Huesca, Spain, 1930
He exhibits for the first time in 1950 at the Bookstore in Zaragoza and in 1952 at the Buchholz bookstore in Madrid, where he presents dreamlike and surrealist paintings. After his transfer to Paris from 1954 to 1956, he joined Surrealism, a movement he quickly distanced himself from. He begins experimental works in series entitled Phenomena and Grattages. In 1954 he abandoned abstraction. In 1956 he made his first black and white paintings from the structure of the female body.
After his return to Spain, he founded together with Manolo Millares, Pablo Serrano, Rafael Canogar, Luis Feito and other artists the group El Paso (1957-1959). He exhibited for the first time in Paris at the Stadler Gallery in 1957. The following year, 1958, he participated together with Antoni Tàpies and Eduardo Chillida at the Venice Biennale and in 1959 he was invited to the second edition of Documenta in Kassel (Germany). In 1958 he painted his first Imaginary Portraits, among which the Brigitte Bardot series emerges. Between 1957 and 1960 he made several series of large-format paintings whose themes will be recurring throughout his work: Crucifixions, Ladies, Shrouds, Portraits, Imaginary Portraits, Nudes, Landscape-Nudes, Cures, Goya's Dog and Crowds. From this time the chromaticism of his painting will be limited, for a long time, to the use of blacks, grays and earths. Assumed the trends of European informalism and American abstract expressionism, it will follow a personal trajectory that has its roots in the heritage of Velázquez, Spanish baroque painting in general, and Goya.
In 1958 he began, with a series of lithographs entitled Pintiquiniestras, which will be a fertile printed work that he will develop throughout his life. In 1960 he made his first serigraphy, being immediately fascinated by the multiple possibilities offered by this technique. Very interested in the graphic work, he makes a total of 632 works, collected in the reasoned catalog “Saura, the Graphic Work” by Olivier Weber - Caflisch and Patrick Cramer. Much of the serigraphs are stamped by Javier Cebrián.
His work as an illustrator in quality editions of literary works was prolific, such as the Quijote de Cervantes, El Criticón de Baltasar Gracián, 1984 from Orwell, The Adventures of Pinocchio de Collodi in the adapted version of Christine Nöstlinger, the Diaries of Kafka, or the Dreams and speeches of Quevedo among others.