During the years following the Spanish Civil War, Spain’s asphyxiating economic autocracy had the effect of almost completely closing channels of communication with the exterior, even in the field of art. Nonetheless, a few attempts were made to overcome this situation. Among them, a prominent place is occupied by the Encuentros, or meetings, held in Cantabria in 1948 by German painter Mathias Goeritz, writer Ricardo Gullón, sculptor Ángel Ferrant and publisher and academic Pablo Beltrán de Heredia. The programmed regularity of activities and exhibitions that took place around the meetings however was interrupted when Mathias Goeritz left Spain to take up permanent residence in Mexico, which occurred prior even to the first edition of the meetings taking place.
The Escuela de Altamira meetings and activities were held in 1949 and 1950 and were aimed at promoting exchanges between Spanish and international artists, with a view to recovering and revitalizing Spain’s artistic avant-garde. A number of publications were spawned in the context of the meetings: the first and only issue of the magazine Bisonte, and three monographs dedicated to Alberto Sartoris, Ángel Ferrant and Josep Llorens Artigas, respectively. Various artists donated works of visual art for the exhibitions, among them paintings by Mathias Goeritz, Carla Prina, Willi Baumeister, Julio Maruri and Tony Stubbing, sculptures by Ángel Ferrant and Josep Llorens Artigas, and drawings, sketches and projects by Jesús Otero, Pancho Cossío and Ángel Ferrant. Organization of the meetings also led to a good deal of correspondence, ephemeral prints, manuscripts and all manner of reference documentation and catalogs about the artists and intellectuals who took part.