Eduardo Chillida was born on January 10, 1924, in San Sebastián, Spain. After studying architecture at the University of Madrid from 1943 to 1947, he began to focus on drawing and sculpture. He moved to Paris in 1948 and became close friends with Pablo Palazuelo, with whom he exhibited at the Salon de Mai of 1949. In 1950 Chillida lived in Villaines-sous-Bois in France, before moving the following year to Hernani, near San Sebastián, where he befriended José Cruz Iturbe.

Chillida’s first solo show was held at the Galería Clan in Madrid in 1954. In 1955 the city of San Sebastián commissioned him to execute a monument to Alexander Fleming. In 1956 he was given the first of many solo exhibitions at Galerie Maeght in Paris. He won the International Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1958. The same year he made his first visit to the United States, where he met James Johnson Sweeney, Mies van der Rohe and the composer Edgar Varèse. He was awarded the Kandinsky Prize in 1960. He traveled to Greece in 1963 and the following year he won the Sculpture Prize at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. In 1966 Chillida met philosopher Martin Heidegger, and illustrated his book, Der Kunst und der Raum.

Retrospectives of Chillida’s work were held in 1969 at museums in Basel, Zürich, and Munich. That same year he created a sculpture for the UNESCO Building in Paris and the following year executed a commission for the World Bank of Washington. In 1971 he was a visiting professor at the Carpenter Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later that year traveled to Barcelona on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Sala Gaspar. Chillida and Willem de Kooning shared the Andrew W. Mellon Prize, which was accompanied by a major show at the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, in 1979. He was given a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1980, participated in the Venice Biennale in 1990 with a solo show in Ca’Pesaro, and received the Praemium Imperiale from the Japanese Art Association in 1991. The Chillida-Leku Museum in Hernani, Gipuzkoa, was opened in 2000. Eduardo Chillida died on August 19, 2002 in his residence on Mount Igueldo.