Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ramon de Zubiaurre

Ramon de Zubiaurre was born in Garay, Vizcaya, in 1882. He was deaf and mute from his birth and of course it favoured his major tendency to observe the world. The family had to move to Madrid because of his father's new work, but Ramon, due to the health problems he was born with, spent the first four years of his life in Garay in the charge of a woman who was his neighbour. His challenged childhood spent in the Basque Country influenced later his painting that was full of sensibility towards the Basque landscape and the Basque people.
At the age of ten he was already painting with Luis Carriendo. Later he learned from Francisco Aznar at the Central School of Arts and Crafts until his official enrolment to the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando. There he had an opportunity to learn a great deal about painting as such maestros as Carlos de Haes, Moreno Carbonero, Munoz Degrain and Alejandro Ferrant worked in that school. 
Every summer he joined his family in Garay and put into practice the lessons of painting and drank in the sensibility of his native land. Approximately in 1889 he went on a journey with his mother and his brother to France, Belgium, and Holland and in 1902 he got a pension in Paris from la Excma Diputacion of Vizcaya. Without a doubt this journey abroad favoured his opening his mind to new tendencies in the European painting such as impressionism.
In the decade starting from 1926 till the Spanish Civil War, Zubiaurre continues mounting numerous national and international exhibitions, like those in Paris, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso, Madrid and Bilbao. During the Civil War with a lack of themes for painting and the difficulty to paint abroad, Zubiarre made simple drawings with few shadows, especially the human figures and portraits, that were followed by the representations of people, the Basques most of all, as an iconographical motif. After the war he lived in Chili for ten years and there he continued painting portraits.
In 1951 he came back to Spain and returned to the popular themes of holidays and dances. Until his death he continued painting and elaborating the compositions that are interpreted nowadays as images of the spirit of someone who is both a humorist and melancholic and who tells us about a traditional society that is definitely lost. He died in 1969 but before his death he had taken a box with the soil from Vizcaya and an acorn of an oak tree in Guernica in order to be buried next to it and to plant a tree that would grow above him, showing the natural cycle of life and death.

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