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Impressionism and Spain, or what happened in Spanish art after Goya and before Picasso

If you don’t Google, how many Spanish artists of the XIX century will you name? And the Spanish Impressionists? Even sophisticated art lovers will remember is that of Joaquin Sorolla. Much easier is the case with the eras before and after — there and Velasquez, and Goya, and El Greco with Surbaran, and then Picasso and Dali. The Museum of Russian impressionism undertakes to fill this time gap and to open for the audience the names of Spanish artists who created amazing works at the intersection of national tradition and modern artistic trends of the second half of the XIX century.

The Museum of Russian impressionism together with the cultural Foundation Aurea Cultura I Art opens the exhibition “Impressionism and Spanish art”on October 10. It will feature 60 paintings, sculpture and graphics of 18 Spanish artists who were participants in the Grand revolution in art, who lived in Montmartre, participated in the exhibitions of the Paris Salon, in the exhibitions of the French Impressionists, returned home and became the harbingers of the new art.SEE ALSO
Artists who could be impressed. Part 4: Spanish predecessors of impressionism
It is no exaggeration to say that contemporary art, and impressionism in particular, owes much of its birth to Spain. As a result of complex political and military troubles, Spanish art of the XVI—XVIII centuries, severe, powerful, coloristically daring and mystical, was available to the French audience and showed Edouard Manet a way out of the centuries-old exhausted academic tradition.

Paintings by old Spanish masters, still little known to the French, were in Paris as a result of the Spanish campaign of Napoleon. A couple of decades later, king Louis-Philippe opened a special Spanish gallery in the Louvre. And when in the 1860s Edouard Manet was looking for a picturesque, coloristic and compositional inspiration for a new painting — he found it in the works of Velazquez and Goya. It is very interesting that the Spaniard Mariano Fortuny was a contemporary of mane — and his work enjoyed incredible popularity, in contrast to the scandalous paintings of mane. Once the journalist Theodore duré, posing for a portrait of Manet, asked the artist not to put his signature in a prominent place on the canvas — and then duré will be able to tell the audience that the picture was written by the famous Fortuny. This was the only way to make the Parisian public pay attention to the quality of the painting and prevent the ridicule and attacks inevitable at the mention of the name of the scandalous Manet. Manet himself liked the idea of an “inconspicuous” signature — and he wrote his name upside down. So who was the popular Fortuny?
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Selfportrait
Selfportrait
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1858, 62.5×49.5 cm
Mariano Fortuny
Fortuny lived only 36 years, but was a real star, and far beyond the homeland. An orphan at the age of 12, Mariano was raised by his grandfather, a carpenter. It was he who taught his grandson to sculpt figures out of wax and paint them. The boy mastered this craft so masterfully that Spanish patrons paid attention to him and paid for education in the school of arts. Upon graduation, Fortuny immediately wins the competition and receives a scholarship for two years of study in Rome.

But the most important impression and creative impulse for Fortuny are trips to Morocco. Here everything also happened unexpectedly and by itself: the Spanish-Moroccan war broke out, and the authorities of Barcelona sent the artist to Morocco — to observe the battles and record the military victories of Spain. But in addition to the immediate tasks of the military artist Fortuny makes more peaceful sketches of local residents, architecture, landscapes. Morocco fascinates him — and he will return to this country more than once, no longer burdened by any state orders.
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Children of the artist in the Japanese living room
Children of the artist in the Japanese living room
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1874, 44×93 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Portici
Portici
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1874, 32×46 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Naked boy on the beach in Portici
Naked boy on the beach in Portici
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
XIX century, 12×22 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Smoker of opium
Smoker of opium
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1869, 38.4×49.8 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Cecilia de Madrazo
Cecilia de Madrazo
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
XIX century, 52×38 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Children of the artist in the Japanese living room
Children of the artist in the Japanese living room
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1874, 44×93 cm
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Portici
Portici
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
1874, 32×46 cm
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Mariano Fortuny was incredibly popular in Paris in the 1860s, he was admired by Russian artists Ilya Repin, Pavel Chistyakov, Valentin Serov, Vasily Polenov. A long fascination with the East made Fortuny the main orientalist of Europe, and then, when he took up the genre paintings of Spanish life (1, 2) — the main connoisseur of Spanish exoticism. His paintings of the “Spanish” period were so full of details, decor, gizmos, costumes, interior delights that caused constant admiration of the French public, which all the Spanish just was in fashion.
Mariano Fortuny y Carbo. Granatello street in Portici
The painting of the late Fortuny “granatello Street in Portici” will be presented at the exhibition at the Museum of Russian impressionism.
Mariano Fortuny died unexpectedly in 1874, the same year that the first impressionist exhibition was held in Paris. But the work of the last years of his life indicate the beginning of a completely new stage in his work: on numerous landscapes from Granada and Portici spills a real impressionist light and fall real impressionist colored shadows.

