Valdés was born in 1942 in Valencia, Spain. He briefly attended the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts, but ultimately left to launch his artistic career before graduating. In 1964, Valdés, along with Juan Antonio Toledo and Rafael Solbes, formed Equipo Crónica. Although Toledo left the group after only one year, Valdés and Solbes continued to collaborate until the latter’s death in 1981. During this period, Valdés’ politically-charged work was featured in over 60 solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions. Following Solbes’ death, Valdés evolved toward his mature style, mining art history, contemporary culture, politics and everyday life to create evocatively tactile works.
Valdés rose to prominence in the 1960s as a cofounder of the artistic group Equipo Crónica, a distinctly Spanish manifestation of Pop Art, which used irony and humor in scathing criticisms of the country’s dictator, Francisco Franco. In his solo career, Valdés has developed an equally innovative and distinctive style. Citing inspirations ranging from Goya and Velázquez to Picasso, his oeuvre is characterized by the use of pared-down forms, heavily impastoed paint and unconventional materials.
Valdés currently lives and works between New York and Madrid. His works are held in public collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the de Young Museum, San Francisco, the Menil Foundation, Houston, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid.