The artist and his times
GUSTAVO DE MAEZTU
- First years
- París 1907
- The Coitao. 1908
- Seville. 1908
- Entrepenurial spirit
- Biarritz. 1909
- Critical thinking
- Basque Artists Association. 1910
- The blue cat. 1911
- Catalonia. 1914
- San Sebastián. 1914
- Madrid. 1915
- Eva. 1915
- El ciego de Calatañazor. 1916
- Basque Artists Association.
- Barcelona. 1917
- London. 1918 - 1922
- Paris, Gernika, Madrid, Amsterdam. 1922 - 1925
- Salamanca. 1926
- La Camorra Dormida. 1927
- Las encáusticas 1928 - 1929
- 1930 and 1931
- Lithographs and murals. 1932-1936
- Estella. 1936 - 1947
Gustavo de Maeztu y Whitney was born into a high-ranking family of Vitoria, Spain, on August 30th , 1887. He was the fifth son of his French mother, Mrs. Juana Whitney y Boné, and his Cuban father, Mr. Manuel de Maeztu, a landowner at Cienfuegos village. The fact that Maeztu’s grandparents were born in foreign countries would be no lesser matter in Gustavo’s life. Records indicate that don Juan Whitney, an Italian businessman from Milan, and doña Sara Boné, born in London, were his mother’s parents. His father’s parents were don Francisco de Maeztu, born in Alcanadre, La Rioja province, and doña Ana Rodríguez, born in the Cuban region of Cienfuegos. The boy was baptized by the name of Gustavo Jorge Pelayo at San Miguel Archangel’s Church on September 2nd. His godparents were his siblings, Ramiro and Angela.
Brought up in the midst of a cosmopolitan family, Gustavo’s restless spirit was never satisfied. Everywhere he went, he only stayed for a very short time, focusing his creative inspiration in the variety of the people and the landscapes he met. This was the spirit which led him to travel not only around Spain, but also across a great part of Europe. Although Gustavo had two brothers, Ramiro and Miguel Ángel, and two sisters, María Ángela and María Ana Consuelo, there was a higher side to the spirit of the family: Magdalena Echavarría, Madalen, as they affectionately called her. Her positive influence was greatly responsible for the siblings’ development. Those were the days of highlighted cultural activity in Vitoria. Science and literature beckoned the whole of society. An abundance of newspapers such as “The Alavese Forthcome”, “The Outsider”, “The North of Spain”, “The Trumpet”, “The Guindilla”, “The Bagpipe”, “The Contrabass”, contributed to unfold artistic activity. People of Díaz Alano’s height, master illustrator and Maeztu’s friend, learned their art wavering between satire and sternness. However, due to his youth and the fact that he was forced to leave the city short after he arrived, Gustavo de Maeztu was unable to enjoy it’s intellectual rush.
Upon their arrival, don Manuel and doña Juana settled in Vitoria as a pair of wealthy Indians. They lead a splendid life, meeting the highest of the city’s society’ strata. Ramiro was the most favored by the current family’s status, where comfort and wealth were the main features. At home, conversations were held both in Spanish and English, while kind nannies pampered the children; all this together with long and lovely rides in the family’s car, and even a bicycle brought from France, ended up in the family’s bankruptcy. In 1984 Manuel Maeztu went back to Cuba to try and save part of his heritage. But he died there. The family moved to Bilbao. Gustavo left a city which had only meant entertainment and fun to him. He arrived in an industrialized Bilbao, where he would learn to read and write, and would experience sacrifice for the first time in his life. Upon her arrival, Mrs. Juanita created an educational center and named it "Whitney de Maeztu School for Young ladies, Anglo French Academy". She was able to open the school doors thanks to the aid of a rich republican, Horacio Echevarrieta. It was not long before the school was looked upon with mistrustful eyes by the church.
How could anybody trust the children’s education to that English woman, who could possibly be a protestant, maybe a non believer, and whose children boasted to be liberals, the older one even an anarchist. But Mrs. Juanita would not let herself down. Her self-sacrifice would favor triumph. This sacrifice lead her to write in February 1901, when she was 43 years old, to Mr. Miguel de Unamuno, Director at Salamanca University, and friend of her son Ramiro. She asked him to intervene on her behalf, in order to get a French professorship at that University. Indalecio Prieto had hard words for all the family members, except for Ángela, "the most intelligent one, the most self-sacrificing, the most modest of the siblings, the only one who hated showing off". But when it came to Mrs. Juana he lost himself with compliments, emphasizing her overwhelming beauty. Meanwhile Gustavo, probably ignoring his mother’s shortages as well as his older brothers’ worries, attended Bilbao’s secondary school, and as any boy of his age, spent more time in staining his drawing books (with caricatures of his sister María) and day dreaming, than studying.
With his mother’s support, he started his drawing lessons at the tolosarrapainter’s studio of Bilbao, Antonio María de Lecuona y Echániz. Lecuona had been a painter at the Chamber Court of King Charles VII. With him, Gustavo learned drawing and painting from scratch. Unamuno, pupil of the same painter, tells us Teniers’ works, reflecting the popular environment, could be appreciated at the studio. El Greco was also subject of their chats, although he was referred to "as an eccentric lunatic". After this brief period, his interests took him to Manuel Losada Pérez de Nenin’s studio, who had also started at Lecuona’s. In the meantime his interest in pictorial knowledge went hand in hand together with his commercial studies. At this point all the meaning of tradition at Lecuona’s studio was broken at Losada’s. Losada had enjoyed a long and fruitful sojourn in Paris, meeting often with Ramón Casas, Santiago Rusiñol, Ignacio Zuloaga, Pablo Uranga, Paco Durrio and James Mac - Neill Whistler.
Losada’s preferences were aimed at El Greco’s and Velázquez’s paintings. Thanks to their teaching, the Basque painters, among them Gustavo, began "to find their way outside the boundaries of the Madrid and Roman academic painting of the late past century. Likewise, they were influenced by Goya’s, El Greco’s, Velázquez’s and Ribera’s heritage". Young Maeztu was clearly marked by Losada’s character paintings. Maeztu said it made him feel the old Spanish art very strongly. He found it had a lot in common with the old teachers. Maeztu developed and unusual fondness for Guzmán of Alfarache’s writings. He also wanted to portray the whole company described in the Mateo Alemán book. In his still young mind, countless pictures with scenes showing the "wondering cunning" appeared. But he had not yet attained enough technical skill in order to enable him to put his dreams on the canvas.
In 1905 he participates at the Bilbao Fine Arts fourth Exhibition, held at the Philharmonic Company’s site, on May 16. Gustavo was 17 years old. Among other artists who presented their work were Losada, Alberto and José Arrúe, Regoyos, Larroque, Asarta, Saénz Venturini, Daniel and Ignacio Zuloaga, Iturrino, Pablo Uranga, Seguí, Araluce, Berrueta, Durrio, Basterra, Moisés Huerta, Guiard and Canals. Gustavo exhibited three paintings: “A study”, “Cellar”, “Portrait Study”.
This year Maeztu took his first trip to Paris. It marked the start of his life as a wanderer. He traveled through all the diversity of the Spanish geography and the European countries. His stay in Paris lasted three months, from April till June. There he met Picasso, who at that time was finishing his famous painting “The Avignon girls”. Though, the knowledge of the new currents did not seem to dig too deep into young Maeztu’s soul, the French capital offered him the possibility to penetrate with greater firmness into appreciating the classical Spanish painting. This paradox had already taken place in other Spanish painters’ lives who, as well as Gustavo, had responded to the French capital with the will to open up their spirits.
In April he settled in the Chevalier du Guet Hotel, number 112 of the Rue de Rivoli: "the room is small and with truly funny furniture, a ship bed where Richelieu’s mother could have given birth to him, a mahogany chest of drawers which in the past must have been the place where laces were kept, but till my arrival it has only kept a lot of dust, and a clock of serene and earnest bronze, as the one of the Cinema’s lame.. ". It was also during this month of April that Gustavo contacted with Paco Durrio; this multi phacetic sculptor, friend of Gauguin’s, genial bohemian, was one of the dearest and most admired creators to the rest of the Basque artists. The contact with Durrio would be stunning: "He asked me for very kindly about all of you, and later invited me for coffee. We took it in together with a some Robinson, a man with long entangled hair, a skin cap and a suede suit, with explorer boots and a funny face. Later on I learned that he was the tavern owner round the corner, and a very good friend of Paco’s. We made good friends. Gustavo goes to the Louvre, and to other museums as that of the History of Religions. He could often be found drawing the animals at the Zoo. For Maeztu it was very important to visit all the museums. According to its words, learning to paint does not lack the need of contemplating nature, considering that nature never revealed to us. If it would be so, we would be near God, something he considered quite impossible. From Maeztu’s point of view, in order to get to learn to paint, it was necessary to have seen many pictures and many museums. This is what the city of Light conveyed. Maeztu lived with Meabe in Paris. Tomás Meabe would be all along his short life, one of Gustavo’s better friends. A writer, he began his political activity as a dolphin of nationalist Sabino Arana, deriving subsequently toward some leftist conceptions which would lead him to start the foundations of the Socialist Youths. Both characters, young and anxious to achieve recognition in this restless city, will share adventures, and why not, anecdotes too, as the ones Estanislao Mª of Aguirre related, helping us to understand the precarious, but amusing existence of the creators’ beginnings.
One day Gustavo de Maeztu painted a picture and, finding no other place, let dry on the patio’s window sill. Some young women of the neighborhood used to peep in laughing playfully. Meabe, who at that time was working on some translations for Garnier, heard some noisy laughter... and his surprise was great upon finding the floor full of potatoes, onions and other vegetables. The girls were aiming at Gustavo’s picture, throwing things as if it was a target at a playground. Meabe, finding this to be a new kind manna, often took the picture out into the patio, where the "same miracle" took place over and over. In the end, aware of this, and full with rage Gustavo made a terrible scandal. Meabe, who was working at that time on some translations for Garnier, used to visit him. That day, upon arriving, he heard people laughing noisily. He was surprised at the sight of potatoes, onions, and and all kinds of vegetables spread on the floor. Upon the sight of Gustavo’s painting, the girls of the neighborhood started to throw things at it using it as a target just for fun. Meabe found this so entertaining that he often put the painting out in the patio, just for the sake of seeing this “miracle” happen over and over again This kind of fun was heavenly manna to him. When Gustavo lost his temper upon finding out what was going on. Gustavo kept constantly attacking Bilbao Being far away, he fancied it more old fashioned than it actually was. He told his friends: "I see you somewhat sad. It doesn’t surprise me at all. In Bilbao, we lunatics do nothing more than play blind man’s buff. We wander in the darkness, and often receive a blow. Standing before Greek and Venetian magnificence, Thomas and me feel coward pagans. We’re experiencing a very frightening kind of hatred towards Catholicism. When we’ll be famous we shall organize a great universal supper, preferably next spring in Luxembourg, in order to complain against twenty centuries of sadness. “Hip, hip, hurray, to Life and Hope!" This letter was sent to Ricardo Gutiérrez Abascal, who under the name of Juan de Encina, would become one of the most important critics of the century’s first thirty years. His writings would mark the evolution of the art of criticism. He talked Maeztu into leaving Bilbao and going to Paris, where "I have a damned wonderful house with many rooms, and if you want to, we can even get you a lady to calm your nerves from time to time”.
On one hand, Maeztu was gazing at a world from which he was expecting to get a lot. On the other hand he was looking at world that turned out to be disappointing. The first one was a sort of under world, a very interesting one, where painting and literature went hand in hand, really intertwined. The current spirit of Paris served to this setting. There, every artistic activity, together with the view of the landscape and the reading, were one single whole. Maeztu was fond of Paris’ humor and intelligence. To him it was a show. His Paris experience would serve him further on as an argument for his literary works. Nevertheless, his sojourn would not lack the esthetic experience. At the Louvre he met with the Spanish artistic tradition. In addition, his acquaintance with two successful Spaniards, Zuloaga, (already known by Maeztu) and Anglada Camarasa "the colorist of the Latin American rhythm", would help him discover a romantic and sensual kind of painting.
As a result of this, his work grew stronger. His paintings were overflowing with a sense of décor. Blue, green and red were the outstanding colors on his palette, and his work focused on three main issues: color, volume and rhythm. This would lead his work to a sense of sculpture. Maeztu expressed his great fascination towards the Greek world of sculpture. Among Maeztu’s men and women, lots of Greek Kurois and Kore can be found.
The Coitao. 1908
After this hectic and fruitful stay in Paris, he had no way out, other than return to Bilbao. There, it would embark in the literary adventure of creating an opinion newspaper, "The Coitao", whose first number appeared on January 26, 1908, after a long process in the making of it. Bilbao was no different from what it had been. It remained the same old fashioned provincial city, which Maeztu would give the name of Hesperia, as the Iberian Peninsula was called in days of old. Bilbao turned to him into a symbol of a country abandoned to its decay. Hesperia’s myth is translated into one of the symbols of man’s strife in order to achieve spiritualization, something only possible through immortality, cherished by all creators.
"In Hesperia, as well as the rest of the Peninsula, passions would never go unchained because, if that would have been the case, Spain would have resigned the way toward freedom of spirit . The only outbursts in were the cries for romance and the yelling Hesperians shouted out at every thing that was new, anything that meant freedom from ruralism and barbarism”. Ramón Gómez de la Serna used to say that had there been a worthy youth, at least small gatherings would have taken place. In one of these gatherings at the Arriaga Coffee Shop, the idea of the Coitao came up. The economic contribution to the same started with 800 pesetas, all that José de Arrúe had at that time. Gustavo de Maeztu put "the soul", a pseudonym Mr. Tejón Vélez de Duero’s acid feather wrote down. Luis Mogrobejo, a merchant marine and cousin of sculptor Nemesio Mogrobejo, offered his house on Santa María Street, at Bilbao.
From the very beginning, it was all about filling the air of the dormant city with accusations and agitation, but also with a background of intellectual quality. They sought for signatures as that of Mr. Miguel de Unamuno, who sent a chapter of the first fruits of his "Memories of childhood and youth". Other important collaborators were: Pío Baroja, Ramón de Basterra, Ramiro de Maeztu, Juan of the Encina, Tomás Meabe and José Mª Salaverría. There was a large number of articles criticizing Bilbao’s society, and encouraging the young artists in their pledge to go after their ideals. As statement of their principles they came up with the idea of starting a newspaper which would be essentially from and for Bilbao. As they stated, "its name would not be attuned to its publications, since finding coitaos in this land of the living is seemingly difficult".
All the participants in the project were young people whose ages were between 20 and 30 years old. Thus, all of them tried to make themselves a way through a city they considered, not only unbearable, but which didn’t allow artists to enhance their creative work. There was no way of channeling the inner self. As Maeztu wrote in hiss novel "The Blue Cat" (through Rufo’s character), the hesperians (from bilbao) "are spiritually wrinkled as the clothes hidden in their wardrobes; here, there is fear for all, starting with the capital city, which is ignorantly coward". Due to this, to what they considered a sleeping town that remained indifferent, they would maintain the need of agitating it "distributing paper leaves whose content would blow like a whip". For the first number, Unamuno sent a long article with the title of: "Down with the coitadez" where he attacked Antonio Trueba, the already passed away writer, a high exponent of what they called the village essence. The “Coitao” attacked the "bizkaitarrismo", the Basque and Jesuits’ tendencies. This second front, the harder one as to satirical elements, was part of a wider overview which would cover the whole of the State, and especially Catalonia, the other center of the Peninsula’s art regeneration.
It was during this time that anticlericalism presented itself with more violent literary ways. Not only were they anticlerical, but also anti Christian, as it can easily be understood through the lines signed by Maeztu in his book: "Doings and episodes of the Mister Doro". In chapter XIX, "Crying song for a disappearing society", he speaks about Arcadia, a happy place until the rising of religion. These young writers saw in the Christianity an enemy to the development of human personality, and they adopted a wildly individualistic position against it. The regionalist movements that rose, were the antithesis of this movement, and stood up on a wide basis, supported by the socially accommodated catholics. It wouldn’t be up to 1908, that José Ferrándiz, "priest Ferrándiz", filled with this same spirit, would explain that the Catalonian separatism as well as that of the Basque people, "bizkaitarrismo", had been forged at the Barcelona School on Caspe Street, at Loyola and at Deusto.
Unamuno became the group’s spiritual guide. Not only did they share his ideas, but also being conscious of his philosophy’s universality, they used his collaboration to back their proposals. Unamuno kept disturbing anchylosed Bilbao. His prestige was a guarantee to young artists’ who wished to make their way up. The newspaper appeared on January 26th ¡at last! It went public thanks to people announcing it along the Arenal Drive, a current method at that time. The newspaper was being published at Ibáñez Street 12, Bilbao. Each number was 10 cents. The effigy of a bald, stocky gentleman and with a hat in the hands appeared on the first page. Faithful to its weekly commitment, the second number was released on February 2. From then on, illustration starts to gain more importance.
N° 3 appeared on February 9th. Two drawings by Gustavo de Maeztu appeared in it. There was also a drawing by the painter Darío de Regoyos, and another one personifying Mr. Tejón Vélez de Duero like a stocky, small headed man, wearing eyeglasses and a big mustache and a derby hat. There was nothing that these young artists’ idealism could do against a reluctant city that simply ignored them. The newspaper turned ever more against Bilbao’s society, which was so far away from innovative ideas. The dogmatism of an ideology represented by the "Bizkaitarrismo", was fiercely criticized by Unamuno and Tomás Meabe. The 8th number appeared with an article where Unamuno attacked this doctrine under the title of: “Why do Basques get drunk?” Anyway, candor was the main cause of its fall. The adversaries and the intellectual classes’ apathy put an end to the whole project.
The newspaper stopped appearing on March 29th. With the 8th number, an adventure greatly cherished by some artists, had ended. These people, who had enjoyed Paris’ honey, and started once with the support of the most illustrious intellectuals, were now unable to find a place of their own. The last number, for which Gustavo was meanly responsible, written in a swan song way, was be totally meant to attack the Jesuits, treating them as simple merchants in a fair, and joking about them in this manner: "A snake bit a Jesuit. Did the Jesuit die? No, the snake did". Always with the pseudonym of Mr. Tejón, Gustavo published an article in the last number with the following running title: "For the those swho read us". He threw his furious attacks against those he called "stupid" the "pispiritos" (finicky, of affected manners).
The "stupid hate whatever represents mental enhancing... all is chocholo (pampering ) to them". The "pispiritos (daddy’s boys), these arrogant guys, who believe they know it all, and keep giving advises... war enemies, of the war of ideas, of everything that involves passion, youth and romanticism". Against all these, Don Tejón cries: "Coitaos, always coitaos, but with a knife in their hands". This turns out to be the newpaper’s epitaph, as Estanislao María de Aguirre stated: "The Coitao was too much of a newspaper for current Bilbao".
