Lunch on the Estate or A Break - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Lunch on the Estate or A Break

Arrue, José

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

Gouache on paper

36 x 39.7 cm

José ARRUE (bottom right hand corner)

First half of the 20th century


Acquired in 1936

Lunch on the Estate is the title that appears on an inscription on the back of the painting, most likely written by the artist. It participated with this title in the show held at the Salón Müller in Buenos Aires in 1922, and later in the ones held at the Sociedad de Amigos del Arte in Buenos Aires, at the premises of the newspaper La Razón in Córdoba, in the Moretti, Catelli y Mazzuchelli gallery in Montevideo, and finally in the Salón Witcomb in Rosario during Arrue's stay in Argentina between July and November 1928. However, A Break is the title that appeared on the receipt signed by the artist when the Fine Arts Museum acquired it in 1936.

It is made on medium-grey Ingres laid paper, which gives this work an overall greyish tone. The support is slightly visible around the edges between colours. For example, it can be detected in the leaves and branches of the tree, and in the figures-which were more elaborately painted than the landscape-where the graphite drawing is also visible. The modelling of the flesh was achieved by allowing the colour of the paper to show through for the shadows. The lights were highlighted with very light touches of almost dry paint, and some shadows were reinforced with the same pencil that he used for the preliminary drawing. However, the landscape is captured with areas of flat colour, and the haystacks, which gradually diminish in size, reinforce the illusion of depth. This subtle treatment of chiaroscuro and line, coupled with good fit between the drawing and the figures, confer a great deal of elegance on this work. Apart from the irony that characterises other compositions by José Arrue, this serene scene, captured at midday, shows a family of villagers in an idyllic landscape, with a representation and colouring verging on the symbolist aesthetic. (José Luis Merino Gorospe)

Selected bibliography

  • 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 Merienda en el campo).
  • Larrínaga, José Antonio. Los cuatro Arrue : artistas vascos. Bilbao, [s. n.], 1990. pp. 96, 106, 108, 114.
  • 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. 218-219, n° cat. 89.