Very soon, Paris will become a point of attraction for young artists: Italians, Englishmen, Americans, even Japanese come here to learn about the new art that has challenged the academic tradition. And of course, a group of young Spaniards will arrive in the Parisian artistic quarter of Montmartre.

Ignacio Suloaga, Auguste Rodin and Ivan Shchukin on a trip to Spain in 1905
Ignacio Suloaga
Ignacio Suloaga was fantastically popular in Europe and America. John singer Sargent wrote an enthusiastic Preface to the catalog of works released before the American exhibition tour of the artist. Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec admired his work and were his close friends, Auguste Rodin traveled with him to Spain. Russian collectors hunted for his work — and in the years of this universal obsession with Suloaga collector Mikhail Ryabushinsky bought one of his best works — “Dwarf Gregorio.” Now this picture is in the Hermitage collection. His paintings directly from exhibitions bought museums in Paris and Barcelona, his work included in the national exposition at the Venice Biennale and world exhibitions. Ignacio Suloaga, performing his own artistic mission and not trying to please someone, was at the right time and in the right place — on the wave of passion for everything “Spanish” in Europe, in particular, in France.
Ignacio Suloaga. Gregorio The Dwarf
Gregorio The Dwarf
Ignacio Suloaga
1908, 187×154 cm
The main educational institutions of Suloaga were the bars and art workshops of Montmartre in Paris and the Prado Museum in Madrid. He divided his time equally between France and Spain, and at the time of his fame he lived for several years in America. But it does not fit, strictly speaking,in any of the artistic trends of the XIX-XX centuries. If there were guidelines in his creative development, then certainly not academic rules and regulations, but rather the cultural myths of Spain: bullfighting, flamenco. And the artist El Greco, who, say art historians, rediscovered it Suloaga. While the Prado Museum in the 1880s refused to include paintings by El Greco in the collection, calling them “ridiculous cartoons”, Suloaga bought two paintings: “the Vision of St. John” and “St. Francis takes the stigmata.” There is a legend that” Vision “in the Paris Studio Suloagi saw Pablo Picasso — and this picture had a powerful impression on him and influenced the composition and style of”Avignon maidens”.
Ignacio Suloaga. My father and sister are in Paris
Obsessed with the idea of national consciousness, the” hispanization ” of Spain, the return of greatness to the country, Suloaga seeks inspiration in national costumes and types, the old architecture of his country and the gloomy dramatic skies.

By the age of 50, Suloaga became a recognized and successful artist: he was able to buy an old medieval castle to settle forever in his favorite region of Spain — Castile, became President of the Museum of modern art in Madrid, one of his exhibitions was opened by king Alfonso XIII.

Santiago Rusinol
Rousignol is one of the representatives of the generation of young Spanish artists who rushed to Paris in the 1880s in search of inspiration and invaluable knowledge about the new, modern art. They settled in Montmartre, a quarter of Paris where housing was cheap and residents were half-starved. But it was here, at the tables of artistic cafes, that the fiercest debates about art took place, here Toulouse-Lautrec painted prostitutes and singers with cabaret dancers, Whistler mixed new shades of white on the palette, Degas invited young ballerinas to his Studio and exhausted them with many hours of posing sessions, the enamored Renoir wrote endlessly Aline Sharigo, his future wife. In short, the most important things happen in Montmartre.
Santiago Rusinol. Longboats on the Seine
Longboats on the Seine
Santiago Rusinol
One thousand eight hundred ninety four
Rosignol born in Barcelona and tried to work in his youth on the family’s textile production, but not for long. Already in his Teens, Santiago decided on two activities that bring him special pleasure: drawing and traveling. Therefore, after boring textile experiments, he quickly went to study at the Watercolor school of Barcelona, and his passion for Hiking eventually developed into serious studies in archaeology.

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