Eduardo Chillida (1924 - 2002) was a Spanish Basque sculptor notable for his monumental abstract works.
Born in San Sebastián he grew up near the Biarritz Hotel, which was owned by his grandparents. Chillida had been the goalkeeper for Real Sociedad, San Sebastián's La Liga football team, where his knee was so seriously injured that he had five surgeries, ending a promising football career.
He then studied architecture at the University of Madrid from 1943 to 1946. In 1947 he abandoned architecture for art, and the next year he moved to Paris, where he set up his first studio and began working in plaster and clay. He never finished his degree and instead began to take private art lessons. He lived in the Paris area from 1948 to 1955. In 1950 Chillida married Pilar Belzunce and later returned to the San Sebastián area, first to the nearby village of Hernani and in 1959 to the city of his birth, where he remained.
Chillida's earliest sculptures concentrated on the human form, his later works tended to be more massive and more abstract, and included many monumental public works. Chillida himself tended to reject the label of "abstract", preferring instead to call himself a "realist sculptor".
Living near Hernani, he began to work in forged iron with the help of the local blacksmith, and soon set up a forge in his studio.
Chillida also conceived a distinguished oeuvre of etchings, lithographs and woodcuts since 1959, including illustrations for Jorge Guillen's Mas Alla (1973) and various other books.
In the 1990s, Chillida set up a foundation for the display of his work, at the Chillida Leku, centred on an old farmhouse, in the Basque countryside. Today there is an outdoor sculpture garden dedicated to his work.