Since this adventure failed, Gustavo and Jose Arrúe decided to change the scenery. They left for the city of Betis in Seville in spring. There they stayed until June. Here, along with the South American painter Pablo Arriarán, they settled in Triana, the best side of the city,at Betis street, facing the Golden Tower, by the Guadalquivir river.
Juan de la Encina tells us, Seville dazzles Gustavo: "Setting foot on the streets of Seville, he seriously assures, Gustavo had a revelation of his ancestral past, - How beautiful this is! - he cried out letting himself be taken by a lyric mood, using words which would seem unproper at this time. Methinks such an oasis existed on the earth, and that I, Gustavo de Maeztu hardly knew it! I would be honored to become the foster son of Triana. Bur after saying this, drawn by an absolute dionisiacal rage he yelled: "No, no; I have nothing in common with English blood - How horrible! - nor with Basques: I am a pure blood sevillan".
During their stay in Seville, they met with Ricardo Baroja and Gutiérrez Solana who had arrived during those days. Together, they would share good moments in their search for atmosphere as well as knowledge of that particularly vibrant Spanish region. The result of this quest would be an abundance of experiences and anecdotes that would be added to their memories.
In Don Juan's Seville, they settled in an abandoned church, turned into a coalyard by its owner proprietor a coalyard as well as series of studios with houses for artists. Due to its inner divisions, Gustavo had to live on what once been an altar. This made the anticlerical and antireligious Gustavo extremely happy, to live right on top of what he most rejected! What a triumph after his Bilbao defeat.
With the sale of the first picture, they bought boots for Gustavo, and after having a magnificent supper, they took three armchairs of the Duke Theater, where there was an ongoing play: Jacinto Benavente's "Created Interests". Gustavo considered Benavente a member of the "Anticamorra"(antiquarrelsome). Gustavo, in a very bad mood because of a Sevillian's bad manners, fell heavily on him, roaring and interrupting the play. The concierges lifted the painter and practically made him fly outside the theater, with his prey still between his claws. The event appeared in the Sevillian press the following day in a highlighted place. It read:"The General Seville Real Estate Recorder, on the verge of being strangled by a crazy and furious person at the Duke Theater".
Upon returning to Bilbao the following winter, they resumed the social gatherings at Arriaga's. They got together with the Arrúes, Laureano Marcaida and a few more fellow members every night. This social gathering was seemingly discreet in the midst of the agitated social activity at the place. Whenever something strange happened, rising other people's curiosity, Gustavo de Maeztu was usually responsible for it. Gustavo was the soul of this social gathering, coming up with surprisingly paradoxical surprises and extraordinary projects. More than one of these projects was on the verge of coming true. Others were not carried out for lack of money. Still there was one which would come to life, a hand crafted soap factory . They would make ordinary soap. With a book with directions and the right ingredients needed to obtain that popular daily paste, they moved into a wide and dark attic of a house at Ensanche.
Gustavo de Maeztu had learned the booklet by heart, and was the one in charge of managing and finishing the operation. The fellow members were responsible for the prolegomena. Satisfied with all the details, sitting by the light of an old oil lamp probably forgotten by a witch on a Halloween Saturday, they started the production ritual. Gustavo, with his shirt's sleeves rolled up, finished the making of the product with great craft. Convinced of the extra quality the soap would gain, they returned the following day, at the same time, but were painfully deceived. They had failed, it was not soap, and daring to try it, they said it that it tasted like quince. After this failure, again came discouragement, ruining their social gatherings, because Gustavo no longer told funny anecdotes, nor amused anyone with his paradoxes. Back to normality, after this first failure, the group got interested in a coalyard, but "our industrial credit was naught after the soap story". Monotony had filled the atmosphere of their gatherings, when Marcaida introduced a new friend of his, called Miguel Perez. The man was a pedlar who Gustavo would later use in his novel: "The blue Cat". However, this colorful character erased Gustavo's person the scene' center. This marchand, in French words, intended to settle down in Paris, in the Rue du Temple, at a small establishment he would turn into a toy warehouse.
Basically the business counted with quite original toys. There was an airplane among them. Gustavo got some money in Bilbao, which was used to fuse the molds needed for the toys. In addition to the airplane, there was a priest who was shaking a censer, and a bullfigther in the act of placing banderillas. Miguel Perez ordered the dies at a house of Bilbao, but because of a series of circumstances in which the police took part, he fled to France after warning his new partners he'd let them know when he would settle the Paris store, after giving them the dies. Gustavo was in charge once again. They met at the artist's studio and looked at the dies, each one of which was made up of two bodies that fitted into tiny ears. No one at the smelting dared couple the same until Gustavo arrived. Maeztu gave the right orders and the paste started spilling through the openings of the molds, getting thus the suitable paste with which to make those "monicacos". After drying and separating them, the assistants, Jose Arrúe and Laureano Marcaida, bursted out with roaring laughter, while Gustavo bumped his head over and over against a sofa: "the priest, looked as if he was holding his socket over an imaginary bull, with a slanting mount and a smock covering half his body, while the bullfigther with a razored head raised the censer solemnly".
After this third failure, the group promised not to backslide. But Gustavo had not learned the lesson, nor would he ever learn it. Conscious of the fact that making a living out of art was only possible if he betrayed his moral principles,he wouldn't hesitate in looking for alternative activities,which would allow him to keep on painting and, at the same time solve his economic problems, without needing to abandon his aesthetic aspirations. Because of this eagerness to paint, and do it honestly, he became some dancers' representative agent. "He would go daily to the caffé taking with him hundreds of his dancers' cards. Nevertheless, neither his energy nor his boldness put together to work, were able to place a single artist.
1909 was socially and economically difficult for Spain. The problems derived from the war going on the Moroccan protectorate, aggravated by the hard misfortunes suffered by the Spanish Army, in addition to numerous social conflicts, caused by crisis and their consequent miseries, would end up in the bloody events at Barcelona, during the sadly well-known week: "Semana trágica" (the tragic week). In the midst of this agitated atmosphere, Maeztu left Bilbao. Of his political desertion he explained, defending himself before his friends, that he had an impulsive character which made him be afraid of himself, as Estanislao Maria tells us in a hilarious way : "he went away and settled (during the summer), in Biarritz, the place where European royal courts as well as artists like Sorolla spent their holidays".
Tomás Meabe exiled at Saint Jean Vieux, in the Low French Pyrenees. Gustavo joins his old friend, moving into a small village called Lutchienea, "owned by an Indian", as Gustavo described him, "the man couldn't be more vulgar". Once in a while he left the peace of the Frenche-Basque country, for Bayonne's Farniere caffee. Here, Gustavo filled with remorses because he had ran away, each time he met refugees coming from Spain, he said: "I've been stopping myself from leaving this strategic place, far from danger, while waiting for the right time for combat, but have received no news till now". But his stay on the other side of the Pyrenees would not be ill-fated. Gustavo went on painting, working a lot and gaining experience. He was eager to receive the recognition. Gustavo was and would be many things: bullfigther, comedian, serial story writer, representative agent, poet, inventor of wonderful devices; but most of all, a painter. At that time he started with the art of lithography, being Zuloaga partner in his first experiences, from which no trace remained. He also tried a new decoration technique: frescos treated with fire. He dreamt about Cyclopean art applicable to modern construction, trying to find a different way of painting on cement. He was determined to obtain cement colors, whereupon to achieve "gigantic immortal artistic works".
Gustavo spent all this time between France and Bilbao, dedicating most of it to literature. He released three novels between 1910 and 1912, which he was fond of describing as foolish serial stories: "Mr. Doro's wandering episodes" in 1910, "The blue cat's empire", which he described as an action novel, 1911, and "The other one's neighbour", in 1912. He mixed history with fantasy, lightheartedness with erudition. All of it written in a self-assured and loose style, that makes us stand in front of a writer whose pen is loose and colorful, in the midst of a strong atmosphere. His novels, are'nt just a series of stories, but also a manifesto of his own beliefs and phobies. They are a continuous criticism against all society's elements. "The Coitaos" appeared again. In an article appeared in 1908, Juan de la Encina compared Goya's and Gustavo's attitude in their literature. He criticizes the intellectuals: " What would become of a headless man? Nothing but a legged cauldron. That's just what all those who have a pen in their hands have become nowadays: cauldrons, nothing but cauldrons and mostly empty". He is very acid towards the bourgeois, whom he blames for: "having mistreated the plays and the arts. The smoke of your factories hides the light of the sun. Joy has disappeared". He despises the political class considering that: "Nowadays politicians can manage with just a little money to become parents of their Mother country, State Advisors and life parasites. And, when somebody asks: Who is Don Fulano, they answer to you: a very important man, owner of 27 alcohol factories. He also attacked the clergymen and the nationalists, his two black beasts. He compares the first with night birds: "rigid on their resting little legs". With this antireligious load, he considers God to be like a sort of drinker, "taciturn, full of hatreds and vanities, who on a day, just for the sake of entertainment, created man out of such a dirty matter as mud". Of nationalism, he asserts that it is an ulcer devouring Spain: " vallisoletans, ovetenses, Bilbaoans, Barcelonians, they all think of themselves as coming out of the most tender part of Jupiter's buttock... The conclusion of this lovely state of things is that the Spaniards, without knowing us, despise us ".
On September 10, 1910, at eleven am., at the Philarmonic Dance hall, the opening of an exhibition by the passed away artist, Nemesio Mogrobejo, took place. The opening speech was held by Don Miguel de Unamuno. Many intellectuals gathered to pay tribute to the artist. Tomás Meabe and Juan de la Encina were among the very many who wrote about this event in the local press. Tomás Meabe's words in his tribute to Mogrobejo were very hard, criticizing a society: where "merchants of ugliness" become rich in the same town where the artists "are dying from an illness very well known to all of us".
Meabe has only one hope: "that the tears spilled because of Unamuno's words shall act like water on the sowed earth, and that the pain will help bring back to life our dead artists". He raises the issue of art's socialization, proposing to speak about the artist in schools, hospitals and factories, and bring together all citizens, thus creating the possibility for artists to make a living out of their creation. On the other hand, the biography of Juan of de la Encina would be commented by Gustavo de Maeztu in "The Liberal" Bilbao newapaper, on October 16. Gustavo praises critic Nemesio Mogrobejo , his very close friend. He took advantage of the occasion to attack the hypocritical attitude generated mainly around the artist and, ironized as well the figure of the "critics". To the rest of the people, Gustavo said: "a critic is an intellectually assured gentleman, elegant, and generally greasy and short sighted, who keeps using exxagerated words like "wow and gee!". Snobs were there, together with the artists, those whom the "ceratophyllus fasciatus" bug stung. The bug you will refer to some centuries from now, at the Fine Arts' Circle which Maeztu wants to found.
"The ones who are really discarded from the very beginning, are the Silphs: those retarded dead men, those recalcitrant corpses, those which are neither dead nor alive, but who live thanks to the the dead a life which isn't a life at all". To Gustavo de Maeztu’s eyes, Mogrobejo, had a round silhouette which seemed to have been chiseled, red colored in a way that would have been a worthy partner of Courbert, and capable of throwing down Vendôme’s new column, a symbol of tyranny and lack of spirit. Gustavo sent two letters to the newspaper: " The Liberal ", one published on October 14, and the other on October 15. The first article’ title was: "Where are we going to?” in which he wrote about the sadness and sufferings of the Basque artists. These are some of his comments: - When Alberto Arrúe was thinking about finding the solution to his artistic life as well as that of his friends, preaching at the table of the Arriaga Caffee, the Paris and Italy, Pepe Arrúe who was with him, went to the French capital with the idea of becoming a butcher, of cutting off legs and cutting kidneys in twos. And since that crushing of meat was so appealing to him, upon arriving to Spain, and after practicing several times, Pepe Arrúe made his début as bullfighter (toreador).
-Had he lived a bit more, according to Mogrobejo’s thought, he would have made a living at the great saints’ ateliers of all Germany’s crowns. -When poor Araluce was starting to develop his temper, destiny’s irony made him fill the churches with purple paint on Torino’s scaffoldings. -In his own way, Guiard wanted to bring the artists into society. Not like one of my friends, who, having lived in Germany, and being vaccinated with the civilizer virus, said to me very seriously after I told him of other friends’ artistic apotheoses. - Do you know what we could do with modern cities' artists? - Get them to make a living out of rents - I answered humbly. - No man, no, that is impossible. Since most of them are quite polite and some even speak French, I believe that the most practical thing would be to let them in charge of public order as guards.
- Guiard claims that the artists should make a living out of their work, that people should see their pictures and come to the exhibitions, and do you know how? - he told me with a menacing gesture he uses at solemn times – by simply hanging on the art exhibitions’ door a big billboard saying: "Keep out". But the chronicler of these outlandish events has glimpsed a modest form in order that: "the artists won’t be a few rare animals among their people, so that they won’t increase the immense zoological fauna confirming the statement that they are chameleons with or without locks of hair”. Hereinafter he said: "Life renewal in a life such as the one in Spain, bitter, almost African and envious, cannot come about in any other way than through the introduction to art's realm". - Dear godfathers, we want to implant art, because art softens the beasts. We have often spoken about God's kingdom, but nobody has ever spoken about the kingdom of art. In Spain, God has sometimes reigned, particularly when lieutenant apostle Santiago appeared on his white horse, and led us to the killing of Moors throughout the peninsula.
- Art has occasionally shared God’s divine reign, but we can say that from mid XVIIth century onwards, in the Iberian Peninsula, God and art have been absent. -In order to recover its lost influence and build the foundations of art's dominion in regions where it has never existed, artists should get together and associate, the way they did in the past. Thus we arrived to the origin, at least as a plan, of the Basque Artists' future Association. Maeztu was hard on a society from which he expected nothing. He stated that the artists should be the ones to educate society, so that the latter could consider them part of it. He believed that they wouldn’t be free before this came up. Once the decision was taken, they would look for a place, which would be the head office in which to start the cherished project.
Soon after Gustavo’s articles were published, Tomás Meabe, Lutchienea’s partner, will also publish in "The Liberal" an article, by request of his friend Gustavo: "Artists, millionaires and silfphs ". For Meabe, nothing in Bilbao was related to art. Rich people,"our rich ones ", are poor of mind. They have destroyed the aesthetic harmony of the city and have built Neguri"," the most offended place on earth by international social climbers"; at times they have filled the churches with what Mogrobejo used to call "newly shaved saints ", people unable to appreciate Nemesio's art, to whom the monument at Viuda de Epalza was a “mocordo”. Meabe will collaborate with the creation of the Circle started by Maeztu. The Circle's main issue was the following: "If the flea (ceratu phyllus fasciatus), of country rats(mus decumanus) which sting men (homos infestans), stung the artist (non homo), most of the people who want to become Circle members would have to be banned". The idea was to create an artistic hell.
A Dantesque hell where a monster dwells, and which is condemned to live in these shades after eating a fruit that was not mature, stealing time from current time: "but Destiny stops him from arriving before the artists do, those beings out of time and space. But the monster has already seen its own end, he know he is damned. Those who have likely sinned, by not belonging to their time, soon will inhabit that kingdom of shades ". "Together with the artists in came the snobs, those who are stung by that bug (ceratophulos-fasciatus) of which you are going to speak a few centuries from now at the Fine Arts' Circle which Maeztu wants to found". "Those discarded from the very beginning, are the Silphs: those retarded dead men, those recalcitrant corpses, those who aren't dead but who live from the dead, leading a life that is no life at all". The Coitao spirit was renewed. That world, typical of the magazine's features, based on the strengh of words, arises with acidity. At that time, society was going through a deep recession. The rich bourgeois do not go to the artistic shows of any kind. The interests of these young people were not enhanced by those "poor" millionaire, those: "stinking conservative", making the association turn ot to be the only possibility to get what society denied.
Basque Artists Association. 1910
We see the importance that the year 1910 will have in the history of the Basque Country. In April Nemesio Mogrobejo dies. In July, a large group of Basque artists sends his works to the Mexican exhibition, advertising this artistic Basque moment overseas. In October and November the exhibition honoring Mogrobejo together with the 6th Exhibition of Fine arts takes place. It is at this point that Maeztu starts preparing the Basque Artists' Association, to which Maeztu will be greately committed, especially in making it well known in foreign countries. On November 1, at the Quintín Tower, a meeting is held in order to discuss the the Circle of Fine arts' foundation. A wide range of arts' representatives, attended it: writers, painters, sculptors, architects and musicians.
Carabias, Osorio, Arteta, Alcala Galiano, Gustavo de Maeztu, the Guinea brothers, don José Maria Pera, don Juan Echevarri, don Mario Losada, Goitia, Resurrection Maria Azcue, Guimón, were present. Osarte, Guridi, Guezala, Ortega, don Alberto Arrúe, Miquelarena, García Verde, Gabirondo, Huidobro, Mintegni, Roda, Eloy Garay, Rivero, Mourlane Michelena. "Unconditional and enthusiasts" don Ramiro de Maeztu, Grandmontagne, don Tomás Meabe, Lazurtegui, don Santiago Meabe, Balparda, don Sabino Ruiz and don Vicente Torre, were important collaborators too. Architect Guimón spoke at the meeting, expressing the need of starting a Circle of Fine arts in Bilbao , which would do both as a place for meetings to be held and contacts to be made "for all the artists who live here ... as a permanent demonstration of their collective work". Gustavo de Maeztu, as the soul of this project, considered this meeting to be of historic importance to the Basque Art process. The local press supported this meeting and it is well known who were the people who took part in the Music, Sculpture, Architecture and Literature commitees, but not in the Painting one.
Most of the appraisal for the idea of "The house of all", as Julio Carabias called the project, was directed to Gustavo. The same Carabias, in a gesture of euphoria exclaimed: "Praised be the Lord and eminent don Gustavo de Maeztu, who has put the first stone of such a magnificent building!". Joaquín Adán, in an article published in "The Nervión", says that having read the summons, " to the Basque artists ", many a man would feel like smiling disdainfully: "Bilbao artists?: where are they?. " For these sceptical minds, the ones who intended to bring the artists together would find themselves alone in the meeting, there would no be queues. And so it was. The Quintín Tower studio was not full, " but there were more than four cats ". They believed that the time had come for the artistic world of Bilbao to get out of its quietness and atony. For this observer, as well as for the artists who came, the art that had been done had already reached its highest point. Thus, they considered the lack of such an entity to be shameful.
A feeling of increasing discomfort started among the humanist group, because they were conscious of a great loss of artistic talent, who knew not how to fight against the establishment's indifference and ostracism, coming from a society who chose artistic failure and to which spirit had no meaning. With the disappearance of the Association's internal papers, we are prevented from knowing with accuracy the names of the founders. Pilar Mur Pastor, in his work on the Association, informs us about the composition of this first Directorate integrated by Alberto Arrúe, as president, Quintín de Torre, Gustavo de Maeztu, Julián de Tellaeche, Aurelio Arteta, Pedro Guimón, Ángel Larroque and Antonio de Guezala. Returning to the project, the foundation of the Circle had to wait almost another year, until October 29, 1911 and after several meetings, at Quintín's Study Tower, the Basque Artists' Association was born.
