed in Paris, Brussels, London, and a number of other artistic centers, before moving to the US I 1949 and acquiring the American nationality in 1953. It is not completely clear what amount of time Guerrero spent on either side of the Atlantic after that. He is known to have worked in New York quite a bit and to have spent summers in Spain. But how much time he and his family would spend in either location is a bit of a mystery.
Guerrero developed his abstract style while rubbing elbows with New York avant-garde in the early 1950s. His shapes, which tend towards the vaguely biomorphic often float in monochromatic backgrounds. His use of colors is bold but generally meant to be balanced. His printmaking, which he first learned while in Paris at Atelier 17 under the tutelage of Stanley William Hayter resembles his paintings. He worked in etching, screen printing, and lithography, and mostly composed rectangular vertical shapes, which derive a dynamic quality from being askew. These compositions are generally calm and meditative.