Zuloaga, Ignacio (1870-1945) - 1893 Portrait of Marques de Villamarciel (Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao, Spain)
Oil on canvas; 91.5 x 60.5 cm.
Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta was a Spanish painter, born in Eibar (Guipuzcoa), near the monastery of Loyola. He was the son of metalworker and damascener Plácido Zuloaga and grandson of the organizer and director of the royal armoury in Madrid. His uncle was Daniel Zuloaga.
In his youth, he drew and worked in his father's workshop. He was educated by the Jesuits in France. His father wanted him to be an architect, and with this objective in mind, he was sent to Rome, where he immediately followed the strong impulse that led him to painting. 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 strongly influenced by Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Only upon returning to his native land did he find his true style, which is based on the national Spanish tradition embodied in the work of Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, El Greco, and Francisco Goya.
His own country was slow in acknowledging the young artist whose strong, decorative and rugged style stood in opposition to the styles of well-known modern Spanish artists such as Fortuny, Madrazo, and Benlliure. It was first in Paris, and then Brussels and other European art centres, that Zuloaga was hailed by the reformers as the regenerator of Spanish national art and as the leader of a school. He is now represented in galleries across Europe.
Two of his canvasses are at the Luxembourg, one at the Brussels Museum (Avant la Corrida), and one (The Poet Don Miguel) at the Vienna Gallery. The Pau Museum owns an interesting portrait of a lady; the Barcelona Municipal Museum, the important group Amies; the Venice Gallery, Madame Louise; and the Berlin Gallery, The Topers. Other examples are in the Budapest, Stuttgart, Ghent, Poznań, and New York City galleries and in many important private collections. 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's work is known for his depictions of traditional Spanish characters, including peasants, Gypsies, and bullfighters. After his death in 1945 he appeared on Spain's 500 peseta banknote in its 1954 series, with a depiction of Toledo on the back.