Still Life with Crayfish - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Still Life with Crayfish

Aranoa, Juan de

Bilbao, 27/01/1901-Olivos, Argentina, 03/06/1973

Oil on panel

33 x 41 cm

ARANOA (bottom right hand corner)


Second quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 1941

From the late 1920s and early '30s, Aranoa was happy to alternate the easel with painting in fresco. A commission from the architect Secundino Zuazo enabled him to move to Madrid to take charge of the murals at the Recoletos pelota court. The outbreak of the Civil War forced him out of Spain to France. Curiously, in Spanish art the years of internecine slaughter engendered an incredibly interesting set of still life paintings (one of the great traditions of Spanish art) that featured a sort of underlying, somewhat symbolic dialectic between the living and the dead. During the war, Aranoa produced several still life paintings, like this Still Life with Crayfish, simple enough in appearance, contemplative, austerely rendered and with a concentrated sensibility. Aranoa was probably seeking to echo the concept of vanitas, the brevity and vanity of life. [Santiago Arcedano]

Selected bibliography

  • Pintores y escultores vascos de ayer, hoy y mañana. Bilbao, Editorial La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, 1973. p. 278.
  • Bengoechea, Javier de. Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao. Bilbao, La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, 1978. p. 333.
  • Bengoechea, Javier de. Catálogo de arte moderno y contemporáneo del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya, 1980. p. 16. (Con el título Bodegón - Cigals).
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 107-108.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. pp. 107-108.
  • Itsasoa artean, itsaroaren artea : Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoko Bilduma = El mar en el arte, el arte del mar : colección del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Itsasadarra Itsas Museoa-Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao, 2010. pp. 27, 76-77.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 107-108, n° cat. 55b.