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 Ignacio Zuloaga Y Zabaleta  (1870 - 1945)

About: Ignacio Zuloaga Y Zabaleta
 

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Lived/Active: Spain      Known for: Spanish female figure and portrait painting, folk art themes

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BIOGRAPHY for Ignacio Zuloaga Y Zabaleta
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Birth
1870 (Eibar, Spain)
 
Death
1945 (Madrid, Spain)

Lived/Active
Spain

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Spanish female figure and portrait painting, folk art themes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta (July 26, 1870 – October 31, 1945) was a Spanish painter, born in Eibar (Guipuzcoa), near the monastery of Loyola. He was the son of metalworker and damascener (metal inlay worker) Plácido Zuloaga and grandson of the organizer and director of the royal armory (Don Eusebio) in Madrid. His uncle was Daniel Zuloaga. His great-grandfather, who was also the royal armourer, was a friend and contemporary of Goya.

In his youth, Ignacio drew and worked in the armourer's workshop of his father, Plácido. His father's craftsmanship, a familial trade, was highly respected throughout Europe, but he intended his son for either commerce, engineering, or architecture.  However, during a short trip to Rome with his father, Ignacio decided to become a painter, and his first painting was exhibited in Paris in 1890.

At the age of 18 he moved to Paris, settling in Montmartre, to find work and training as a painter. He was nearly destitute, and lived off some meager contributions by his mother and the benevolence of fellow Spaniards, including Francisco Durrio, Pablo de Uranga and Santiago Rusiñol.

After only six months' work, he completed his first picture, which was exhibited at the Paris Salon* of 1890. Continuing his studies in Paris, where he lived for five years, he was in contact with post-impressionists* such as Ramon Casas, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, yet his tendencies were always to a thematic that was more ethnic in scope.

He attempted to gain success during a sojourn in London; but lackluster patronage led him to return to Spain, settling in Seville, then Segovia, and developing a style based on a realist Spanish tradition, recalling Velázquez and Murillo in their earthy colouring and genre themes.

He painted portraits of attired bullfighters and flamenco dancers; or portraits of family members and friends in such attire. He also painted village dwarfs (El enano Gregorio el Botero, and beggars, often as stark figures in a dreary landscape with a traditional landscape or town in the background. He also painted some village-scape scenes, favoring earth or muted tones, including maroon, black, and grey, with the exception of colorful folk attire or the bright red cassock in some paintings.

Zuloaga and his patrons felt slighted in 1900, when his painting of Before the Bull-fight was rejected for inclusion into the Spanish representation at the Universal Exposition in Brussels. In 1899, one of his paintings exhibited in Paris had been purchased for the Luxembourg Palace. However, he did exhibit the painting at the Exposition of the Libre Esthetique in Brussels, and did see it acquired by the Modern Gallery in Brussels. He was accepted into the Venice Biennale* in 1901 and 1903, and displayed 34 canvases at the Barcelona International Exposition of 1907.

Among one of the more prominently displayed works is his Cristo de la Sangre (Christ of the Blood) or Hermandad del Cristo Crucificado (Brotherhood of the Crucified Christ), on display at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. He also painted a similarly painting of individuals undergoing a traditional mortification of the flesh and a bleeding crucified Christ called The Flagellants (1900). These paintings were praised by Unamuno in his book on De Arte Pictorico as being honest representation of Spain: a Spain religious and tragic, a black Spain rooted in the particularly Spanish Catholic fascination with mutilating penance.

One of the American collections to feature Zuloaga's work is the Johns Hopkins University's Evergreen Museum & Library, Baltimore, Maryland. Officially owned by the Evergreen House Foundation, an independent entity started by Zuloaga's great friend, philanthropist Alice Warder Garrett (1877-1952), Evergreen's works include full-length portraits of Mrs. Garrett (1915; 1934); a seated portrait of Ambassador John Work Garrett (1872-1942); a Spanish landscape; a painting based on the opera, Goyescas; and a landscape of Calatayud (Spain).

Zuloaga was fervently attached to the nationalist Falangist forces during the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorial regime of the Generalissimo Franco, whose fawning portrait he painted in 1940. While the aerial devastation of Basque villages by volunteer airmen from Nazi Germany propelled Picasso to paint the epic and modern painting of Guernica, Zuloaga chose to honor with the Siege of the Alcázar in 1936, when the building's Nationalist defenders refused to surrender despite the building being in flames. This siege, and other events such as the death of General Moscardo's son, served as a rallying cry for the anti-Republican forces. The nationalist content of such a work was allied to Zuloaga's celebration of folk traditions.

Source:
"Ignacio Zuloaga", Wikipedia, //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacio_Zuloaga

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