These initial years were for Gustavo the ones of major activity inside the Association. Nevertheless, the same year, in the first Exhibition of Modern Art organized by the Association, which was celebrated during August in the lounges of the Philharmonic Society, Gustavo did not present any work at all. The above mentioned exhibition, on the other hand, counted with very little public assistance. In March, 1913, the Directorate of the Association, of which Gustavo was still a member, sent the Deputation a letter raising a new project: a yearly or biennial celebration, of an International Exhibition to take place in Bilbao during August. But the Deputees did not grant them any kind of economic help, so the part of budget that Gustavo could have used for this project was completely absorbed for the installation of the Museum of Fine arts. On April 3, 1913 the above mentioned sent a script to Bilbao's Mayor. In the writing the Association was agreeing to celebrate anually an Exhibition Fine Arts' exhibition, during the month of August, where not only artists of the region, but also the most prestigious of the rest of Spain as well as foreigners, would be invited.
In the same writing the help of the Corporation was requested, so without his material and moral support, it was a very difficult challenge. They also spoke about the need of creating a museum, which should contain a section for modern art. Here the whole project was contemplated with a view to a future in which Maeztu, at first, would be an important part of the gear assembly, but from which he would finally drift apart, as for active participation. The first article of the Regulation of the Association states: "the Basque Artists' Association of Bilbao is created to enhance the development of the Fine Arts, organizing exhibitions of ancient and modern art, contests, conferences and everything related to artistic matters exclusively, in order that, at the same time the artists who are member may relate through the Association, to the similar entities throughout the rest of Spain and foreign countries, and to express themselves as an example of the artistic culture of Bilbao, going to the exhibitions organized by countries". It was all about a gathering with a corporate character, where the defense of the merely professional issues, especially at the beginnin, was of great importance.
AHaving failed the project for International Exhibitions, the 11th Exhibition of Modern Art, held by the Basque Artists' Association was opened in August 15th at Bilbao's Philharmonic Society. The painting section with pictures of Alberto, José and Ramiro Arrúe, Pablo Uranga, Marie Garay, Darío de Regoyos, Ángel Larroque, Aurelio Arteta, the Polish painter Mela Muter, Julián Tellaeche, Rochelt, Ascensio Martiarena, Landajo, Urbina, Sena, Salazar, Sobrevilla, Guezala, Luisa Guinea, was the largest one. On this occasion Gustavo de Maeztu presented four pictures. In the sculpture section Quintín de Torre's "A light man" , and Higinio Basterra's woman's bust were the most outstanding works. The exhibition lasted until September 18, being closed with an artistic party, meant to help solving the economic deficit the exhibition had generated.
The blue cat. 1911
While the artist kept on with the planning of the association, Gustavo published for the second time his second novel. He had written it in the early 1911, in the peace of his Lutchienea retirement, acomppanied by Tomás Meabe. The novel was also published by the Francisco Beltrán Library of Madrid, this time with a prologue by his brother Ramiro. Gustavo describes it as an action novel. In the Introduction, Ramiro makes a very assertive presentation of Gustavo, showing him as a person who is unable to find any kind of pleasure or even some acceptance in the real world. He tells us Gustavo “belongs to a tribe of spiritual gypsies”. Those gypsies are both submissive and rebellious towards society. These characters submitted by force, keep down inside them the will and the need to find picturesque things in life. But since they’re unable neither to grab nor achieve them, they insist in dreaming, until that need is channeled through stories of the kind in books they write.
Just the way he did in his previous novel, he used the same literary means, starting in the present and taking us to the past, which ultimately explaind the current reality. Nevertheless, we are in the pesence of a much better built and elaborate work, less prone to fantasizing and with a few clearer targets, since the social content stands in the first place. The adventurer and the presence of Bilbao, under the name of Hesperia, forced him to conceive the work as a real object. The same characters acquired a major soundness, helping to emphasize dramatism, as well as the value of denouncing a society which should be regenerated by a purifying catharsis through revolutionary violence. The story is about Rufo Pasamonte' adventures, the son of Alí Pasamonte. Rufo was tamer of animals, necromancer, druggist and mistifyer, elixir manufacturer, as well as manufacturer of some wonderful blue tablets which cured people from ailments such as rheumatism and arthritis.
Gustavo, in his anger against painting, finds consolation in a wild imaginative escape. Still, it isn't just an escape, but also the loosening of his impulses and the current lack of capability, to be able to express his inner worlds on the canvas. This literary need to express his inner universe confirms Indalecio Prieto's statement, that Gustavo was " a better writer than a painter ".
In March, 1914, an exhibition in Darío de Regoyos' honor took place in Brussels. The painter had died the previous year, on October 29, in Barcelona. Many of the Basque Artists' Association members were present at the exhibition, since Regoyos had also belonged to this Association. Though we do not know the whole list the artists who were present, we believe that Gustavo did not fail to the appointment, since for him it was a question of honouring an artist who had served as an example for the new generations and towards whom, Maeztu felt sincere gratitude and admiration.
Gustavo de Maeztu, would hold an exhibition in Barcelona's Dalmau galleries at Puerta Ferrisa. This gallery had turned into the center of the Catalan avant-garde, trying from the very beginning, to introduce in Catalonia the most advanced artistic languages of the European panorama. Two years before, on April 20, 1912, the auditorium had been opened with the Cubist exhibition:"Exposició d'Art Cubist" with works of Metzinger, Gleizer, Marie Laurencin, Juan Gris, Marcel Duchamp, Him Fauconnia and sculptor Agero. In addition to these attempts of modernization, the gallery was spreading and promoting the art of other cultural Spanish atmosphere. In March, 1914, previous to Maeztu's exhibition, a collection of Regoyos' works were shown. This exhibition was very important to Maeztu, for he had arrived to Barcelona as a perfect stranger.
The Catalonian press echoed at once the success obtained thanks partly, to the public and partly to the critics. Some of these critics took trouble in highlighting the origin of the North of Spain, " of the strong lands ... where a very interesting pleiad of artists blooms in our mother land ". For the critical Catalanists, it was as important to consider the affinities between the Basque and Catalan artists, as to state a remarquable element they shared, and which made them differ from other cultures. Basques and Catalonians differed in their origin but not in their atittude towards nationalim. This common ideal was expressed through their search for beauty, even if it was achieved in different ways. Basques and Catalonians had initiated the artistic renaissance of Spain. Hence the critics would start talking about parallelisms and artistic coexistence: Zuloaga and Rusiñol, Casas and Durrio, Regoyos and Clará, Mogrovejo and Sert. Barcelona, in turn, was accepting the penetration of the Basque artists and Regoyos would serve as springboard for Zuloaga, Mogrobejo and, in these moments, also, for the brothers Zubiaurre. In this climate of cultural exchanges between two similar situations, Maeztu was presenting his work in the Barcelona.
Work that would surprise for the strength of its spirit and personality, as well as for the " courage and brightness " of his production. Works that would amaze because they collided with the contemporary tendency which went back to the classic forms abandoning color sensuality Maeztu looks for his own synthesis.He tries to find beauty in the simplicity and in feelings. For J.M. Jordá "Gustavo de Maeztu's art, is also an answer to his own nature, the one of the northern man. He is more violent, as impetious as his country's sea, grandiloquent. He is also his own tradition, the spaniards' tortured tradition that weighs heavily over his restless and modern spirit". Catalonian critics tried to find "relatives" which would place Maeztu's work side by side with that of Zuloaga and Uranga's, but emphasizing (and this was que quality that most mattered to them), that he always had a remarquable personality.
Maeztu has the sensuality of the color. His colors live inside a special harmony, he stands out as " violently bold ". The same as Zuloaga, whom he will always admire, for him, picturesque characters are felt as elements which determine the nature of Spain at that time, but searching first of all, for the brilliant and surprising colors which made an extraordinary and unique feeling. The exhibition was held from May 15 until June 15, with eleven paintings, eleven drawings and six pastels.The portrait of his brother Ramiro stood out among the oil paintings, “The Andalusian song”, “The Remedies”, “The black shawl Maja ”, “The Samaritan woman“, “ The red hoodlum one”, “The smiling woman”, “Three powers”, “Disciplinant pace”, “Encarna and Rafaela”. Some of the drawings were: "The drowned man”, “Waiting woman”, “Prisoners' Rope in Monsoon”, “Flattering", "Nocturne", "The kiss", "The three girl friends", "The artists", "The versolaris", "Castille" and "The sailor's return".
Maeztu presented with a wide range of subjects, the most outstanding of which was: the woman, different kinds and habits. It is quite revealing to see that his painting, "The three powers" and his drawing, "The Samaritan woman" appeared illustrating an article in 576 number of "The Catalonian Illustration" magazine. Maeztu's painting has no socializing history. He will leave it for his literary work. His painting always reveals an exalted character in search of values. His characters do not denounce a situation of abandonment of the country, they reflect its regeneration. Hence, the sculptural value which outlines his images. They are mythology titans, capable of moving mountains. If we observe the picture "The Samaritana", we will note that it has nothing to do with the Biblical story. We meet one of the women of Maeztu, haughty and domineering, but at the same time sensual. It is a new kind of woman, who starts gaining control on her own self, prelude to the fatal woman who will appear in the end with his painting of " Eve ".
The critic Francés Pujols will write in the weekly magazine: " Catalunya ", published on May 30, in number 343, comparing Gustavo's pictorial skill with that of Zuloaga and Anglada Camarasa:"aquest pintor jove, tan jove com espontani, tan espontani como ingenu, tan ingenu como enginyos, ha nascut per fer avencar un pas de gegant la técnica pictórica... En Gustavo de Maeztu se presenta como a innovador del contorn accentuat que alguns venecians usaven per dar rellev a les figures; el l'usa per unir y separar enseus les figures del cos general de l'obra, invencion del seu geni tecnic que consiteix en resseguir el contorn de la figura amb una ratlla de dugues tintes; l'una que comunica amb el fons i l'altre amb la figura, obtenint aixi l'unio; la separación desit jades". Everybody agreed that the fundamental qualities in Gustavo's work was the way in which he used some strong forms, with the clear intention of getting the public to feel his own sensations. Always keeping in mind that, Maeztu's work, what we see is not the essence of the characters' forms: the forms are folded into a previous idea, subdued to will.
San Sebastián. 1914
After a few months, there is news of another exhibition in which Gustavo has appeared. This one is held during the month of September at the "The Basque People" newspaper's house, in San Sebastian. Gustavo will show a set of 37 works. The exhibition was presented with a four paragraph description: "Drawings of Celtiberia and Bética", "Drawings of shade " and "Blue and silver oil paintings". Gustavo would defiantly show his pictures in a moment in which war was devastating Europe and the exhibitions that had been programmed in Bayonne and San Sebastian, for the summer period, had to be suspended.
He arrived in San Sebastian supported by the victories obtained at the Barcelona exhibition, where although he had not sold very much, the owner of the gallery on paying him, said: " you haven't made too much money; but I do not know that any Castilian artist has ever had so much press". The victories were resting on the possibility of having made exhibitions in one of the most important rooms of Spain, where the fauves were already exposing. That's why "Innovations", San Sebastian's magazine highlights the sanction recieved from the Barcelonian critics "less benevolent on the subject of pure art". " Flora " was one of the most outstanding pictures. It was not only powerful, but also very voluptuous. We can consider it as a precedent of "Eve". His figures of " The Remedies " and " The woman who smiles ", are more sensual, those creations that had been already exposed at the Dalmau room . Figures of dashing spirit and piquant grace, " legitimate descendants from the low brow dandies and popular sassy mannered Madrilenians with roguish , suggestive and promising look in their eyes".
As a contrast with the drawings, his pictures will achieve a balance between fantasy and observation of reality, never imitating external forms. He will add liveliness and a spontaneous and passionate feeling to his decorative values, which will bestow his work a musical poem rythm. The exhibition's colophon were Gómez Izaguirre's words, who wrote in the "Basque People" newspaper: " your painting is a claim against the narrow moulds which tie up inspiration; modern intellectualism claims for the hot and vibrant renaissance. All the comments will strongly state, as one of his fundamental qualities, the use that he makes of a few strong forms directed to the securing of the feelings he wants to arouse in the observer. Always bearing in mind that, in the work of Maeztu, it is not the essential extraction of the character of the forms what we see, but the forms subdued to a previous idea and to a strong will. 1914 ended for Maeztu with the strong conviction of a blooming determination: the larva seed was starting to prove fruitful thanks to more serious work, sustained by an inner conviction. Our artist was filled with great satisfaction: by the time he was twenty-seven, he had already harvested his first victories.
1915 was marked by plenty of individual and collective exhibitions in which he takes part, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, as well as by the scandal that the exhibition of his picture, " Eve", produced in Bilbao ". After the success obtained at the exhibition in Barcelona the previous year, he could not avoid exhibiting in Madrid, a city where artists were ill treated, but still fundamental for their succes. Opposite to the Catalan avant-garde, Madrid's attitude seemed more like the nineteenth-century one. The attempt to go international by the National Exhibitions had failed because of war time difficulties.
In this context, Gustavo hangs his powerful works on the wide cristal lounges of the Palace Hotel, during April and May. In the midst of this central frame, Gustavo turns towards a pretty severe and somewhat bound up public, who nevertheless feels obliged in the face of a solid exhibition with which the young Basque painter rejoices them. Comments support his evolution. The elements we have to define in Maeztu's work are the ideas of Realism together with Naturalism. Realism devotes itself to portrait the human figure in a pure and simple manner, as it appears in ordinary life. Maeztu grows strong in the drawing skill, becoming more and more firm. But as Manuel Abril says: " He still keeps banning corrections ". He manages to obtain transparencies, wealth and cohesion which he had not mastered until then, directing his skill towards a sober and pure style. Naturalism studies things in order to get from them their outer forms, but more attuned with the sensations which it tries to communicate.
Maeztu chooses a poetical - plastic representation; he captures the issue in which plastic arts and deep ideas (or feelings) get together and are attuned. For Manuel Abril, as a painter, Maeztu comes right from the impassioned race which he himself has always felt deep inside him, and which makes him sigh. Maeztu seems to tell us: " There is a certain number of essential features in History, in native art and in national psychology, which have reached us , thus contributing in helping us to reconstruct the ideal physiognomy of our race; such an expression will be, at the same time, helpful for that reconstruction and historical synthesis, a future ideal, a milestone towards which to walk; in such a way that if the race was not the way we expected it to, it will become in the future what it should have been in the past ". All the clearly Spanish and popular elements appear in his canvases: the mantilla, the hoodlum, the shoe. The typical features: black, gypsy eyes, graceful gentleness, but putting together the popular flashiness in the aristocratic spirit as we can appreciate in the picture: "The gallant beauty". For these pictures, Gustavo de Maeztu chooses ceramics, making the reflexes of his palette glitter. Colours express his idea on the cloth with splendid wealth, distributing the masses with architectural fortitude and beautiful grace. These oils come to be ideals, compound based on the characters stated in the drawings.
Another picture emphasized by the critics is that of "The seed drill", a woman with a muscular body and caryatid. His sheens and the warmth of the robes lead to represent her as if executed in ceramics. This figure is compared to the "Lady of Apostate" in all this image means to the Spanish ideal, combining elegance with fortitude. There is vigor, massive heaviness and energetic fortitude in her; but there is some kind of moral austerity in the gesture and in wrapping her up in a solemn public-spirit: it is already Roman; and there is something of eurhythmics and balance and still composure in her pace: it is already classic. Compared to the reflexes of popular ceramics of the king of "The seed drill", and pictures such as "The gallant beauty", they acquire the light and delicacy of beautiful metals, of enamels of milky qualities. If at the back of "The seed drill" we observe of Zuloaga's influence, in this one seductive daydreams of pertaining to nobility parks, sumptuous forests, full of bluish haziness, turquoises, green seas and the misty ambience which surrounds Renaissance architecture. It is a Spain of nice marchionesses who have incorporated the aristocracy and the ambience of the beauties into the world and into the cosmopolitanism, but without losing its native character.
The "Artistic Year", publication where José Francés was compiling part of his writings throughout the whole of 1915, emphasizes that Maeztu is an anxious and vagrant artist , partly because of the life he leads, and partly for his personality's manifestations: "his pictures today, his novels yesterday, might be chapters of an admirable work with the title: "Trip around my spirit". José Francés defends Maeztu in numerous occasions. He observes how the drawings of Maeztu are part of studies for the painter's future linens. They turn into sketches, but his skill and conception, endowed with the same masses and lines as his linens, happen to be complete works by themselves. The presence of Anglada Camarasa appears in the work of these years. Gustavo is fond of using blues, granting this color such a leading role that in his poetical essence he will end up by making it silvery "as if the brushes had stolen the light of the moon".
The difference between his drawings and his oils attracts specialized critics. The fist ones are firm, tough, realistic. The second ones have a more decorative character, somewhat unrealistic, sacrificing the whole to the beauty of the outlines and to the harmonious rhythm which motivates the general intonation. Maeztu uses natives as a presence of the object in his constant activity. But later on he will leave it, showing us an elaborate, distant nature reduced to pure conception. These drawings so appreciated for its qualities, will be the first steps towards his linens. They are the result of his tireless traveler's notes. His notes are not made in a hurry, they are perfectly pondered drafts. Maeztu does not rush across the country: he does it as any nineteenth-century traveler; his trip is part of a necessary knowledge of the people and the sceneries they live in.
When he was through with his exhibition at the Palace Hotel, Gustavo takes his works to a new appointment in Barcelona. A year had gone by since Gustavo had exposed in the Dalmau Room. Now Khan Parés was there, during the month of June. Between the chosen pictures " The seed drill ", which had already been at the Madrid exhibition, will stand out. On November 4, Tomás Meabe, a great friend of Gustavo's and one of the founders of the Basque Artists' Association dies in the city of Madrid. The blow is very hard for Gustavo. In spite of going on with his light hearted life, his adventurer's life was surrounded with a strange and unfathomable mystery which seemed to withdraw him from his curiosity toward people. When they were both living in Lutchienea, in solitary company, Gustavo experienced one of his major creative moments, developing with lucidity his literary and ideological side in the world of art. Without Meabe's company, Gustavo "lives nowhere". It is as if he had lost his way as well as his previous interests, looking for a solitary route in his own formation.
