Santiago Rusiñol

Barcelona 1861 - Aranjuez 1931

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Rusiñol was one of the most important painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Spain, figuring among the highest exponents of pictorial Modernism. Son of the bourgeoisie dedicated to the textile industry, he abandoned the family business from a young age to form in painting and drawing in the Barcelona workshop of Tomàs Moragas (1837–1906). In his youth he felt special interest in landscape design and, mainly, in the production of Joaquim Vayreda (1843–1894), an artist who introduced the impressionist approaches to the Barcelona art market. Rusiñol turned the journey into his modus vivendi and, in addition, served him to constantly discover new pictorial motifs, colors and sensations, which he so well embodied in his painting. His longing for independence culminated in 1889, when he began to make stays in Paris with some friends artists, among whom he highlights who was intimate and inseparable, Ramon Casas (1866-1932). There he discovered modernity, Impressionism, and made Bohemia his flag and the main vital and pictorial motive. He was enthusiastic about the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, James Whistler and Théophile Steinlen, among many others, and shared a close relationship with key French capital creators of the late 19th century, such as the musician Erik Satie. (1866 -1925). This stage highlights the scenes of Bohemia that he himself experienced in the Moulin de la Galette and in Montmartre, where the melancholy, misery and gray of the Ville Lumière are always present. Precisely at this stage he was consecrated as a painter, both in Paris and in Barcelona or Madrid, and achieved medals and mentions at official painting events. In Barcelona, the Sala Parés and the modernist tavern Els Quatre Gats became the main spaces of relationship and dissemination of his work, both literary and pictorial. In 1895, during a trip to Granda, he discovered what was his main pictorial theme until his death in 1931: the abandoned gardens. He parted from the gardens of the Alhambra and the Generalife and, after constant trips throughout Spain, went to know different corners where the decadent gardens were always the protagonists. Melancholic, lonely and nomadic, Rusiñol exploited his extraordinary sensitivity in this theme and led him to harvest new triumphs in both national and international competitions. Consumed by the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, her painting was one of the most precious of all Spanish artistic production of its time. In addition to being a painter, Rusiñol was a reference as a writer, philosopher and aesthetist, influencing literates as well as all kinds of French and Spanish artists.