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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 19, 2011

Images: Portraits by Félix de la Concha from the UI Libraries digital collection

UI Libraries launches digital collection by Félix de la Concha

The University of Iowa Libraries has launched its latest digital collection, "Portraits in Conversation," ( featuring art and interviews by Félix de la Concha.

portraitDe la Concha is a painter who creates multidimensional portrayals of his subjects while conducting and recording video or audio interviews about their lives, work, and views on art. The collection features Spanish-language interviews with some of the leading cultural figures in Spain, as well as English-language interviews recorded in the United States, including with writers at the UI International Writing Program.portrait

Spanish-born de la Concha studied at the Facultad de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world, with solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. He lives in Madrid and Iowa City with his wife, poet Ana Merino, associate professor in the UI Department of Spanish and Portuguese in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The two are close collaborators, with Merino frequently drawing upon de la Concha's work in her scholarship on the choreography of storytelling.

In 2005, de la Concha embarked on a project to record his portrait sittings with writers and artists.

"This series started as a kind of experiment: I wanted to see what kind of portrait would come about if, while I was painting the model, the focus was kept on conversation, and the model's pose was constrained for only two hours," he said. "Each portrait was an unpredictable adventure, both in its conversation and in the painting that resulted." 

In 2007 de la Concha began a similar project creating portraits of Holocaust survivors. He has exhibited these works at museums such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.

This collection of de la Concha's interviews and portraits is the latest edition to the Iowa Digital Library,, which features more than 300,000 digital objects created from the holdings of the UI Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, fine art, political cartoons, scholarly works and more. The UI Libraries is a staunch supporter of new forms of scholarly publishing, digital humanities, data curation and open/linked data.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kristi Bontrager, University of Iowa Libraries, 319-335-5960; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,