Bilbao, 02/12/1879-Mexico City, 10/11/1940
Oil on canvas
126.3 x 177.5 cm
First quarter of the 20th century
Acquired in 2007
Throughout his career, Arteta was greatly attracted by social realism and traditional and popular themes, which until around 1915 he worked on in paintings heavily influenced by the kind of post-Impressionism produced by Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin, and the Symbolism of Puvis de Chavannes. The cycle of paintings he produced for the dining room at the Munoa mansion house in Cruces (Barakaldo, just outside Bilbao), an allegory of the produce of land and sea, retains these influences (clear in the fragmented vision of the scenes and in the freedom displayed in the use of colour, delimited by a dark line) while adding the influence of Italian mural painting. Furthermore, the constant idealization of rural labour in Arteta's paintings links him to the Catalonian Noucentisme. Using a frieze format, which obliges the spectator to submit to a low viewpoint, he reinforces the monumental nature of the figures, anticipating his 1920s murals for the Banco de Bilbao building in Madrid, where, with a few changes to the position of the girls, he repeated in one of the panels the scene portrayed in Basque Countrywomen with Fruit and Vegetables. This is a celebration of fruit and vegetables and the sort of drinks, like wine and cider, man gets from them. Bread and water come to the fore in To the Farmhouse, milk, eggs and other dairy products in To Market, and beef in Countryman with Cow and Calf. Another five panels in the set, showing figures in a fishing harbour, refer to seafood and lactation. [Miriam Alzuri] [Javier Viar]
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- Aurelio Arteta : una mirada esencial, 1879-1940 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 1998. pp. 118, 185, n° cat. 20.
- Adquisiciones 02/07 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007. pp. 46-47, n° cat. 14.
- Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 76-78.
- González de Durana, Javier. Aurelio Arteta. Madrid, Fundacion Mapfre, 2008.
- Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. pp. 76-77.
- 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. 126-127, n° cat. 19.
- Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 75-77, n° cat. 35c.