A Shepherd - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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A Shepherd

Arrue, José

Bilbao, 01/09/1885-Llodio, Álava, 05/04/1977

Gouache on carboard

139.4 x 102 cm

José ARRUE (bottom left hand corner)

c. 1932

First half of the 20th century


Acquired in 1932

The painting A Shepherd was submitted to the Second Exhibition of Basque Painters held in May and June at the Bilbao Modern Art Museum, when it acquired this work.

Even though its size and texture, with brush marks and colours blended when wet, lead us to think it is an oil painting, Arrue used gouache, in this case on cardboard. The support, which is exposed in several places, as is common in this artist's technique, is a kind of ochre-coloured cardboard made of pressed wood fibre which, according to its manufacturer's sticker on the back, is actually used to clad and build walls.

On the other hand, while the most characteristic works in José Arrue's oeuvre are pilgrimages with a host of figures in different attitudes, satirical scenes of villagers and caricatures of popular customs, he was also able to address these themes more seriously. Rendered with more sober, tempered colours, the landscape, which is slightly surrealistic here, appears pristine from the mountaintop and seems far from human influence. This work's artistic approach, which has also been associated with Noucentisme, as well as some of the landscapes dated from 1930, is similar to Shepherd of Gorbea-which was shown in the Sala Delclaux in 1941-where the young lad is posing with a very similar background landscape. Both figures, solitary and absorbed in the distance, the other one idealised, bring a more lyrical vision of the Basque people verging on symbolism. (Jose Luis Merino Gorospe)

Selected bibliography

  • Segunda Exposición de Artistas Vascongados : organizada por la Junta del Museo de Arte Moderno de Bilbao, 15 de mayo a 15 de junio 1932 [Folleto]. Bilbao, Museo de Arte Moderno, 1932. n° cat. 13.
  • "En el Museo de Arte Moderno : exposición de Artistas Vascongados", El Pueblo Vasco. 22/05/1935.
  • Bengoechea, Javier de. Catálogo de arte moderno y contemporáneo del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya, 1980. p. 21. (Con el título Pastor).
  • Mur Pastor, Pilar. La Asociación de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao ; Caja de Ahoros Vizcaína, 1985. pp. 153, 283.
  • Pabellón español : exposición internacional de París, 1937 [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Ministerio de Cultura, 1987. p. 183.
  • Larrínaga, José Antonio. Los cuatro Arrue : artistas vascos. Bilbao, [s. n.], 1990. p. 112, il.
  • Galilea Antón, Ana María. "A propósito de las obras del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao depositadas en otras Instituciones", Urtekaria 1992 : asterlanak, albistak = anuario 1992 : estudios, crónicas. 1993. pp. 19-72, il.
  • "Cuales fueron los dieciseis cuadros enviados por los rojos al Extranjero, otros trece han sido encontrados en el Carlton", Hierro. 28 de septiembre de 1937. p. 3.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 90-91.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. pp. 90-91.
  • Novecentismo y Vanguardia, 1910-1936 : en la colección del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2009. pp. 290-291, n° cat. 96.
  • Últimas décadas del siglo XIX-primera mitad del siglo XX : de Cézanne a Léger : colección Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2009. pp. 220-221, n° cat. 90.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 90-91, n° cat. 43c.
  • La memoria recobrada : huellas en la historia de los Estados Unidos = Oroitzapen berreskuratua : aztarnak Estatu Batuen historian = The recovered mamory : traces in the history of The United States [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Iberdrola, 2017. p. 352, il.