On November 22, at the Philharmonic Room, a new exhibition of the Basque Artists' Association was opened. This artistic sample turned out to be shaken by the scandal risen because of Gustavo de Maeztu's "Eve". In addition to this picture, Maeztu exposed: "The Vozmedianos fiancés", "Antonia" and "Flora". For José Francés, the bottom line of the whole scandal was the current national atmosphere: hatred towards nude pictures, prevented the eminent artistic weekly paper, "The Sphere" from publishing pictures of nudes, because it received thousands of claims against the reproduction of Velázquez's "The Venus of the mirror" and Goya's "The beauty undresses" . This was the kind of society which marked all the catalogues containing nude figures in red. That same year at the National Exhibition of Madrid, a picture was rejected on immoral grounds, a work of the Catalonian painter Federico Beltrán. Its title was "The Maja Marquese".
Times were changing and the feminine perfect beauty was already not turning out to be static, ideally formed of the painting as an eternal icon. The woman was represented by his sex, which supposed affirming that it was possessing, a head office of desire and of pleasure, independent from the man and that it could use with him and without him. The naked woman was appearing in time exposures sugerentes: they could be sensual time exposures, of immodest freedom, of ardent eyes, half-open and humid lips, and the fingers of the hands placed insidiously next to the sex. The nude, besides, was completed by looks of cold, lucid perversion in the fund and a gesture or time exposure of ambiguous lasciviousness. This haughty woman of tasty belly could suggest many temptations. Maeztu's"Eve", was raised as a symbol of the pagan world, of the kingdom of nature and senses. Once born the wife like an original force who, close to the imperative of the sexual desire, will dominate the first man. And it dominates it for the look, with these sibylline, insuperable eyes provided with mystery, in half-light, giving the light to the rest of the face. Behind the head, instead of the banal wall, it will paint the indefinite thing.
The fair and luminous head will appear on a rich blue fund, full of concealments. It turns more into an idol than into a human being, by what in his physical aspect there could be personified all the vices, all the voluptuousness and all the seductions. The woman was offering herself immodestly the spectator, appearing as source of pleasure. The rudeness of the figure was remaining accentuated by the color of the skin, putting itself on the accent in his nacreous whiteness. Maeztu turns the first woman into one: " Femme Fatale " that frightens a timid society, obtaining a reaction in this hypocritical society, and as Estanislao Maria de Aguirre tells us, " the eyes of the bilbainismo sietecallejero were happening like on embers, before the beefy nakedness of "Eve", but making the rabillo of the eye fixed in his palpitating meats ". Timid society who remains reflected in an article published for G. Mendive under the title of " The Luxuriant Andalusian one in Bilbao ".
The columnist will count how in Bilbao the sexual problem was remedied without tumult, without scandal, generally in the daytime, not to be absent in house in the night, and that in this rise of lack of concern a darling was supporting, it was becoming prompt popularly and his name was noted down in the green lists of all the checkers congregations. The Bilbaoans, he tells us, were submitting to the vice with real wild abandonment as the hungry to those who offer a banquet. Even one of the Arenal sidewalks became the center of local hilarity with the meaningful name of "pulódromo". The picture was acquired by Mr. Stoop when Maeztu exposed them in Grafton Galleries of London in 1919 for the quantity of 9.000 pesetas. We do not know when the picture could return to hands of Maeztu, but again after expiring and to bequeath to Estella his production, returned again to the dark quarter, alone where the adults could contemplate his chaste nude. There is no better epitaph for this work that that of Estanislao Maria de Aguirre: " Poor Eve! After five thousand nine hundred nineteen years, still they have not excused to you your only one sin! ".
El ciego de Calatañazor. 1916
That year, Maeztu, had almost forgotten his writer's side and let himself go into a frantic pictorial activity, which would lead him to travel across the country in search of new models, and into frequenting the exhibition halls to show his production, either with the Basque Artists' Association or on his own. Curious and absent-minded traveler, of Bohemian spirit and wanderer, was anticipating across the winds, in his profile janícipe, where the table of the friendship is served, guided undoubtedly by an errant star, which always comes to this table at the moment of the intimate confidences. Estanislao Maria de Aguirre speaks to us about a Maeztu of affectionate temperament, but unloving, his friendship never leaving roots , " though his jocund warmth spills with length for the ways that his roving spirit is indicating him imperiously ".
With his luggage and his folders under his arm Maeztu crosses Spain as a nineteenth-century traveler in search of his country's essence. Standing, as Ciro Bayo stated, "under curiosity's holy protection" he travelled through a geography that was vital, not only to his art, but also, for his spirit. As a member of the Basque Artists, Gustavo will take part in the collective exhibition the Great Route lounge, opoened on February 28; on this occasion he will present three linens centred on the feminine subject-matter, the three of them conceived according to his interest forms with relief, and his fascination for color. The Bilbao press congratulated Gustavo warmly. In this sample, close to Alberto Arrúe's picture " Return of the pilgrimage ", there Gustavo's picture " The Calatañazor blind man" appeared illustrating the exhibition in the diaries .
Once the exhibition had ended, Maeztu goes back to the Spanish capital during the month of April. This time he will hang his creations at the lounge of the capital's newspaper, " The Tribune ", in Canalejas square. The success obtained with his work delays the closing ceremony which, having been programmed for the 15th, will go on until the 20th of that same month. Gil Fillol, journalist of " The Tribune " of Madrid and follower of the work of Maeztu along his life, was praising a painting that he was considering to be worrying and troublemaker, something that will revolutionize not obtainable spirits to the too violent innovations. Before the pictures of Maeztu one will feel sobrecogido: " as before a vate who speaks to us about top things. What do they say to us those warm colors, only comparable in intensity to the vigorous po-licromía of the Arabic ceramics? What colors are reminded to us by these hard, rigid and stout types, like the Celts of the North? ”.
The exhibition was showing a whole of 18 pictures, the majority of them of big dimensions. Between these, was standing out his controversial "Eve". What in Bilbao he convulses and scandalizes, in Madrid is assumed as a work of art that it excels for the innovation of his procedure, the originality of the style and his realism " without photographic exaggerations ". It called also the attention by the succulence of his color and by two characteristics fully defined in the aesthetics of Maeztu: the expressive force and the ease of the drawing. Maeztu is centering his work in paintings of symbolic character, not about dreams but about the reproduction of tangible objects which emphasize strength. His painting gradually acquires poetical and romantic connotations, hence the spirituality that reigns in his figures. They are sculptural images connected to Spanish religious images' tradition, especially to the aesthetics of Berruguete, of whom Maeztu was a great admirer.
José Francés observed three personages who come together in the only one. The first impression that Maeztu offered him was that of a perfect gentleman, on having known it in Palace Hotel of Madrid; it was dressing of dinner jacket, the hair scrupulously brushed " and was offering the words with the same restraint as his pink hands and abrillantadas in the fingernails for the polisher ". The second meeting was in Barcelona, it was dressing shaggy suit, with a handkerchief of silk to the neck and a gorrilla " plebeian and roguish in the head ". Maeztu was the whole rise, his eyes were sparking of spitefulness, his chat had turbulencies and stammers of so congested how is life of ideas impatient to escape. It did him of guide to José Francés for the quarter of the Dockyards, showing him all " lustfulness and all the adventurousness " that in him existed. It was the Bohemian Maeztu that we will find in London interested in a new type of personage, more human, more real, less allegorical.
The third meeting was in an intimate concert, where he found a new Gustavo, " palely as the Pierrot, cojitabundo as a Hamlet, who was saying words impregnated with soul with the tremulous voice and the pupils encrista - you give of tears ". When he closed his exhibition at " The Tribune ", his star, takes him to Murcia. Here he is healed of his past bad life, in Estanislao's words, drinking coffee with a group of wealthy murcians in the bourgeois Casino. Juan de la Encina saw Maeztu as an excellent decorator, but that not yet ripe, for what he was asking him to think a bit more about the study of the form, this is: " not to give decisive what actually is not any more than moderately studied ". For this critic, in all the exposed works there was not the only one where it was not jumping at once at sight any shortcoming of form, which might have been corrected of a bit more of calm had taken to finish it ".
Shortcomings that, on the other hand, were remaining compensated by the wealth of the color. Come to this point, it is necessary to consider the intrinsic entity of these " mistakes of form "; since the painting that Maeztu was practising was not allowing reality of details to show up, because it would have lacked symbolic meaning. Maeztu, great drawer, does not fail in the forms any more than in a conscious way, to be able to obtain an integrity of set, impossible from the perspective of the detail. Another two presented pictures were " Gypsy dancing ", with almost half naked body, in which he will look for the statuesque form insisting on the obsession of the color. The same statuesque tendency is the one that there reflects " The blind person of Calatañazor ", from whom Juan de la Encina was distinguishing the pueblecillo that appears behind the figures as a holiday for the eyes.
Maeztu's "Eve", was raised as a symbol of the pagan world, of the kingdom of nature and senses. Once born the wife like an original force who, close to the empire of the sexual desire, will dominate the first man. And she dominates through her looks, with these sibylline, incredible eyes filled with mystery, in a low light, shedding light on the rest of the face. Behind the head, instead of the banal wall, he will paint the indefinite. The Bilbaoans, he tells us, they were submitting to vice with real wild abandonment as the hungry do to those who offer a banquet. Even one of the Arenal sidewalks became the center of local hilarity with the meaningful name of "pulódromo". Other pictures that which excelled were "The Medium voiced Fiancés", "Flora", "Embodiment" and "Highlander". In Estanislao's words: " It plays the chamelo with the president of the Hearing. With a big-bellied colonel it plays to the billiards to the evenings. His eyes of wise bream, they stop in a few empty panels of the Casino. Seeing the need to fill them, the project of the triptych arose " The gift of the Levant ".
Anxious spirit, it crossed half a Spain afoot and his long journey filled with adventures. Together with the painter Hermenegildo García Verdes, Sevillian, he travelled for grounds of Soria. Also it was in Cordova, in Hornachuelos. During this trip, pinto his pictures " Gypsy with horse " and " Sat Moor ". In Lesaca, Navarre, a sergeant of the Police detained it, believing, as the whole people, that it was a question of a fair and, spy therefore, German. In San Vicente of the Sonsierra, in La Rioja, a deputy who him meditated drawing a bridge, it enclosed it for the same motive as the previous one. The whole people will come in pilgrimage to contemplate the fair spy.
Basque Artists Association. Madrid. 1916
In Madrid and to Ramón Gómez de la Serna's instances the all Painters' Exhibition was celebrated, as introduction to the innovative contribution coming from the Basque painting. The manager of the whole selection and assembly was Gustavo de Maeztu. He was to carry out the whole framework of the exhibition on behalf of the Basque Artists' Association. He was to pack the pictures, look after them in the houses of some other painters, and do all that was needed to obtain the necessary permissions. He fought for the emergence of the Association, as much as for its publicity. With a hammer in his hand and the vest he fixed the pictures in their place.
Thanks to his enthusiasm and his tireless attitude, with his " epileptic and contagious happiness ", honoring the house, instructing visitors, " attending the ladies and giving the voice of alarm to the bartenders ", he obtained a full success. He managed to gather nearly 250 works, showing all of the contemporary Basque art. The pictures were exhibited together with sculptures, metalsmithing, glass art, enameled work and ceramics, drawings, nitric acid, architectural projects, etc. It served, in in the end, to show the reviving spirit that at that time characterized all the Basque Country's artistical activities. As an Association that was open to all the century's tendencies and for the diverse manifestations of t art, works of neoclassic touch could be contemplated in this pictorial sample, with in Goya's style reminiscences or Velazquez's and Cezanne's influences, the education of the synthetic and decorative art, classic impresionism and puntillismo, simultaneously that artists worried by the old Flemish and German painters or by the modern conception of the decoration in big masses submitted to a monumental rhythm.
A special room was reserved for Gustavo de Maeztu's: "The sea women" and "Spanish Land". For José Francés the most remarkable about these pictures was the way in which the sense of gigantic pictorial sculptures was highlighted trhrough the treatment of color, the way a sculptor does in working marble blocks. This conception of a sumptuous, wide art, in which figures are treated as big pictorial blocks and where matter acquires a pompous quality, is what leads José Francés to call Gustavo by the epithet of "The Magnificent". On the other hand, Maeztu wen on with a logical evolution with a more mature work, in which color diminished something of its robust accent, proving to be more harmonious, with a more intimate dependency on tones, and where the form was turning out to be more a more reasoned one. As it was expected in this kind of events, king Alfonso XIII came to look at the exhibition of Belgian artists as well as the Basque's one, accompanied by his personal secretary, Mr. Towers, and by the painter don Joaquín Sorolla. During his visit the king paid special attention to the picture " Iberian Land".
Thanks to the exhibition of Madrid, don Ramón del Valle-Inclán gave a lecture about the Castilian and the Middle East worlds, as well as the Basque world(though understanding this one as an ethnic unit icluding the whole of the Cantabric). Primitivism of the above mentioned was emphasized , because still they had not been unrolled, "neither of them can look back to a previous time, neitherdo they have an understanding of all that is foreign. And that's why they are primitive ... they still keep a juvenile way, looking forward and being stimulated by spermatic logos, for the generating reasons".
The Great War was destroying the fields of Europe and waking up the consciences in a declared neutral country, but where some social classes were prospering at the cost of the spilling of European blood. Great part of the Spanish intellectuality was for the participation in the conflict resting to the allied edict. In April, a group of intellectuals, politicians and manufacturers, as well as poets and artists also, signed an ally manifest, creating anatmosphere that would end up in the Barcelonian exhibition of French Art which would be held in 1917.
As soon as the Basque Artists'Association had exhibited in Madrid, his following success could not be other one than Barcelona's. If Madrid was important since it was Spain's capital, Barcelona was the center of the peninsula's artistic avant-gardes, put up precisely against Madrid, the chore of classicism. In the city of Condal they exhibited in the Layetanas Galleries, head office of the Catalonian group "Les Arts i els Artistes", during December, 1916 and January, 1917. They showed a whole of 182 works. The exhibition turned into a manifestation of political significance, and it could have not been otherwise, since in both areas a beating nationalism was taking advantage of any artistic sign, using it as a milestone to draw a difference. Both the Basque Country, and Catalonia painted in a modern way, but adapted to its peculiar idiosyncrasy. As Valle Inclán said, in order to develop an artistic personality, multiple and foreign personalities must be added, but not in a disintegrated manner. This served well both the Catalonian artists and the Basques. Hence the affinities of these two "schools".
After the visit of Maeztu and his friends to Barcelona , as a pleasant coincidence, the Catalan painter Santiago Rusiñol was exhibiting his work at the Basque Artists' Association's lounge from March 24 until April 14. This was one of the most expected exhibitions by Bilbao's public. A homage was paid by a group of friends with dry Basque wine of Archanda. Gustavo could not be absent from that event, and read out some few "ingenious" comments about northern fogs. The party was criticized and the participants were nicknamed "the villagers". Criticizers intended to give the impression of the rural basquismin, " which has a stable smell". This was remarquably opposite to Maeztu's opinion in these issues. At this point, Maeztu's logical evolution should have been that of taking the picture from the linen to the wall. But this dream of his won't happen before the end of the twenties. This transfer from the cloth to the wall will have two features: a social one (the approach of art to people) and a historical one, of an archaeological kind, in his quest to bring painting back to what he thought was its first and natural support, the wall.
Maeztu will make another exhibition in Barcelona. This time it will take place at the Layetanas Galleries, where he had arrived with the at the beginning of year with a collective exhibition organized by the Basque Artists' Association. In Barcelona he would stay at the Orient Hotel, as he used to during his many trips, going often to the Great Continental Caffee. He exhibited 14 oils and 11 drawings focused on portraits and made in charcoal. The exhibition was opened in June 15, sharing the gallery with the works of the painter Guardiola. Gustavo has arrived in Barcelona at a time of full major activity in exhibition matters. In April 23, the " Exhibition d'Arts Français ", was opened. There were 1,458 works inall, where the XIXth century's tendencies were shown.
In Barcelona he becomes an assiduous character at the Continental Coffee, where by don Miguel Utrillo's hand, he will meet with bourgeoises and intellectuals. Utrillo was patron of the arts and "inventor" of Sitges, a beautiful village, where painters and writers of his time, especially Rusiñol and Casas, came together. Don Miguel Utrillo owned an important collection of paintings which was exhibited for the Barcelonian public between 1933 and 1934 at the Parés Room . Among the artists there were names such as Nonell, Casas, Clará, Opisso, Sunyer, Dalí, Bagaría, Pasqual, Cabanyes, Mir, Picasso and Maeztu. In Barcelona by night together with Marcelino Domingo and Francisco Iribarne, director in chief of the newspaper " The Struggle ", he used to go to the Spanish Caffee at the Parallel, where lerrouxista atmosphere enhancing antimonarchic conspiracies usually reigned. It is in this atmosphere that Maeztu says he met the"Noy del Sucre ", a nickname for Salvador Seguí, a Spanish anarchist who had been an active part in the events of the "Tragic Week" in July, 1909, being one of the first organizers and propagandist of the C.N.T. Maeztu considered him an extraordinary man, a fiction character. He was murdered in the gunmen's war that destroyed Barcelona at the beginnig of the twenties.
Together with Santiago Rusiñol, Gustavo used to drink and laugh at dawn "full with sophistication and atoptimism", while Rusiñol would sing a sardana and while chewing a rebellious cigar, sitting by his pernod. There were two major painters at that time in Barcelona. One was Francisco Iturrino, of whom several works were exposed and who always enjoyed the favor of the city's critics. The different one was Picasso, who was called by the nickname of "the diabolical" and whose scenery for the ballet "Parade" was beginning its long journey across Spain. Taking advantage of this pleasant coincidence of two related spirits, a banquet was offered, in which the third honoured person was Gustavo, who in Estanislao Maria's words, had "obtained a real success" with his exhibition. Back to Bilbao in August, revolution is in the air, and Maeztu "takes once more his old gun out of the cupboard, wrapped in a sheet of The Riot". In his workshop of Orueta street, a group of friends gather, and after warming up with wine, decide to take the barracks of San Francisco.
Massip, Ramón López Chico, Murciano (advertiser of "The Sun") and other important persons participate at "the secret committee" , of whom Estanislao does not give any kind of reference. While they were assaulting in revolutionary committees, "Gustavo continues to avoid the ball, as if he tried to make a corner". Maeztu appears to us more and more high and subtle in his ideas, but somewhat unsteady, insecure and fearful in his actions, with the whole shame and the intimate bitterness that accompanies this contradictory unfolding. We stand in front of a Gustavo who seems to us a sort of Tartarin, Alfonso Daudet's character, half Sancho, half Quixote, his persona simbolizing modern man.
London. 1918 - 1922
Bilbao gradually leads our artist to a great disappointment. He says he believes that this city makes everything look less valuable than it really is, and is conscious of the fact that there he's unable to sell his paintings because "this is not my kingdom, here art is hardly understood". Maeztu does not take part in the Exhibition of Spanish Art that was inaugurated on April 12 at the Petit Palais of Paris, where the Basque Artists' Association was invited. Not it did not also come to the exhibition that was celebrated in Saragossa between May 20 and June 22 Maeztu embarked in a new adventure, a new significant trip for his artistic chore. Tired of Bilbao, he takes his things and most of his works to London, a city with which he is fully identified . While in Paris he learned very little, this won't happen in London, where he arrives in full ripeness and with lucid conscience of what he is looking for.
