Portrait of Carmen Gaminde de Hurtado - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Portrait of Carmen Gaminde de Hurtado

Egusquiza, Rogelio de

Santander, 1845/07/20-Madrid, 1915/02/10


118,3 x 63,3 cm

Egusquiza (top left hand corner)


19th century. Last quarter


Donated by Sofía Icíar Aldecoa Mariscal, 2002

Even though Rogelio de Egusquiza's most important output is related to the world of Wagner, his early paintings fall within with the genre painting that was so popular in Paris during the Second Empire (1852-1870). Especially during the 1860s, this kind of painting came to stand out over the other artistic trends in both the official Salons and among art critics, and even in the art market, where its main consumers were the bourgeoisie.

Rendered in small format with extraordinary technical virtuosity, Egusquiza executed quite a few paintings like this until the 1960s, associated with the new bourgeois taste for the everyday settings of the era, which he used to gain widespread artistic and social prestige on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Related to this type of work, it is worth highlighting the one presented at the 1878 Paris Universal Expo entitled Concert in Family (private collection), as well as the 1885 painting A Night in Venice, which shows how by that time Egusquiza, who had already met Wagner several times and had made several compositions set in the German composer's iconographic world, kept his Costumbrist, anecdotal painting with a clear bourgeois feel in his repertoire.

Thanks to his training with Léon Bonnat (1833-1922), as well as the different commissions he received from the bourgeoisie, Egusquiza efficiently undertook many portraits, a genre in which he can be considered a great artist, many of which were collected by Beruete. In this sense, in this Portrait of Carmen Gaminde de Hurtado (1881) we can detect a kind of symbolist feel which Egusquiza later developed fervently. Hieratism, the lost gaze and neutral backgrounds also appear in his 1908 work Elsa from Lohengrin Singing in Barcelona (Caja Cantabria Collection). In turn, the influences in this work distance it from any established conventionalism for court portraits in the Second Empire, which Egusquiza himself practised and masterfully applied in his portraits, such as those of Carolus-Duran (1837-1917) and Léon Bonnat, who was the painter's teacher and one of the top representatives of portraiture during this period.

However, in this work Egusquiza retained many of the features of extremely refined painting, which he actively developed that year in works like Women Indoors (1881) and Beautiful Young Woman (1881). They include technical virtuosity, especially in the material qualities, as well as a delicate, bourgeois colouring in the pinks and blues of the sitter's clothing. In this regard, her portrait is paired with another of Ricardo Gaminde, both of whom lived in France, the country where Beruete claimed that their portraits were painted. (Javier Novo)

Selected bibliography

  • Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de. Rogelio de Egusquiza : pintor y grabador. Madrid, Blass y Cia, 1918. p. 45. (Con el título Retrato de la señorita de Gaminde).
  • De Goya a Gauguin : el siglo XIX en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 335-337, n° cat. 65.
  • Viar Olloqui, Javier. Pacho Gaminde, la sombra de Sócrates. Bilbao, Muelle de Uribitarte, 2009. pp.75-76.
  • El espíritu de una época : Boldini y la pintura española a finales del siglo XIX [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Fundación Mapfre, 2019. pp. 60, 76, 250-251, n° cat. 62.