|Biography from Papillon Gallery:|
|Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data
compared to the extensive information about American artists.|
Federico Armando Beltran-Masses was born in 1885 in Guaira de la
Melena, Cuba. His father was a Spanish military envoy to Cuba. After
the war between the United States and Cuba ended in 1899, the family
returned to Spain.
Beltran-Masses studied with the painter
Sorrolla at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Barcelone. In 1905, he
traveled to Madrid to study the collection of Spanish and European art
at the Prado museum. In 1916, he moved to Paris where he received
an honor from the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
were received in the United States, Belgium, Italy, and India. In
1919, he took charge of organizing the Exposition Hispano-Français des
Beaux-Arts. In 1920, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale an exotic nude
titled Salome, which is now in the Museo Casa Lis in Salamanca, Spain.
exhibited at the Wildenstein Galleries in New York and Palm Beach,
Florida in 1925. For the August 1925 issue of International Studio Magazine, Marguerite Tjader wrote an extensive article about the artist.
Musée des Offices de Florence bought several of his
self-portraits. In 1928, he was named Commissioner General of
l'Exposition International des Beaux-Arts in commemoration of the
centenary of Francisco de Goya. He was a member of l'Académie
Royale des Beaux-Arts de Madrid and was named Chevalier du Légion
d'Honneur in France, and a Knight of the order of Malta. In 1934,
exhibited at the Royal Watercolor Society in London, and in 1938 at the Burlington Galleries.
began his career painting landscapes and figurative compositions. Later
in his career he primarily painted portraits. He is best known
for his portraits of royalty, society figures and movie stars. He
was a good friend of Rudolf Valentino and painted two large portraits
of the actor that hung in Valentino's Hollywood home. Valentino
had another painting by Beltran-Masses of a famous Spanish dancer that
hung over his bed. These works were sold at auction in Los
Angeles shortly after Valentino's death. Beltran-Masses also
painted a large portrait of Douglas Fairbanks.
developed a unique style; evident in his work is the influence of the
Spanish masters but with a decidedly modern flavor. He painted
many large canvases often with bizarre and beautiful women; his work is
distinguished by his use of shades of deep blue. Nighttime
settings give his subjects an eerie contrast with star-studded skies;
his favorite tone became known as "Beltran Blue."
died in 1949 in Barcelona, Spain, and today he is considered a Spanish
painter. His paintings are held by several museums, including the
Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris.
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