Gustavo goes full of enthusiasm to England, feeling attuned with the kind people he considers to be charming, arriving after a period of dangerous despondency and sadness. There he will meet with characters like the drunkard, the tavern owner, the owner of the caffe, similar to the ones he found in Spain, "naif in developping their brutality". However, he won't feel the same towards politicians, whom he considered to be most disgusting. In London Gustavo will live in Chelsea, on Cheyne Walk street n° 62, where he establishes his house and workshop. The success obtained by selling his work will allow him to enjoy a pretty agreeable life, becoming a bon vivant. While in Paris he visited all the museums, in London he went to all the bars, never forgetting the art galleries, where he copied two of his newly discoveried artists, Reynols and Van Dyck. In Paris he had looked for help, a reference to his new born artistic criterion. In London he decides to dig deeper into life's knowledge, always searching for a cosmopolitanism necessary for a new kind of painting..
He makes an exhibition at the Grafton Galleries from December 6 until December 30, 1919, 147 works altogether, between oils and drawings. At the exhibition he took the spectator on a wide trip through the sceneries and the people of the peninsula. From Andalusia to the Basque Country, from Estremadura to Aragon. The most outstanding works were "Flora", "The Samaritan women", "The fiancés of Voice Mediano", "Sibyl of the love", "Eve" and the "Iberia", triptych which would remain together with other two pictures women at the Spanish London Center, in Cavendish Square. In Chelsea, the artists' neighborhood, Gustavo will drown his evenings' blues in whisky, or going to Picadilly, Hyde Park or spending the nights at Ciro's Club, (whose atmosphere will be reflected in one of his paintings), at Covent Garden, Hydemarket or the Savoy; places destined for the elegant and well-off classes..
It was not isolated in London, was receiving frequent visits of his friends of Spain, as that of Alejandro de la Sota or that of Félix Ortíz. Having Maeztu for dinner in the Coffee Royal with Alejandro de la Sota, between confessions, he was recognized to be in love. Gustavo drinks " to his last fat woman, for his love " and in a rise of sincerity he confesses that it is inspired love and cries distressed while some " lagrimones enormous fall down in his glass, it always empties ". In spite of the affectionate displeasures, Maeztu does and works tirelessly, managing to make his vision more delicate, starting modifying the scales of his painting. If in Paris we were speaking about Anglada Camarasa, now in London it is necessary to repair in Wistler, the American painter. But it is not the form the one that him influences, but his atmospheric principios, insuflados to his own sensibility. Wistler possesses (in his work) a poetical, musical aspect, the color will not depend on visual impressions, but he will acquire an arbitrary value, which catches the moment of harmony between the individual and the world. The color in Wistler is not visual, but poetical, allusive, full of spiritual meanings and vaguely symbolically..
Another affinity with the painter will be in the admiration that they feel for the painting of Turner: his lyricism colourist and his chromatic musicality. For Maeztu, with Turner it begins the modern painting. One of the critics most distinguished from Great Britain, P. G. Konody was writing in the Sunday newspaper " The Observer ", the most influential of England, a critique on the exhibition of Maeztu in Grafton Galleries. It will centre his remarks on the ethnic elements that demonstrate his pictures, something that will prevent him from realizing a universal painting that could " manage to affect the humblest hearts of the world. This critique, which was stressing terms as " basque painter ", "castillaine" was going against his artistic aspiration now centred on the conviction of which the one who continues only the tradition of his country, kills the language of his sensibility..
It is, in the German house of Hapenrodd, place Picadilly where it was possible to eat very cheaply, where it appreciates the mystery of the oriental ones, observing on the whole movement of his eyes that transmit a full language of tones, indication of an interior life. The subject-matter, of the Chinamen, personages sugerentes, placed in the margins of the reality and the daydream, they will leave deep trace in the hasty spirit of our painter. Personages of whom at the cost of entering, digressing and observing, it will manage to appropriate. The Chinamen of Maeztu are the loaders of the port of Liverpool, of adventurous ships of many sails; the trashumantes of Picadilly; the Chinese jongleurs of long pigtail, which show themselves in the stages; the Chinamen hieráticos of the sordid smoking-rooms of opium. Roving and mysterious Chinamen who share with the Jews and the gypsies, the puzzler of the dispersed races, without cradle or mother land..
From February 2 until February 17, 1920, it will exhibit in Walker's Galleries, in n ° 118 of New Bond Street, of London. It was showing a collection of paintings, pastries and drawings, in a whole of 57. Between the oils his picture appears for the first time " Pierrot in the bar " and one of his emblematic works: " The night muse ". What turns out to be important in the exhibition is that we are before pictures with Spanish subject-matter, with predominance of the sceneries. Something that, on the contrary, does not happen in his pastries or drawings, where they are more the portraits realized to his resident friends in London or studies of nudes, sceneries or other figures, all this with a strong presence of Spanish motives. The victory obtained in London, will lead him to exhibiting for other points of the geography of Great Britain. In February, 1920 he installed his pictures in the Municipal Museum of Sheffield, in " Mappin Art Gallery ", invited by the conservative of the museum. During March, the same pictures were exposed in the Municipal Museum of Leed, where it was invited by the director of the above mentioned museum. And in April, he was acceding to the same invitation of the director of the Municipal museum of Hull..
The press and great part of the critique, there detained his attention in his work, dedicating him flattering comments, especially The Outlook, The Observer and The Challenger, reproducing periodic this one the picture " The force ", in which the interest of the critique centered. In London he will gather new types and new sceneries, for then, later and in the placidity of his study, it to go on to the linen and to recreate all that caught in the first lines. In his album of drawings it was noting down the colors that were corresponding to every part, the effects of lights that it had to apply depending of the day, to dawn, full light, west. Then in his study it was allowed to guide of his fantasy and was creating beautiful colors overcoming the reality. It was working his pictures as novelist, noting down ideas that then it needed to develop, to adorn to construct a history. Maeztu finished many of those first works in the distance of his study of Bilbao. It is as if it had a need to drift apart from the motive for outlining the obtained sensations again and produce a piece of news, it acts..
Maeztu returns of more stabilized London, with a more serene skill and a more sharp sensibility. For Alejandro de la Sota, Gustavo has reached his summit, he even considers his painting with more force than that of Zuloaga, overcoming superficiality, going deeply into the character of the personages. It begins now for our artist a period of splendour, of recognition of his quality and of his prestige, on everything out of the Basque Country.
Paris, Gernika, Madrid, Amsterdam. 1922 - 1925
After his sojourn in London, Gustavo moves, in May 1922 to Paris to show his works. The elected place they are the Galleries Devambez, at n ° 43 of Boulevard Malesherves. He had brought a large catalogue made at the typographical workshops of a Basque Publishing house, in Bilbao. There he gathered selected pictures of his, together a large number of texts, all of which except a text written by Valle-Inclán (of the exhibition in Madrid of the A.A.V. of 1916), translated to French, all the rest they are extracts in English of the critiques received during his London long journey.
The exhibition was divided into subsections formed by sceneries, portraits and pictures of composition, with a whole of 33 paintings and 38 drawings. It was showing, between another, his pictures "The" and force "The order", which got the biggest praises for his intellectual quality and his thin rebelliousness. Also they were, his recent one "Pierrot in the bar", "Evening party", "Figures of club", "Oriental woman", "Andalusia", "The fiancés of Vozmediano", "Passion", "Figures of circus", "Partner of Apaches". The specializing press will praise his sceneries considering Gustavo to be an admirable interpreter so much of the exterior and static world, as of his own interior world. And the fact is that as José Francés will say, all his pictures of composition are painted on sceneries, which Gustavo can be served. " They go in harmony with the idea that on them the living personages have to represent, already in opposition and contrast of the same one in order that the work turns out to be more dramatic ".
The exhibition, which lasted twenty-five days, suffered from a beginning of absence of preparation and especially of propaganda, motive for that one did not give him the importance of which it had become deserving. The absence of publicity did that the articles of press that were referring to the sample were going out in the diaries parisinos when it is already he had concluded. The press of Madrid did to itself echo of the event and of the defeat of the same one but not for the work of the artist as we have seen, praised for the public of Paris, but for the absence of support of the official Spanish organisms in the capital of the Seine and for the absence of Spanish publicity abroad. Once again light is in the city and once again it obtains little of her. Maybe the only thing that it motivated him was the Exhibition of Colonial French Art that was celebrated in the same dates. The masks Cabagny and the sculptures Dogon, his archaism and his spirituality will catch him, acquiring several of these works that they will hang on his study serving as complement to his Chinese Chinese lanterns.
On September 10, 1922 there was inaugurated in Guernica the congress III of the Society of Basque Studies. The two previous ones had been celebrated in Oñate in 1918 and in Pamplona in 1920. This third congress was under the guidance of Julio Urquijo and Ángel Apraiz, professor of History of the Art of the University of Barcelona. Owing to the same one there was realized an exhibition of suits of the Country and other one of Fine arts that painting, sculpture and engraving was including, being celebrated from September 10 until September 17 in the residence of the Parents Agustinos of the town of Guernica. Since it was logical for his prestige, in the exhibition and in his organization, it informed Artists' Vascos Association, in collaboration also with the meeting of the Museum of Fine arts. Gustavo de Maeztu was contributing to the exhibition of Guernica 6 pictures, between them his more than recent work " Basque Ground ", as she was turning out to be now titled by the press. Maeztu, inside his way of investigation of technical piece of news, wanted to associate this work with a knowledgeable man of a rather forgotten secular office. It was a question of uniting the whole work, linen and frame inside a symbolic unit.
For it it resorted to the use of the gilding and of the embossed one of the leather, to the skill of the guadamecí of Cordoba, " that the indolent hand of the Omeya fogueó in arabesques ". This work thought like reredos (the press of Madrid that gathered on his pages the event was speaking about a reredos " that represents the religious spirit of the Country "), it had just consisted in Gustavo's study in the first days of September, 1922, with what it was presented like primicia in the Congress. We can consider Gustavo's triptych to be the most covetous painting of the exhibition. In words of Zuazagoitia it was necessary to celebrate the return of the painting to the wall in order that the allegories could have width and resonance, something that Gustavo needed in his paintings. Now his clear tendency is demonstrated in pos of the great art, jumping from the trestle to the wall, approaching increasingly his longed sleep of the wall painting.
The creative, ambitious and forceful spirit of Maeztu, it needed to include unpublished courses. Every day was attracting a new emulation, which throughout this summer demonstrated in the reredos. What fence is Maeztu of extracting his works on the outside, of endowing to his art of social content and therefore, making it pregnant with significances!. As it, this work as previous others, it has something of blind person's cartel, though more elaborate and ennoblecido. Conceived the triptych in three panels, the head office eternizes to a few rowers, flanked by another two minor panels, " that are two theories of imploring ", promoting for the skirts of two hills crowned by footpaths churches or chapels. It was usual for Gustavo to comment on a phrase of the German philosopher Niezsche who was saying: " The Sun, on having hidden itself in the limit of the sea, it does that the humblest fisherman reme with golden oars ". the philosophy of the picture is inside this phrase.
The central linen is composed by a few seaworthy rowers, crewing a longboat. In words of Basterra, " it is one of the pieces of painting euskalduna, in that there are accused more bravely the characteristics of the northern painting. It is painted to rhythmic whacks of passionate heart. The energy in which those men of the oar superabound breathes hard in magnetic looks and a torrent overflowing with vigorous singings. It is, undoubtedly this triptych, one of the most considerable products of the school euskalduna ". Later, the triptych, it was exposed to the public of Bilbao in the lounge of acts of the Philharmonic one during November, already with the title of "Basque, lyric Ground and religion". The triptych was bought by the Meeting of Basque Culture. On June 25 the work was remaining located in the palace of the Deputation of Biscay, in one of the galleries of the second flat. After a few years of absence, Gustavo de Maeztu was exhibiting again in Madrid. This time was doing it in the museum of Modern Art, during June and July. Illustrating the exhibition, Gustavo gave a conference in the exhibition hall of the museum under the title of " Fantasy on the Chinamen ".
Maeztu autorretrataba pessimist with regard to the literary and artistic future of Spain. It was lacking the worry, imagination, the struggle, considering that in the country there were much few people capable of dying of famine for an aesthetic idea. He was beginning in absence, in Madrid, a newspaper that was contributing new panache, which a novel creed was trying to impose opposite to a poor and depressed panorama. At the end of his speech it shows us a beam of hope: " Let's work, let's dream and let's live through our life as it is planned, a bit vagabond, by snatches make happy, by snatches melancholy ". One of the illusions of Gustavo, on having come to London, had been to reach and to take hold of a new painting removed from concepts intellectual and more opened for conceptions, where it was giving priority to the emotion. This way, from this perspective, the skill was turning into a way to look for a purpose. It is undoubted that to achieve the emotion in the painting, one needs of the technical boasting and is undeniable that this condition was possessing Maeztu. This way it will be appreciated in the set of works that it was presenting in Madrid, henchidas of skill and emotion, though the first one, it was hiding itself carefully, to leave the position to the second one. The best example us offers his picture " Pierrot in the bar " painted the previous year in London, emotive picture and of an evident skill.
Maeztu was exposing now the paintings on the Chinamen, who so powerfully called his attention. With scientific obstinacy he explored his oriental friends up to penetrating in his character, and patiently of wise person he conquered the resistance of a few refractory peoples to any luck of intimacy. Maezti's Chinese are probably the most difficult portraits. Their faces show the harship they go through, as well as the cruelty together with the wisdom that can be found in that country's provergs, as Ramón Gomez de la Serna said. aIn this exhibition it presented his sceneries: " Flatness of Castrojeriz ", " To get dark in Labastida " and " Corner of Oñate ", offering the vision of Castile as Maeztu understood it. In these pictures there was imposed the placidity of the funds, this so typical serenity of the second terms in his work. Another work that it was excelling for his descriptive configuration will go for title: " A high place in Sierra Morena ". Love is necessary to join the previous ones " in the bar ", " Figures of circus " and " Night Cafetín ”.
Close to the collection of oils it was showing a wide repertoire of drawings, where it was synthesizing the same characteristics of his pictures: the architectural thing and the decorative thing, giving to the set an outsider mixes of vigor and of serenity, of academicism and even of incorporations cubists. Between his drawings they were standing out: " Pierrot ", " Frightfulness to the war ", " The woman of the ", sea " The lady of target ", " The beauty and the desire ", " Poets ", " night Muse ", " Don Juan " and " Colts ". On February 9, 1924 it was inaugurating a new exhibition in Madrid in the Lounge Nancy, placed in n ° 40 of San Jerónimo's Career. It was presenting a whole of 18 works, of which six were portraits and rest of sceneries of the province of Santander, between which they were standing out " A landing in the fog " and what it will name the press, " his chromatic fantasies ", as for example, the picture " Fantasy on my cat ". A few days before the closing ceremony he added another qualified work " Architect's portrait ". To the act of opening there came numerous personalities, between which there were the ambassador of Holland, don Indalecio Prieto, Margarita Nelken, Alcántara, Vegué, José Francés, Méndez Casal, Vázquez Díaz and diverse critics and artists.
Again in Bilbao, from August 27 until September 15, Gustavo de Maeztu will expose in the room of Artists' Vascos Association a sample of Basque, sceneries Catalan and Castilian, painted during the recent spring, in addition to a collection of figures of Chinese personages. Soon, on October 25, in the capital of Biscay there was made a reality a long project caressed by Gustavo and all the members of the Association: the opening of the museum of Modern Art of Bilbao. The museum had three rooms, not very spacious and an office for his director, the painter Aurelio Arteta. This museum, which was born with vocation of contemporaneousness, took as a challenge to support a determined preference to the schools of avant-garde and prior attention to the artists of the country., of whom it would try to have collections more possible compline. This way, in the walls of his rooms, they were hanging the pictures of Regoyos, Iturrino, Arrúe, Maeztu, (" The blind person of Calatañazor "), Uzelai, Tellaeche, Echevarria, Arrúe and in his shop windows, there were exposed Ricardo Arrúe's enamels and works of gold work of Paco Durrio. The sculpture was represented by Nemesio Mogrovejo's bust.
Scarcely begun the year 1925, we are occupied Maeztu in other one of his European adventures. Invited by the director of the Municipal Museum of Amsterdam, mister Beard, it exposes a collection of pictures and of drawings, 60 pieces, in his room of honor. In Gustavo's words this one was " one of the most beautiful municipal museums of the world ". The exhibition obtained success of critique and of selling. For the particular gallery of Mr. Mensing, manager of the House Muller, the house of the big deals of pictures of the epoch, were acquired the pictures " Horses in the Mediterranean ", " Fog in the Barquera " and " Twilight in the Scale ". Besides, after his closing ceremony on February 8, there was invited to expose in April, for the Municipal Museum of Arnhen, small people placed to the shores of the Rhine. If Gustavo was feeling London as an extension of his personality, the Dutch city will fascinate him. In these crossroads of the world along which persons were circulating with all kinds of physiognomies, floods of picturesqueness, it was where it was really obsessed by the " Smile stereotyped of the Chinaman and the mobility of his eyes. What sense does the smile of a Chinaman have? Does he laugh, despises, hates or pretends? ".
Back to house, in September, it will be invited together with a wide number of artists, to exhibit in the Holidays Eúskaras de Fuenterrabía, organized by the Town hall of this city. aThe Exhibition of Fine arts remained installed in seven rooms of the school of Viteri, they received a whole of seventy eight pictures, nineteen caricatures, thirty eight photography, twelve sculptures, thirty two planes and elevations of architecture and several caricatures of wood. There were taking part in the exhibition the brothers Zubiaurre, Ignacio Zuloaga, Ricardo Baroja, Errazquin, Zabala, Tellechea, Beobide, Olasagasti, Vázquez Díaz, Bienabe Artía, Uranga, Red, Good, Kaperotxipi, Mounts Utirrioz, Landy, Zamorano, " Krito " and others. Gustavo de Maeztu presented the only one work to the contest that was going for title: " The mill of Harlem ", it works that it evokes us the works initiated in Holland. The critique did not get with taste this piece for the fact of not considering the picture as of the most typical of the artist. In the room n ° 4 were exposing the works of the cartoonists keen of the photography. The cartoonist Krito was presenting several images of important personages, one of them, was reflecting his Gustavo's particular vision.
Thanks to the friendship that Manuel Angoso and his family was supporting with the salmantino and to his relation with Villalobos, whom it met in Madrid, Gustavo de Maeztu, it will exhibit during January, 1926 in the Casino of Salamanca. In the city of Lazarillo, the exhibition established itself in the noble lounge of the principal flat of the Casino. The lounge had made up with bargueños, picturesque cloths, old carpets of Cantalapiedra, comfortable chairs of leather of Cordova and ancient flowerpot holders yielded by don Manuel Angoso,don Angel Vázquez de Parga and don Alberto Losada, between others. In this ambience it exposed a whole of 24 pictures, between oils and drawings, where he was gathering almost like in a retrospective a great part of his production.
