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 Alejandro Serrat Blasco-Ibanez  (1895 - 1970)



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Lived/Active: California / Spain      Known for: Los Angeles cityscapes, landscapes, Parisian portraits, late American Jazz images

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Alejandro Serrat Blasco-Ibanez
An example of work by Alejandro Serrat Blasco-Ibanez
Photo provided by Grant Zahajko
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted by Grant Zahajko:

Post-Cubist Master Alejandro Serrat Blasco-Ibáñez was born in Valencia, Spain 1895, and died in Los Angeles, California 1970.  He was the nephew of  Spanish novelist Vicente Blasco-Ibáñez, author of novels of the twenties and thirties.

While restoring his parents’ home in Los Angeles’ historic Hancock Park, the son of Alejandro Serrat Blasco-Ibáñez discovered a cache of his famous father’s paintings, entombed for over 30 years in the basement of the Lucerne Manor residence.

The buried paintings include elements of the obscure Nabis and Intimists, the Expressionists and Dadaists, and the Surrealism of Joan Miró. The range of subject matter includes a choice selection of early thirties Los Angeles cityscapes and landscapes, Parisian personality-like portraits, and odes to late American Jazz.

The young Alejandro grew up in the artistic milieu of  Valencia, Spain, in the early part of the 20th century. And by the end of World War I, the young artist-to-be went to Paris joining some other Spaniard notables-to-be like Picasso, Juan Gris, Miró, and lived, too, at the artists’ hangout just below the Sacré-Coeur Basilica at the Bateau-Lavoir.

Alejandro early came under the intense influence of the Fauvists and studied at the École des Beaux Arts, whose roster included Georges Braque, co-founder of Cubism. These early associations dominated his early period where he developed a Post-Cubist/Abstract Expressionist technique.

Since Alejandro’s aristocratic Barcelonian father refused to support a son whose Paris education was squandered in bad company, he supported himself using another of his special talents, singing tenor with the Paris opera.

In the Roaring Twenties Gertrude Stein became a patron but then Alejandro went to America with his then famous uncle Vicente Blasco-Ibáñez, who was touring the world due to the spectacular success of his epic The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

In Chicago, Alejandro found a new home with the Chicago Civic Opera, as a singing tenor. Here he met and married a beautiful, talented Southern Belle.  After travels to New York and Paris,  the couple returned to America at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, joining his wife’s family in Los Angeles.

Alejandro became an American citizen and began his most productive period in painting.  His works show a mingling of oils, pastels, watercolors, tempera, combining Pointillist points of paint with the Fauvist’s bold colors.

Like the earlier Nabis and Intimists, he experimented with other than canvas, giving a subdued depth to his landscapes that is in contrast to the vibrant brushwork. The effect is a shimmering reality of the area’s now gone pristine paradise of the early thirties, including the Santa Monica Bay, coast and mountains, and downtown LA’s former low “earthquake proof” skyline and city monuments like the Greek Theatre and Griffith Park Observatory.

In his final period, his paintings depicted scenes in American Jazz, culminating in " Le Jazz Hot" (The Benny Goodman Sextet, 1953).

The artist is now buried in the Valencia Civil Cemetery nearby his famous uncle Vicente.

Excerpted and adapted from a text by Alec M. Blasco-Ibáñez

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