Darío Villalba was born in San Sebastian on February 22, 1939.
He began the careers of Law and Philosophy in Madrid, but abandoned these studies to devote himself to painting in 1956. He studied at the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando in the same city for four years.
In 1963 he gained a scholarship to study at Harvard University, and with this scholarship he also gained the opportunity to do some exhibitions in the U.S. and so be able to show his work to the American audience.
In 1966 he began to work on his series "Los Encapsulados". These series provided his an international success when he presented it at the 1970 Venice Biennale and at the XII Sao Paulo Biennale in 1973, where he was awarded with the International Prize of Painting. With these works he presents large paintings of human figures enclosed in methacrylate capsules.
During the 70s Villalba replaces painting with photographs in black and white, that he takes off from the media or that himself take and that are sometimes retouched with thick brushstrokes, and the methacrylate with plastic cages, highlighting the drama and tragedy. With these works he decomposes the images, decontextualizes them and converts them into icons, and so evolving with the European trends of the moment.
The artist's work has gained wide recognition in various events among which are: the International Jury Prize at the XIII Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana in 1979 and the National Painting Prize of Spain in 1983. On 17 November he was appointed member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando (Madrid).
Darío Villalba's work is present in many museums around the world such as the National Museum Reina Sofia Art Center, the Museum Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York or the Museum of Abstract Art in Cuenca, among others.