Besides, the exhibition was showing in an almost didactic way his trajectory and his influences. That of Anglada Camarasa was clear in the picture "Encarna". The Italian influence could be appreciated in true measure and abstinence of backgrounds. His qualities as drawer, in the notes of "Juan García" and "Andrés García Angoso". Works already known by the Spanish public as "Two friends going to the Strand", "Encarna", "Three friends", "Remedies", "Vicente", "Study for portrait", "decorative Study", "Elizabeth Queen", a copy of the painter Van Dyck, "The man of Castile", "The one with the white shawl", "Joshe Mari" a Basque sailor, "City Rodriga, quarter of the tannings", "African partners", "Happiness at the bar", "Juan Carlos", "Old attorney", which was a study for the painting "Frightfulness for war", "The Vozmediano fiancés", "don Juan García's Portrait" and "Don Andrés García Angoso's portrait". The presence of all these works and the scarcity of qualified artistic manifestations at the city's university motivated, a salmantine newspaper, "the Regional Gazette", to initiate a round of opinions by different personalities of its cultural circles.
Gustavo was presented in Salamanca by the press as a species of "Glober Trotter". He is of the skin of the devil this so comprehensive and so good man. A species of fantastic man who paints a picture, writes a drama and Regina de Madrid disappears of the patio of the Coffee or of the Boulevard of Bilbao. Two, three months we all wonder for the darling Gustavo.A postcard nervously written in the covering of a ship, or in a Russian, German or Flemish city, tells us to the end his adventures, trots and retreat. For the Town Counsell architect, Ricardo Pérez Fernández, Gustavo de Maeztu, was a painter of modern tendencies, who faces the Nature to interpret it to his way, as she remains recorded in the sensibility of his spirit. Hence his interest for the interpretation that it does of the native, whom he considers of eminently decorative value. As example of this, his pictures "African" and Partner "Three friends"; you act where the figures stay in the first term drawn almost in plane and cut away in dark tones, on the luminously uniform repicture of the fund. These sudden contrasts of the color in two terms of the picture, this is what will produce for Pérez Fernández the decorative effect.
The entire city was revolutioned by the exhibition, turning it into the first artistic holiday of some importance that had taken place in Salamanca up to that moment. On the other hand, the only painter over there was Celso Lagar, but due to his ultramodern artistic tendencies, he lacked prestige in the intellectual circles of the city. Overcome this travelling period, where it shows his works for the Spanish geography, will spend the summer of 1926, in the beautiful French city of Anglet, in the beautiful farm that it took as a name " Etete Maríe ".Here it stopped painting his pictures " The hunter of Baigorri " and " Snack of funeral ", celebrating the barnizaje of the same ones by means of the organization of a holiday which the consuls of Spain attended in Bayonne and Hendaya close to other personalities of the Spanish colony. Finished the year, in December, Gustavo will carry out an exhibition in his study of the street Orueta, where it teaches, but more to the friends than to the public, the set of almost all his work.
La Camorra Dormida. 1927
Two events are going to involve Gustavo during 1927. One will be the resignation of Aurelio Arteta as the director of the museum of Modern Art of Bilbao. The other, the homage to the painter Adolfo Guiard. He took part in the first one (though only with his assistance), in the trubute paid as well as the apology given by the artists and some other people from Bilbao's society. In the second one, nevertheless, he was an active part in the backstage of the party through the making of the settings that adorned the lounges of the Carlton Bilbao hotel. In a letter dated February 3, Aurelio Arteta resigned his director's position, due to the complaints raised by diverse municipal authorities in the debates of the budgets, concerning the functioning of the museum and leaving doubts about Arteta 's activity as the director, as well as his artistic criterion in the acquisition of artworks, since he was accused not so much of the quality of the acquired works, but of favoring his friends.
This resignation was transported by the withdrawn one of Gregorio Ibarra, Alejandro de la Sota, Ricardo de Gortazar and Joaquín de Zuazagoitia, vocal representatives of the Town hall in the Meeting of the Patronage of the museum. To these resignations there were added those of Antonio de Guezala, Antonio de Larrea and José Félix de Lequerica, members of the Deputation in the Meeting of the museum. The painter, in his oration defended two values that it was considering to be aggrieved parties. One the enthusiasm, the love to Bilbao of the persons who had represented to the Corporations in the Meeting of the museum.Another value, which he was considering to be despised and offended was that of the Basque artists. Artists who with his " strong personality have achieved that the name of Bilbao registers also in the high zones of the art ". A few days later, and in the same stage, the homage took place to the painter Adolfo Guiard, who was serving besides to support Aurelio Arteta's resignation. On February 21, the entrance hall of the hotel turned out to be transformed by the sets realized by a group of painters: Guezala, Urrutia, Uzelai, Gustavo de Maeztu and the musician Jesús Guridi, all members of Artists' Vascos Association.
But the elegant celebration was criticized for not adjusting to the modest spirit of Guiard. The holiday, in the end, turned into a meeting of the from Bilbao high society. The success of the holiday would motivate a homage to the same Artists' Vascos Association, which was celebrated on May 31, taking the hotel Carlton as a stage, again. The performance of the "Kakewalk" would repeat itself and Gustavo de Maeztu would give a musical lecture under the title " Of the habanera to Black Botton ". Maeztu was not trying itself to laugh at the public or to doing to this one a prank with the complicity of the same one. After the postwar period, the European continent was invaded by one it continues current of songs, rhythms and dances proceeding from the American continent. From another side of the Atlantic Ocean they came the jazz, Fox Trot, the Are-Stop,the Two and also the " exciting percussion " of the bolero and the rumba. Rhythms that were coming to replace what it even was dominating in Spain: the slow waltz, the polka and the variety song that still pervivirán. They were Latin-American and African American rhythms, which route Paris, followers preserved, as Fox Trot, up to the times of the Republic.
During these twenties, in which Maeztu ambienta his conference, the Charleston and the Shimny were competing in Spain with the rumba and the provocative bolero. After the summer period, in October, Gustavo was teaching again the suggestions and impressions of his last trip across an exhibition of his linens. The sample of the same ones was inaugurated on the 28th, being part of the cycle of winter exhibitions organized by Artists' Vascos Association. Maeztu, had been in Venice and later in Galician grounds though proving to be nothing more than the sceneries and types of Galicians. Everything what his eyes saw he put on the cloth. But in this particular case, far from the mistifications of his former work. Of the circa thirty exhibited works, Fernando de Murga emphasized the " Nocturne at the Miño ", of a slightly dull reality " together with the blue one that seemedto be diluted and gave a feeling of well achieved plasticity, the color of the river and the poplars that surrounded its banks shone with indelible traces ". Gustavo had overturned in these pictures all his enthusiasm, which in the opinion of the critic, had led him to rubbing the originality.
Other pictures of the exhibition were taking for title " To get dark in the cathedral of Tuy " and " Fuenterrabía from the Bidasoa " that, removed from the previous subject-matter it had already figured in other exhibitions of Maeztu. From figurative subject-matter they were distinguishing the pictures " Woman of the Miño ", a study of qualified head " Remedies " and " Pipers of Pontevedra ". Connecting with the subject-matter of his conference of May and his cosmopolitan slope, in the room there was exposed the picture " Black idyll "., he reminds to a musician of jazz, her to Josefina Baker, that African American star that with his "Revue Negre" conmocionó to the Paris of 1925. A ballerina of asexual body who was crossing the streets of the French capital in a car Voisin of the color of his skin, with the interior lined with skin of snake, always accompanied of his Eskimo white dog, which was taking the trace of his kiss in the head.
In one year as active as this one, Gustavo is going to publish, after a long parentheses, a new book, with enough biographical connotations, which it will take for title " The asleep Fight ", edited in Madrid for the Publishing house Calpe, on November 21. In the covering of the book there appears a relation of works written by the author. You act rarely encontrables in the libraries and except someone, not so at least mentioned by the own Maeztu in the diverse interviews realized during these years. Such a quantity of qualifications they make us think about a complementarity about the facets of painter and writer. But we believe rather that it departs from these books they stayed in projects, or in completed works that probably were not taken to the printing by dissatisfaction of the own artist or were pushed back by the publishing houses, something not difficult of believing, bearing in mind the quality of the literature that in these years was practised.Turning a few pages behind of this book, during his exhibition of Salamanca, Gustavo was complaining to the interviewer about how his dramas " Rembrandt " and " Cagliostro " the only thing that they had brought him was to lose great part of the money that was winning with the painting. It did not have the fortune to which he could aspire following the lead of his friend Ricardo Baroja, great painter and award Cervantes of literature.
If in painting his monumentalidad was imputed, not both of conception and of interpretation, the same thing will happen to him with his dramas unrepresentable by the same extension and complexity.This critique and knowing a new world, to which inevitably we saw him exposed for his way of counting in painting, is what led to him to writing this pamphlet where it rushes forth at the world of the actors, authors, businessmen and decorators which it defines as a " asleep fight ", picturesque and entertaining world which study, not everything analytical not deep that had to, " has distracted my emulations of the latter times in which for diverse causes I have remaining removed from the literary world ". Other pictures of the exhibition were taking for title " To get dark in the cathedral of Tuy " and " Fuenterrabía from the Bidasoa " that, removed from the previous subject-matter it had already figured in other exhibitions of Maeztu. From figurative subject-matter they were distinguishing the pictures " Woman of the Miño ", a study of qualified head " Remedies " and " Pipers of Pontevedra ".
Connecting with the subject-matter of his conference of May and his cosmopolitan slope, in the room there was exposed the picture " Black idyll "., he reminds to a musician of jazz, her to Josefina Baker, that African American star that with his "Revue Negre" conmocionó to the Paris of 1925. A ballerina of asexual body who was crossing the streets of the French capital in a car Voisin of the color of his skin, with the interior lined with skin of snake, always accompanied of his Eskimo white dog, which was taking the trace of his kiss in the head. In one year as active as this one, Gustavo is going to publish, after a long parentheses, a new book, with enough biographical connotations, which it will take for title " The asleep Fight ", edited in Madrid for the Publishing house Calpe, on November 21. In the covering of the book there appears a relation of works written by the author. You act rarely encontrables in the libraries and except someone, not so at least mentioned by the own Maeztu in the diverse interviews realized during these years.
Gustavo counts in the preface of the book, how his intention was that of that the prologue was the inclusion of the drama " Cagliostro ", thanks to which it discovered the world of the fight, word that translated from Italian to the Castilian means intrigue. And sleep, because the mobile one of the small trouble-maker, to which he despises Maeztu (not this way to the heroine), is always the economic one. " The asleep fight is, in the spiritual waters of the theater, a monstrous bank with more particles of sawdust than of sand, but to the end, dense wall, that everything pulverizes it with his shock ". This book of comments, since Gustavo names it, was initiated along his stay in Venice and finished in Tuy, in the shade of Mrs Urraca's castle. The press of Madrid at once did to itself echo of his appearance and the diary " The Liberal one " will receive it with the forceful title of: " bomb goes! ", faithful response to the explosive image that of the artist was had. It was receiving the book with the onlooker's epithets, lively, regocijante, composed by the " collaboration of the ingenuousness with the genius of the spirit ”. In Bilbao, on the pages of " The Basque People ", there was gathered the opinion of the newspaper of Madrid, since the novel still they had not received it.
Las encáusticas 1928 - 1929
1928 is going to be one year especially intensely in the not bland at all one to exist of the painter. After beginning, on January 4, Artists' Vascos Association was celebrating his 2nd Social Holiday in the places of the hotel from Bilbao Carlton. Due to the obtained success, on January 2 Alejandro de la Sota was donated in the hotel Torróntegui in gratitude to the holidays that he organized and to the demonstrated support. The banquet was offered by Gustavo de Maeztu, in representation of the Association and for Mario Ugarte of the group "Orientate" On January 12, in Vitoria, his Town hall was producing homage to Ramiro de Maeztu, in the hotel Pediment, as tax of his countrymen to the recently named ambassador in Argentina. To the same one there came his mother, his sister Maria and Gustavo. For Gustavo, this celebration supposed the reunion with the first days of his life. Changing impressions with an intimate friend it was telling him that his absence " was not a negligence of his cradle, but pressing need of the life and the art ".
As testimony of this was saying to be painting a picture of matter vitoriano, in whose fund was the old cathedral and whose destination was the lounge of a rich from Bilbao owner. Gustavo was promising for little assembling his best pictures and to offer them for an exhibition in the School of Arts and Offices of Vitoria. on Saturday, March 17, in the entrance hall of the School of Arts and Offices, at twelve o'clock at midday the exhibition was inaugurated with assistance of a nourished group of friends. Two days previous, in the " Herald Inhabitant of Alava " Ramiro de Maeztu's articles sent from Buenos Aires had been published sendos. Maybe this was the motive of that the same newspaper was announcing the sample as " Exhibition Ramiro de Maeztu ". In a letter that he writes to his sister Maria way of Seville communicates to him his close step for cardinal making him a participant of his great obtained sleep: " I have revived and applied the painting to the encáustica, which they made the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Romans, of great utility for the set in the big surfaces of cement ". His target in Seville, as later in Madrid and San Sebastian, it was to show his technical piece of news to the architects, looking for a collaboration that later it will raise in his conferences and writings in search of a social art influenced by Aurelio Arteta's opinions.
After Seville, Gustavo will not stop travelling. On June 8, he was writing again to his sister Maria. This time does from Avila, from the coffee The Friendship, in the Saint's Square Teresa. In the same one, he jokes on the photo appeared in the magazine "Stamps", where " the photographer has removed you some months, I do not dare to say years ". Previously to his stay in the city of the walls it had realized during May a long jaunt for grounds of Estremadura where it elaborated diverse drawings and type water-colors and sceneries. This travelling intensity had left him once again without a cent: " This night I go to the mother nest where I will be several months, since neither of this struggle nor Voronof he arranges my summer. Such is my state of balance ". Balance from which up to a point it would save the definitive decision thought by the Town hall of Vitoria to buy to him a picture. But the important and novel of this year, the fact is that in September it received the highest reward of the Contest of the Work and the Industrial Exhibition that organized by the Town hall and under the auspices of the Municipal Savings bank, was celebrated in Bilbao.
The award obtained by Gustavo was taking added the nice note given by his painter's condition. It owed to his invention of painting for frontages and surfaces outdoors, inalterably under the effects of the heat, fruit of long investigations and tests, which it had already presented previously, in March, in the Palace of Ancient Fine arts of Seville. From his stay Parisian we were already guessing that Maeztu was exposed towards the skill of the mural, but evidently and considering his worries, he had to look for a new formula that was guaranteeing his survival. With inquisitive emulation he was wondering why the prehistoric paintings had resisted to the action destroyer of the time or why the centuries did not erase the embellishment of the Golden door of Constantinople. It seems as if Gustavo knew it and wanted to reveal it to us by means of his experiments with the skill of the encaústica, art that already had no mysteries for him.
Gustavo not only was worrying for the painting in the wall, but also for his study, and the needs to know the virtues of the fire, to which it was providing with religious character on having considered it to be the creative and eternal, revolutionary element, feeling special attraction for the skills of the ceramics. Attraction that was coming to him of his juvenile years, influenced by the works of his great friend Paco Durrio. Thanks to his patient investigations, in which the fire is a fundamental part, it achieved that it was possible to do on the stone without the elements were never managing to erase it. Gustavo says to us that " opposite to the chemistry of the oven, the humid route is for the experimentation. There existed a magic formula that the sorcerer and the necromancer instead of spreading, were concealing carefully, because the culture needs hierarchy and gradation. The transmission of the secret was interrupted sometimes, because the sorcerer, burned was taking it to him to another world ". As if it was faithful to this tradition, maybe they were penetrated to some favorite disciple, it did not leave written steadfastness of his investigations.
Arderius, the ceramist of his novel " Mister Doro " was saying that every ceramic one was dying with his secrets and in every epoch the man who loved the holiday of the color, the industry had to be created he informs only for him:" All the they would give tasty the life to read this brief. The half of the book they are formulae of chemistry, combinations of the nitroglycerine and of the tulminato of mercury; the rest they are annotations on the temperatures of the oven; I do not lack already any more than the red ones of copper ". To speak about the ceramics in Gustavo's work is not slightly astray. It could have been, if we judge for his oils, a great ceramist; there was guessed in the oils a love suppressed by the ardent interior colorations, which leaves the focus in the grounds that happened for the flame. It seems, really, in not few ceramics, that the flame stayed partly there, curdled, flaming in diverse moments, throwing from the internal of his color another different and burning flash. In the oils of Maeztu it happens that: his figures refulgen in the shade and inside a green or the purple one, there gleams an igneous resplendence of the potter who, on having done, was thinking about his oven.
To divide of now Gustavo will dedicate part of his not alone time to realizing projects with his technical piece of news, but also, to spreading it by means of conferences that allow him to expose his investigations. One of these divulgative meetings took place in the Architects' Association of Madrid, situated in the street Pious Prince, n ° 1610. Pero Gustavo will not limit himself to exposing his ideas, during the conference there were realized diverse samples of the skill of the encaústicas. If the mural, especially from the painting of the big Mexican artists, Siqueiros and Orozco, acquired a social tone, this element is not situated in the worries of Maeztu, anxious to demonstrate anything that was beating in his painting and that was forcing him to look for the big spaces. This leads us to thinking that if his concept was not socializante yes it was taking implied the idea, (on the other hand Society of Artists Vascos presents in the manifests of so mentada), of beautification of the city. Also he was turning out to be bound to modify his concept of the picture. Here, in the wall, it was losing his entity as outlying element and was turning partly of an urban framework, for what his reading was losing literary and symbolic value to turn partly of a wider stage, in an object of purely decorative character.
His anxious, this spirit that we have qualified of humanist, comes here to his culmination: " it is always arranged to the imaginative troops of riders and the aesthetic adventures. It takes calm from him what it has just anticipated and says goodbye without weighing not even nostalgia of what it has obtained ". As an alchemist of those who illustrate his newspaper serials, it discovered a formula, a pictorial procedure of decoration on plates of artificial stone, it is which was his composition: uralita, cement, marble, I even shoe. But this had already been realized previously. His success, his philosopher's stone, will take root in having achieved that the harmful agents that could exist in the wall and therefore, commit an outrage against the conservation of the painting, will remain completely isolated of the plate in which the same one was worked. The advantage, of practical character, was doing that they were insensitive to the fire, to the water and to the dust. In the conference given before the architects on October 26 it carried out diverse practical experiences, using a blowpipe of three pressures, reaching temperatures from 800 ° up to 12.000 °, on plates of stone, iron and cement painted; being able to demonstrate, since the colors were lodging themselves in the matter in such a way that, they were remaining inalterable and permanent to the action of the air, the water, the dust and all all the agents could be harmful, avoiding the cuarteado and other alterations that could suffer the paintings.
