Exhibition: From Goya to Gauguin - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum


2008-06-16 • 2008-09-28

From Goya to Gauguin

The 19th Century at The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

BBK Room

Opening the selection is the genius of Francisco de Goya, as exemplified in the famous portraits of his friends Martín Zapater and the poet Moratín. These are followed by the neo-Classicism of José de Madrazo, a large work on a Biblical theme by Friedrich Rehberg and the talent for portraiture of Vicente López. Jean-Hilaire Belloc's portrait of Admiral Mazarredo is also worthy of mention. The works of Leonardo Alenza and Eugenio Lucas are particularly interesting for their Goya-like Romanticism. Popular Andalusian scenes are to be found in paintings by Joaquín Manuel Fernández Cruzado, Antonio María Esquivel and Andrés Cortés. The Romantic landscape by Jenaro Pérez Villaamil is one of the masterworks in the exhibition, which also offers the realist counterpoint of oil paintings by Carlos de Haes, Juan de Barroeta, Martín Rico, Aureliano de Beruete and Jaime Morera, the latter tending more towards Impressionist landscapes.

History and popular scenes were favoured by painters Vicente Palmaroli, Antonio Gisbert, Luis Álvarez Catalá, Alejandro Ferrant, Ricardo Balaca, José Echenagusía, Rogelio de Egusquiza, Francisco Pradilla and Ignacio Pinazo and sculptor Mariano Benlliure. The portrait was preferred by Ángel María Cortellini, Federico and Raimundo de Madrazo and Juan de Barroeta. Next to their works is a magnificent still life by French artist Théodule-Augustin Ribot, showing the clear influence of the Spanish baroque, and a small Pre-Raphaelite sample from English artist Thomas Francis Dicksee. The lasting influence of Fortuny can be seen in works by Joaquín Agrassot, Jiménez Aranda and Bilbao artist Eduardo Zamacois.

The following generation, led by Adolfo Guiard, friend and disciple of Degas in Paris, and Anselmo Guinea, took the step from realism or popular academic styles to Impressionism. Village girl with red carnation is without doubt one of Guiard's masterworks and is certainly a signature piece for the Museum. Some of these works are placed in context by some leading international works, including one by Adolphe Monticelli (whose use of thick impasto and harmonious light fascinated Van Gogh), and a quite extraordinary work, Seated woman with child in her arms, by American Impressionist Mary Cassatt, who worked with Renoir and Degas, and, above all, Washerwomen in Arles by Paul Gauguin, which is in line with the luminous, synthetic colouring so typical of the painter's time in Arles.

Joaquín Sorolla's Kissing the relic is accompanied by examples of Santiago Rusiñol and Joaquim Mir's trademark luminosity, and the highly personal pointillism of Darío de Regoyos, a painter associated with Brussels, alongside Paris another major focus of renovation at the end of the 19th century. Early examples of Basque sculpture at the turn of the century, provided by Bilbao sculptor Nemesio Mogrobejo, are the expression of a classical taste that informed his beginnings in Modernist practices. Francisco Durrio, friend to Gauguin and Picasso, interprets a classical feminine model in ceramics that corresponds to a symbolist, primitivist vision. Following in the wake of Guiard, Regoyos and Guinea is the work of Basque artists from the late 19th century and the first three decades of the 20th century. Visitors can appreciate the way major Parisian successes Ignacio Zuloaga, Francisco Iturrino and Ángel Larroque developed.

In the image:
Paul Gauguin (Paris, France, 1848-Atuona, Marquesas Islands, 1903
Laveuses à Arles (Washerwomen in Arles), 1888)
Oil on canvas, 74 x 92 cm