On May 14, 1929 it was inaugurating in the room of the Cultural club Of Guipuzcoa, in San Sebastian, an exhibition of water-colors, drawings, projects of encaústi-cas, figuring a whole of thirty works. Between the presented projects San Sebastian was that of " to his queen ", of beautiful conception and correctly planned. I project to be realized to the encaústica, and that was adding others to himself that the city of San Sebastian, by means of collection, wanted to raise the queen Maria Cristina. But more importantly than the exhibition they were two conferences of didactic character that gave in the same lounge. On May 11, and presented as writer and painter for the director of the Cultural club, don Fermín Vega de Seoane, his first oration declared. Before entering matter, there was allowed a small qualified exordium " Negosios ", of humorous type, after which it proceeded to the historical study of the encáustica. He was proposing to speak about something considered wrapped in the mist of the past. In his he continued strolling for the world it had obtained practical results, penetrating for intuition in the secret of the ancient " not lyric daydreams, but rather of contractor ".
According to the exposition of Gustavo, the Greeks were the first ones in using the waxes in his multicolored ships to give to these and to the wood brightness and defense against the strange elements. The wax, which it preserves to the matters of all the alterations, is very sensitive to the water, and, nevertheless, the real painting to the encáustica is resistant to the fire, to the water and to the dust. It was continuing his historical oration speaking about the school of Alexandria, about his symbolism, about the wall paintings of the palace of the Betis, in Pompeii, which components were a glycerin, wax and a mysterious substance diluted in the silica of the wall. Also he spoke about the wall Spanish painting that it had seen in his trips for the Spanish geography, especially, of the Romanesque churches of Soria and Burgos. This, without forgetting to refer to the rock paintings of Altamira and France. There was adding Gustavo who in this country began the encáustica during the year 1848, to happen later to Spain in 1890, agreeing all that the wall excellent painting was the encáustica. Painting that besides was lacking big secrets, since it consists of the plotted one of the layers of color that is realized " is necessary, fatally, along meticulous operations ".
After working with the cement (ungrateful matter that throws constantly a grit of lime), had the suspicion that the secret of the resistance of the encáustica, against the written thing ancient and nowadays, was resting principally on the porosity of the wall, and this was what centred his works. Before going on to the practical part of the conference, Gustavo was ending for saying that, from hacía thirty years that the palette was handling, his worry had always been the same one: " that one that can be beautiful can be also eternal ". The exhibition that must be closed on May 21, had so much success, which had to be extended one more day and Gustavo turned out to be bound to do a new test on the 22nd, before a public composed by numerous architects, between whom there were Pavía and Aguirre, master builders. Also there was present in the room the Mayor of San Sebastian, mister Beguiristáin.
This time, it based his conference in giving technical explanations and details about the foundation of his discovery. He added to the previous thing, which only could have demonstrated the unalterability of his encáusticas to the fire; but since they were also unassailable to the moisture, he wanted bought - barlo practically, and for it, promised to send to mister Beguiristáin a few encáusticas done on stone in order that to place was ordering them and was leaving them in the open air in order to try like, neither the air nor the rain, nor the heat, it was changing them the most minimal thing was not even attacking them. Offering that was accepted by the Mayor and with which Gustavo was trying to demonstrate the excellences of his works, since in affirmative case it would have undoubted applications in the building and artistically, in the adornment of the frontages, monuments, etc. Expositions that will be the base of his ideas in the decade of the thirties.
1930 and 1931
The year 1930 and 1931, they will mean a strange parentheses in Gustavo's creative speech. Though, it will continue producing with intensity, it will do it in the shade of his study and obviating all that that around him was happening, impassively before the acts and exhibitions. More worried by his own challenges that for the opinion that in other these they could provoke. Nevertheless, considering the literary image that of Gustavo we have, would not be of more thinking that this man so inclined to the fantasies, " round since one drifts, cordial and of interrogating eyes that seem to be drawn by Baga --ría ”, it had made trip to Shanghai, in the distant China to achieve, that some small stone " makes love ".
As the ballerina Vaiolet was saying to him in London: " only the eyes of a small stone would raise the moss of your heart. You must go away to Shanghai ". But not everything is a literature. I am employed at the cinema. During 1930 it controls as environmental adviser of the movie " The Song of the day " the first sonorous Spanish movie rolled in English studies, produced by the architect don Saturnino Ulargui, known about Gustavo and whom it re-treated in 1924, movie directed by G.B. Samuelson. This cinematographic work will share it with the study of the skill of the engraving, his new artistic company. With this purpose, it will create in Toulouse a company of artistic editions that will go for name Gustavo-David in order to David Álvarez edits original drawings Gustavo's but recorded by the artist tolosarra. His first work was the achievement of two pictures worked on plates of zinc and thrown under the procedure of the dry top, and in special machines, to any color, in a limited edition and to the price each of 35 pesetas. The motives, they will go for title " Town of Ibarra " and " Dusk of Ibarra ".
Two engravings were realized on English special role and they would be distributed for Spain and America by the Publishing Society " Artistic Section Pedro Doussinague " of Toulouse. In 1931, the family will leave the house of the street Orueta, n ° 4. The housing, of three plants, was divided in three spaces. The first flat was receiving the Academy, the second one was serving as housing and in the third one Gustavo had his study. In addition to using the latter flat, in vacation it was using the court (where in school period the pupils were playing), to paint his works of great format. In the door of the street it was figuring a badge gilded with the name of Maeztu. As soon as the portal was penetrated, there were several pictures and in the stairs many more. The motive for the eviction notice of the housing they were the problems with Indalecio Prieto, to the ripeness, the director of " The Liberal one ", whose social domicile was done to him by neighbor of the family Maeztu.
The whole Gustavo's organization will be Mrs Juana, with whom it always proved to be very affectionate and flattering. In words of Venancio del Val, Mrs Juana " was an example of strong woman and of mother that it faced with valor the situation of the family when the economic mishap came to him ". With his attitude and his brave work, the freedom of choosing achieved that all the children owed to him the development of his vocations, ", the power to continue the vital impulse that was taking him to each one for a different footpath and always personalísimo ". In this new house, Gustavo had a room that was receiving the name of "Italian", in whom he installed his study. As books of head-board, in his small table it will have the so called catechism " Ascete " and the novel " Good Juanita ". That revolutionary and anticlerical of his first years, will continue now the steps of his brother Ramiro, turning in monarchic convinced. In June, 1931 it exposes fourteen works in the Palace of the Shots of Granada, works related to his new procedures of the encáustica and the lithography.
Lithographs and murals. 1932-1936
It will be necessary to wait until 1932, to see again his work exposed in Bilbao. It will take part in the Artists' Vascos second Exhibition celebrated in the museum of Modern Art of Bilbao, from May 15 until June 15, with Aurelio Arteta as the director and just person six years after the previous exhibition in the same museum. It will be the last time that we will find his name tied to this event, since it did not come already to celebrated in 1934. All the contemporary tendencies were turning out to be gathered in the sample, with a criterion of eclectic largeness. Gustavo was remaining relegated by the new generations of artists, more avant-gardists, with a completely new language and this it is reflected in the attention given by the juror, stopping with preference in the work of the last generation of painters.
Four very different painters were the prizewinners, though joined by the alienation of certain worries of his predecessors and a return, to reach the modernity, to the classic palette. It was a question of Aranoa, Urrutia, Tellaetxea and Olasagasti. Four artists who were exiling completely of his work the ethnographic worry that was limiting the production of artists as Lekuona or José Arrúe. Many people are the artists who came together with Gustavo, this one was exposing " Bizkaina de Zorrotza " (picture painted to the encáustica), contributing works, Domingo Aldasoro, Antequera Azpiri, the brothers Arrúe, the Navarrese ones Basiano, Javier Ciga, Crispín, Miguel Pérez Torres, that there got big praises for his picture " The harvester ", a jovencísima Carmen Gal, who was exhibiting for the first time with the Association, Gaspar Montes Iturrioz, Ascensio Martiarena, Jesús Olasagasti, Julián de Tellaetxe, Jenaro de Urrutia, Ramón de Zubiaurre, and others, coexisting artists dedicated close to new signatures. Nevertheless, the same criterion of selection provoked furious response of the group of new artists who remained excluded from the sample, accusing the organization of giving only entered to the well-known artists and requesting on having organized another new exhibition with the works pushed back in the same museum.
Voluntarily to the margin of these polemics, Maeztu centres his attention on a new experience for a long time worked, whose fruits it was going to pulsate in a sample with the one that comes to Madrid and that presents in the Circle of Fine arts at the end of July, 1932 (when the artistic period was finishing), exhibition composed by twenty lithographies and twelfth average of drawings. Nevertheless, it was not exhibiting only. He was sharing room with the Valencian painter Ruano Llopis who, it was showing a collection of oils relating to the bullfighting world, his speciality. The Directorate of the Circle of Fine arts received Gustavo's new production with curiosity, offering to him the room of honor of exhibitions. Gustavo filled the room with his first eighteen engravings and the studies of pencil - coal realized of the native for him himself. The success of selling will be important and in the room of the hotel at which it lodges it begins with the burins to arrange an engraving that would go for title " Europe 1830 ", it works that it would not manage to end, though in many moments it was recapturing it again.
There begin the first sweet nights of the summer and Gustavo happy by his victory, walks along the city and comes to his gatherings. It has triumphed with his exhibition. It starts selling tests of his autolithographies, scarcely finished the exhibition. His life in Madrid passes placidly enjoying long conversations friends, writers, engravers and painters. But not everything was going to be an agreeable stay of Madrid. In August, the 10th, in Seville General Sanjurjo raises against the young woman República. The reaction of the Government does not make to be waited and the detentions take place. In Madrid Ramiro de Maeztu is arrested and imprisoned in the Model. Gustavo interrupts his works and projects and every morning it moves up to the jail to take blankets, typewriter, first-aid kits and other tools. A warm morning, in which Gustavo came to the jail loading all kinds of objects that it was depositing in the antechamber of the Director (friend and countryman), it pledged in seeing him to any situation. " The fatigue, the perspiration and the weariness was giving to Gustavo the aspect of a seal of circus ". Before the presence of Prison guard, Gustavo the perspiration being rinsed will say to him " I cannot any more with the messenger's office, I prefer that they put me in the jail ".
Before the reprimand of the Prison guard about which he was not saying his two times, our artist left immediately Madrid for, happening for Soria, to go towards the Pyrenees. Since we have already seen Gustavo was not a heroic personage who was desirable to live through dangerous adventures. Gustavo will insist on a relevant aspect in what atañe to these works: it is a question of autolithographies. In the discipline of the engraving it is necessary to do the warning that often the artist executes in the role and then the engraver goes on to the copper, to the stone, to the zinc, to the steel what other executed. Here a mere intermediary still has the engraver reduced. Hence Gustavo's determination in making to notice that, on having known well the skill, it was recording directly his plates, eliminating the intermediary's role that the engraver was exercising. The fact that an artist was recording the same work it was not giving to the same one a qualit stamp. Only when the artist is good and conscious of the expressive resources that to every procedure correspond, the work acquires aesthetic values that are not precisely of the conception of the work, but of the execution or interpretation of the one that records it.
Hence the importance of his autolithographies: Gustavo conceives the works bearing in mind the effects that later it will have to obtain in the plate or in the stone. In this there is the origin of his need to demonstrate by means of his own engravings. There escapes from nobody the high quality of Maeztu as drawer.But on having reproduced his skill to the systems known about the lithography, they were losing vigor, especially, in the first planes and in his stained averages. That's why, he himself had to come up to the plate of zinc to give him his personal force to all the features, turning into autolithographer " for a procedure about whose secret does not want to speak ". The same Gustavo was taking charge considering the costly of his essays and the displeasures that provided to him the tests. It was feeling at ease in this worker's facet of the art, finding dignity and social approach to the work of the artist. During the thirties it got overturned in two activities that were going implied in his pictures: the encáusticas and the autolithographies. So much one as other one were giving him to his work a social content, for which he was already trying to look from 1919, in a wish to bring his work over to the public. The encáusticas were thought to adorn the frontages of the buildings. The autolithographies, by means of the seriación, were turning into a more obtainable artistic object.
The lithography, as his literary facet, had an added advantage, to allow him to produce multiple copies that were telling a history to all those who should to acquire them. In José Francés's words, if Pío Baroja was recording, it would not do it as his brother Ricardo, but as Gustavo de Maeztu. His lithographies will possess this rough naturalism and this Pío Baroja's cutting narrative keenness and that Gustavo will be able to reflect in his drawings of Castilian or Andalusian types, features demonstrated now across the lithographies. Lithographies that for Gustavo, were summarizing all the expressive resources of the engraving to burin, of the engraving in wood, of the etching and of the drawing. The exhibition was showing a great variety of topics. Sceneries, archaeological monuments or scenes in which the spirituality and the character were allied as " The church visigótica of San Millán of the Cogolla ", the effigy of "D. Tomás de Zumalacárregui", the image like conqueror of " Don Juan, the Prince of Asturias " or " Hunt in the surroundings of the castle of Break-in ". Others, they were forming sceneries with character of picture and some lithography, it was demonstrating his illustrator's vision. Definitively, it was claiming the nobility of the lithography, not minor, despite old prejudice, which that of the etching or the engraving in wood.
At the end of 1932, during December, it presented his autolithographies in Bilbao, in the walls of the lounge of Artists' Vascos Association. Gustavo, was showing also oils and drawings. Between the oils he was emphasizing one of great size that was going for title " The Pantocrator of the door of Silver ". The years happen and Gustavo is not capable of quietening his spirit. In his last work there is an attempt of using all the expressive means to spread his idea of the art. It was always showing in this exhibition, once again, his insatiable aesthetic ambition, ready to allow her to pass for the most difficult and varied ways. " Maeztu, which with the oil had already cultivated the water-color, the drawing, the engraving, tests now the encáustica, the lithography and the cement vitrificado ... and it will be necessary to say that in these essays the wise moves turned out to be evident ". So evident, that the Meeting of the Patronage of the Museum of Modern Art of Madrid, he resolved the acquisition of five of his autolithographies in the same December, choosing the graduates: " Monument to the Escipiones ", " Estella ", " Pediment of Beotibar ", "Intimidate" and " Return of the sailor ".
His third participation with the Association does not make to be waited. During March, and after a long period in which the Artists' Association had not exposed the works of his partners out of the Basque Country an exhibition was inaugurated, in the Galleries Emporium of Barcelona, with works of his partners. Once again, the Association was serving as springboard for the young artists, but simultaneously, was exposing them covered for the presence of the already consecrated makers. Gustavo well always got for the Catalan critique, was moving four works of the produced during the twenties, centring on his cosmopolitan vision. The qualifications: " Black idyll ", " Coffee of the Paix ", " The Man of the solitary one " and " Happiness in the bar of Amsterdam ". During April it will exhibit again in Barcelona, this time, in solitary. On the 24th it was inaugurated in the lounge of the bookstore Catalonia, the individual one of his autolithographies. For Miguel Utrillo, Gustavo was undoubtedly " a type without equal, the most original, a gentleman who if you leave to him a card in his study of Bilbao, already is in London. You come to London, try to visit him, and it is in America. You write to America, and it walks on Biscay ".
Again we have to refer to the lithographies in Gustavo's production. In July and in the Casino Slav of Pamplona, will present his works the painter tolosarra David Álvarez. It will show caricatures, between which the realized one was emphasizing don Víctor Eusa, drawings and what the local reviewer was considering to be the best thing: the engravings. You act as " Town of Ibarra " or " Nocturne of Ibarra " they were turning out to be reproduced in magazines and newspapers from the thirties, being an object of the unanimous and eulogistic comment of the press. The " Diary of Navarre ", also he will publish them. But these works owed to Gustavo's brush, in ductile collaboration with the skill of the engraver of guipuzcoano. At the same time as it was exposing Álvarez, Gustavo de Maeztu was presenting in the exhibition organized by the School of Arts and Offices of Pamplona a series of oils, encáusticas and you autolithograph. The Gustavo's first exhibition will be this in Navarre, beginning a relation that still he has not concluded thanks to his legacy.
If difficult age to buy these pictures to decorate a room or an office, the same thing will not happen with the autolithographies, in which it was giving continuity to the subject-matter of sceneries of Spanish grounds and seaworthy scenes, except any of composition, as his work " Columbus " or the most well-known on " Zumalacárregui ". Of Navarre, it had seen of Viana and of Estella. These pictures had a lot of success and were much requested by the of Pamplona public. Almost completed the exhibition, it gave two of these autolithographies: one with the sight of Viana to the Statutory Deputation and different, relating to Estella to the Of Navarre Cultural club. During his permanence in Pamplona it realized diverse jaunts for Navarre, on everything to the convents of Irache and the Olive, which it served him to gather notes that in a future it could move to the oil, and as not, to his lithographies. In these years of the Republic his monarchic ideas were manifest, of these years it is his car it lithographs of the prince don Juan, great friend of Gustavo, with whom it supported a nourished mail, once finished the war, between Estoril and Estella. Unfortunately these letters have disappeared.
During September, from 2 to 8, y in the bazoki of Ondarreta, in Bilbao, owing to celebrating his weddings of silver, hundred twenty-five works were exposed, where there was gathered the pictorial production generated in the Basque Country during the last fifty years. The signatures were of Guiding, Guinea, Losada, Zuloaga, Berrueta, between the initiators. Of the later generations, there were situated present Arteta, brother Zubiaurre, Alberto Arrúe, Tellaeche, Gustavo de Maeztu (who was presenting drawings and linens) and Huts Oteiza. Later, those painters who in full youth acquired a relevant personality, between that they were figuring Aranoa, Urrutia and Uzelay. In order to adorn the new head office of post office that was constructed in Bilbao, one entrusted him to Gustavo the achievement of two murals that were adorning the entrance hall of entry, for what it possessed the inestimable help of that he was considered to be his disciple, Acebal Idígoras and that of the young man Paquito García of the Ivy, Bilbaoan that was collaborating, especially, in the small things. In spite of his investigations on encáusticas, the work was realized on linens added to the wall. Due to the need of space to be able to execute this work, 27 rented a market in the street Egaña n °. Place that in turn served him to work the pictures that later it realized for order of the Deputation for the Lounge of Meetings of the Palace of Navarre.
We are not before a plethoric Maeztu of faculties. They are not the allegorical pictures of his first stage. It is a question of a few merely descriptive, cold works as for the content, lacking in the force and feeling with which it was endowing to his previous pictures. They are works that are connected with the grandiloquent and theatrical gesture of the painter José Maria Sert and to Thomas Hart Benton's American muralismo, adorned with forms that remember those of his teacher Losada. Overturned in his lithographer's activity, in 1934 he will send to the National Exhibition of Fine arts a series of his lithographies, appearing as engraver. We will have to wait until November to contemplate his work in another exhibition. In this case, the individual one realized in Pamplona. Now it was exposing a collection of his autolithographies. These works, which had already obtained a great success the previous year in San Sebastian, were much praised also in Pamplona, where one was emphasizing the variety of details of tone and the serious intensity of the dark ones.
The success return repeat and many were the orders of autolithographies that the of Navarre peoples did to him. Gustavo was admitting, certainly aggrievedly, that the painting to the oil occupied great part of his activities up to the first exhibition of his autolithographies, in the Circle of Fine arts. The obtained success was considering it to be so disproportionate, that since then " I observed the unjust thing that it is usual for them to be the exagerate successes and the definitive defeats ". In all this period, since he started learning the skill up to his first exhibition, Gustavo demonstrates us as his attempts they were not simple scores, but a meticulous learning up to coming to the definitive creation. In January, 1935, between the 7th, it was teaching to 20 the from Bilbao public, in the lounge of Artists' Vascos Association, a whole of 13 oils and 26 autolithographies. His link with Navarre becomes every time major, up to the point of which for the first time, a newspaper of Pamplona gathers on his pages an exhibition realized by Gustavo.
Between the oils it will include a wide selection of Dutch, Andalusian sceneries, and human figures. In the latter paragraph graduate " Lily " will emphasize his portrait. Figure of soft tonalities, which in spite of his hermetic physiognomy, thanks to the delicacy of color, he will acquire an undeniable poetry. Another relevant picture will be the graduate " My friends of 1910 ". This oil already ancient in his production, had been remozado recently, though still intact parts were observed as the head of the aged woman. In March his collection of autolithographies turns out to be increased with a new work. After an arduous effort and with more determination that in his past works, realized his engraving of major proportions (70 x 90). The topic was using the image of the Redeemer in the Gólgota. The edition limited itself to 200 copies, with the first strip of 100, illuminated to hand and with varnish elaborated by the own artist. During the Holy Week of 1935, the same effigy of the Redeemer will adorn the first page of the " Diary of Navarre ". It was a question of the interpretation that did of Christ in the Cross full of pain in the expression of the face and of frightfulness for the ambience of strong contrasts of target and negro that, of form red clouds contornean the figure. Maeztu.
Navarre was identified and marking his future destination. Soon, meanwhile it was exhibiting in Barcelona, in the Galleries Layetanas, a collection of fresh air to the cement during May, the Statutory Deputation of Navarre was reminding in ordinary meeting and report previous of the architect Yarnoz, the director of the works of the Palace, to entrust to Gustavo the execution of the pictorial wall decoration of the new Lounge of Meetings of the Provincial Palace. During this year, Gustavo centred on the achievement of this work and thanks to the amiability of the President of the Statutory Deputation, don Juan Pedro Arraiza, could know very well Navarre. From Roncesvalles to Tudela, from Bridge the Queen to Andsilla, furrowed a geography that every time he was enjoying more in depth. Gustavo was possessing don Juan Pedro, both turned into the two most early rising "employees" of the whole Deputation, being able to use the official car, together with his friends Jesús Etayo, Marcilla and Picatoste, crossing the province in search of stages and motives for adding to his murals. In September, the administration was carrying out a payment of five hundred pesetas in fulfillment of the fixed period. He had finished and placed the first front of fifteen meters.
Estella. 1936 - 1947
In May, 1936 it was giving concluded the work of the Lounge of Meetings of the Statutory Deputation of Navarre. In June of this year, Gustavo was ending up again in Madrid, taking part in the National Exhibition of Fine arts. It was presenting three pictures: " Basque coasts ", " Fishermen " and " Jot Navarre, Roncal ". The last one, of recent invoice. It was a product of his trips for Navarre, in whose Estella's city would settle from May, after finishing his panels for the Deputation in Pamplona. In Estella, together with Mrs Juana, mother of the saga, and Mrs Julia Landa who would take care of them for his last years, they will live in the so called " white house ", situated in the place named The Plains, on the banks of the river Ega, through corner that it discovered while he was looking for motives for the panels of Deputation.
To contemplate these already completed panels, it moves to Pamplona Ra - I look of Maeztu, of whom the press Navarre was publishing every day chronicles and articles. After meeting the works, it happened in Estella a few days together with his mother and brother. On July 12 Ramiro was dividing Pamplona accompanied of his mother to eat in house of the count of Rodezno. The same day was going to Madrid. Soon, he was writing to the family infuriated about the Bald man's death Sotelo, presaging the sad destination that was waiting for him to the country. A few days later and after the lift, he will become a prisoner and moved to the women's jail of Madrid, wherefrom it would go out to be executed on November 11. They initiate for the family Maeztu years of great bitterness. Murdered Ramiro and all his equipment in Bilbao. He was dying in a tragic way who had been a vital modal in Gustavo's thought. In the " white house " they remained until June, 1937, when for problems of health of the vital but aged mother (who could not support so many moisture), they move to the Biggest street. Still it continued using during a time the " white house " as store of his works. But soon it moved his definitive study to the street Astería. In this new emplacement, it will show his works both to his friends and to the clients and also it will celebrate holidays and distended meetings.
Gustavo's works, since it could not be less for his inclination in favour of the lifted edict, started acquiring a political content, re-treating the most significant personages of the lift. On September 14, 1936 and on the first page, the " Diary of Navarre " was published by a drawing of General Mola, gone out of Gustavo's hand. It was serving to illustrate the news of the capture by the requetés and the Falangists of the city of San Sebastian. Little later, in December, his another drawing was appearing in the same newspaper. In this occasion, the reagreement belonged to the organist, composer and pedagogue Miguel Echebeste, who was going to realize a concert of organ for the sake of the Bonus of the Combatant in the church of the St Lawrence of Pamplona. The same shield that had taken form in the Lounge of Meetings of the Deputation, was turning into modal of Navarre, serving as representation to receive the title of " Navarre for Spain: our Statutory Deputation before the movement savior ". General Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, happened to increase his folder of autolito-grafías.
During the summer of 1937, Gustavo will move, almost every day, up to the near monastery of Irache to realize the work " General Zumalacá-rregui ", the first work realized across the plate, then sketched to the oil and definitively moved to a linen of big dimensions. Considering the proportions of the work, he needed to have a wide space. Due to this circumstance, the parents escolapios (those who were managing the building), yielded the room to come to terms to be able to be employed at so important work. It was doing only three years that there had celebrated the centenary of the death of the General. Passed this year 1937 in the placidity of his retirement estellés, did not exhibit until the following year. Multiple would be the anecdotes to counting of his daily life, since his image in the city of the Ega could not happen unnoticed. As that of his mother, who with next to 80 years, it gave Englishman's lessons again in spite of the opposition of his children, to be able sanear the injured home economics. Between the 1st and 9th of September, Gustavo exposed a new collection of his works in the Gallery Singer of San Sebastian, which was placed in the Avenue of Spain. These places destined to the selling of sewing machines were receiving in these moments the pompous name of Gallery.
It was teaching a whole of 19 water-colors, 15 oils and his work completes of autolito-grafías. Between the qualifications they were repeating the references to Navarre: Vale of Salazar, Mañeru, Cirauqui, Lumbier, Pamplona, emphasizing Estella's images with "Estella's Bridge", "In The Night in San Miguel. Estella", "The cross of the castles from the Ega", "Valencian Fruit bowls in Estella". Also it was showing pictures already in abundance acquaintances of the keen public, as "seven children of Écija" or "Romantic fantasy". The exhibition had su Finished the exhibition, Gustavo was dividing for the baths of Cestona in order to a few days of October happened resting. From there, he sent his friend Anastasio Martínez (merchant and proprietor of the affectionate shop of frames and pictures of the street Courier of Pamplona), several works. The shop of the street Courier turned for Gustavo (so lover of the gatherings), in a place of meeting with his friends, a species of artistic gathering to which artists and friends of the painter will come. But not only it was serving the place to exchange opinions, in him, it was usual for Gustavo to throw the siesta, turning the space into an authentic home-loving lounge.
Finished the fraticida contest, two years after the fall of Bilbao in hands of the lifted troops, was inaugurating on April 20, 1939 an exhibition of Fine arts in the capital of Biscay. The sample organized by the Provincial Headquarters of Propaganda and under the patronage of the Town hall of Bilbao, possessed the assistance of the Minister of Industry and Commerce, mister Suances, the Undersecretary of the Department of National Education and civil, military authorities and of the Movement. The number of works, between painting, sculpture and the section of decorative arts, was promoting 144. One of the rooms the painter was íntegramente dedicated to the winner of the last Biennial one of Venice, celebrated in 1938, eibarrés Ignacio Zuloaga. Gustavo de Maeztu, who also had come to the Biennial Venetian (it hung a whole of five pictures), was exposing in the second room his successful picture on "General Zumalacárregui" and " The fiancés of Vozmediano ". In the same room Enma García Iturri, " Joma " and Javier Cortés were showing themselves sculptures of Moisés de Huerta and of Julio Beobide, paintings of Ángel Larroque, Ángel Garavilla.
With this exhibition, in words of the provisional chief of Propaganda of Biscay, don Julián Valle, it wanted to be demonstrated before the world " the creative force of the Spanish, who in full war, continued in the rearguard the rhythm of the combatants, taking care of the culture, base of the exaggeration of the peoples ". On May 1, 1940, the parish of San Francisco Javier de Pamplona moved to a market that had been enabled in the avenue of general Fran-co, for the of Navarre architect and great friend of our artist, Víctor Eusa, who in these moments was showing the charge of Municipal Architect. Inside that of the new place, Javier placed the picture that recently Gustavo had finished, representing the holder of the church, " San Francisco ". Gustavo de Maeztu was living more and more integrated to the city of the Ega. It recaptures the world of youth, in which the need to realize projects will be exceeded by them to him and to his friends. Fantastic man, miscellany of ingenuousness and of happiness, of illusion and of eccentricity, since José Maria de Iribarren defined him, embarks in ideas as that of installing in the high place of the Puy, a "marvellous" hotel that hunters of the whole world would come to kill the pigeon from the hut in the epoch of raisin.
He was gasping to install his study in the raised area of San Miguel, in the Estella's more raised: " It will be quite of crystal. Estella, below, to my feet. I above, like a king: seeing all. They will not see me. And I inside, doing ". Those who still live in the city of the Ega remember him as a good and affable man that participant of his happy moments was doing to all those that him were making a detour. And the test of this fondness was that he considered the city of East-lla to be the trustee of the work of all his life. It gave his work to the city that so much he wanted and that with so much friendliness it could catch. Who better than his great friend José Maria Iribarren, to value what was Estella for Gustavo: " He was saying that, in the whole world he had not found any more than three interesting types for his pictures and two cities in which it was worth living. The types: the Chinaman, the sailor of Amsterdam and the farmhand estellés. Two cities: London and Estella ".
Returning to the world of the exhibitions, in 1941 and from November 15 until November 28, it will show again his work in Barcelona. The stage, this time will be the Gallery Pallarés, placed in the street of the Council of the Hundred, being in this occasion the exposed works, a reflex of the works of his last years. In the catalogue of the exhibition, close to the succinct biography of the artist, they were turning out to be quiet the totality of the hanging works. The sample was subdividing in five paragraphs, giving a coherence to the explanatory set. They were standing out, a series of oils grouped under the title "Composition". Works were contemplated already known as "Pierrot in the bar", I fit so emblematic in the work of Maeztu that never parted with him, "Don Juan", "The Andalusian singing", "The hunter of Baigorri", "Eve", close to other more recent works as "Return of the War", "Zumalacárregui, study" or "Julio César in Tarragona". For the disposition and the aesthetic - chronological characteristics, a clear desire was guessed on part of Maeztu, of offering a panoramic vision of his already long trajectory.
The affectionate topic, holder in his pictures of a romantic character, was remaining reflected in his oil "The fiancés of Vozmedian " and of a more accented and less sculptural form, in more recent works as "Nocturne of Guipuzcoa" and "Beethoven and the poet", of more rich chromatic tonalities and abundances of fantastic images ambientadas in adorned ponds decorated with the presence of swans. All this wrapped in a blue - greenish magic light, which also it used for some of his urban sceneries. Sceneries always conceived in his work like the movement of a state of the soul. And though it was departing from a reality, the scenery was not situated in the nature, was in his feeling and this in Maeztu was meaning ensoñación, for what it created ambiences full of poetry and of decorative imagination. These eminently expressive values are those that will lead him to presenting the light and the color of most original and opposite ways. Close to the most delicate tones we meet violent tones, close to built well forms, mere impressions of drawing, close to luminous gradations of great beauty, simple effects of light. The best example of this way of working the public of Madrid could contemplate in two emblematic pictures: " Pierrot in the bar " and in the most recent graduate " Basque kitchen " plethoric both of atmospheric effects.
In addition to these exhibitions, Gustavo continued using the shop of pictures of his friend Anastasio Martínez as center of selling of his works. But it was not exhibiting only, close to his creations they were sharing I spread those of the of Navarre painters Ciga and Basiano, continuing with his gatherings whenever one was displeasing of Estella Pamplona. Gatherings to which also young people will come with creative aspirations as Jesús Lasterra. His last National Exhibition was in 1945, with a picture of big pretensions, qualified " The Iberian bull ". The work caused numerous comments all the very negative ones for Gustavo, which produced to him a strong disappointment and sadness. To the defeat of the picture one came to join the sadness for the death of his mother. With the time, the relation between Gustavo and his mother had turned into a situation of mutual interdependence, but especially of the son towards the mother. For Gustavo there was nothing more than his mother and this one was feeling weakness for his son. The whole organization of the son was Mrs Juana, with whom it was always very affectionate and flattering. The Maundy Thursday, on March 28 and to the age of 89 years, was expiring Mrs Juana, woman of character, great combatant, tireless and enormously wanted for all those that they treated her and that they never stopped being called her a Lady.
Gustavo already did not raise head. Practically it stopped doing. His health was deteriorating progressively, it was drinking increasingly (two bottles of wine without eating). It stopped being that great gourmet and dining room to which he liked that he was repeated by those plates with which it had taken delight in the restaurants. And it lost the happiness of living. The Amescoas, they were for Gustavo, the heart and Estella's essence. And on these places versaron his last literary works. It began his historical oration with the recreation of a fact that placed in the time from general Pompeyo derives in the foundation of Pamplona, to end with the origin "amescotarra" founded by a dark and mysterious personage called Lupo or Lope in the year 182 of the age of Christ. Centring on the texts of the Prince of Viana and on the "Annals" of the Father Moret, it tries to demonstrate that " Ground Estella " is the original place of the term " Navarris ", whereas in the slope of Pamplona the term was of the "pompelo-nes".. It was finishing a series of articles, worked responsibly, trying to contribute a few information that he was considering to be real. But we believe that the value rests on Gustavo's attempt of recapturing the literary slope of his artistic production, feeling unable to recapture the pictorial work. Before an adverse reality loaded with solitude and frustration, he retires, refugián-dose in an almost literary activity, which does not put brake to his sleep. Situation similar to which it will go on as far back as 1909 when discouraged of the painting, he established himself sheltered by the pen of his friend Meabe.
The contact with these shepherds allows him to know new sceneries. From Eraul it realizes a jaunt up to the ruins of the monastery of Irache, accompanied by two friends and, on having contemplated it from the distance " sad and still ", him the comparison arises with an Egyptian pyramid. The scenery that it encloses to the monastery subdues him and, thinks it one of the most beautiful corners of the peninsula, only comparably with what the había seen in the spurs of Sierra Morena, in the province of Cordova: " It is the mountain, but a mountain fills with light, almost the Paradise ". And to this assertion it was returning when it was repeating that Estella's sky was the most transparent of Navarre. The illness progressed irate and merciless, finishing hurriedly with his life. Estella, city in the one that was going living through eleven years and whom with the time Gustavo turned into his placid refuge, answered to the artist fondly and I affect before the love that this one had demonstrated and like that on February 4, 1947, to instances of his good friend and secretary of the Town hall don Francisco Beruete, it named him in plenary meeting of the Town hall, Foster child of the city after the motion presented by the mayoralty approved the municipal plenary meeting.
Gustavo was more and more sick, one day before the appointment, on February 3, was receiving Santos Sacramentos, being in these moments his relatives, between them his sister Maria recently come from Buenos Aires and Ángela. On February 9 at half after nine in the morning, with 58 years of age, it was expiring in his domicile of the Biggest street, Gustavo de Maeztu. There were present in his last moments his brothers Ángela, Miguel and Maria, Mabel Hill (widow of Ramiro), Ann Cortina and his nephews, Maria Rosales de Lastagaray and Juan Manuel Maeztu Hill. The duel was big and the news was gathered from way felt in the national press. In the diary " Arriba" " of Madrid, there was reproduced a fragment of the triptych " The Iberian ground " accompanying to a text written by Eduardo Llo-set, the director of the Modern Museum. In the text there was doing a portrait felt of Gustavo's love by Estella " I have gone away to live through Estella - Gustavo was saying to us to little of avecindarse in the noble city to obtain satisfaction of the years of Spanish life that I lost " and was stressing " Sight as it will be of heroic and of road surface that in vascuence there is called he Lizarra ".
To the margin of any concrete reference on the pain that the death of Gus-tavo provoked in all those that met him, serve the text that to continuation closes this first part, gone out of the pen and the feeling of his good friend José Maria Iribarren to annotate the pain that this fact provoked in the city that shared with the painter his last years: " If you had seen Estella the day of his burial: the gray sky, the mute streets and the wintry scenery were giving to the morning an impression silente and funeral. They were doubling the bells in the amazed and sensitive to cold air, and the peoples of the city, which were going towards the field in his knighthood, which were doing his buys in the shops of the Biggest street, were going with the suffered and tacit gesture of the one who feels in the soul the death of a countryman queridísimo. There has seldom been such a gentle and honestl pothumus homage, so deep and felt by all of the people towards their artist!. Navarre paid with fondness and pain what the bohemian and vagrant painter had suffered.He who in the autumn of his wandering life felt in his soul the attraction of Navarre, and chose Estella as the ideal place for retirement and work, for life and death.
There he stayed, close to the remains of his mother, under this fleshy and red, classic and statutory ground, where the vine and the olive tree exist, in the middle of this wonderful scenery that he loved so much; on a vermilion hill that looks at the shining Ega edged of black poplars, already the mounts of holm oaks with combs of gray granite that undulate in the distance and to the fund from which Montejurra, like a boastful Olympus, lifts his mauve mass, of violent edges. The Sun had cooled the morning, and for the high and blue sky a few clouds of water-color were rowing. The thin north wind of the Améscoa was disheveling the head of a photographer and was making to blend the glasses of the faded cypresses. There had the air this divine transparence, this radiant luminosity that exalts the colors of the scenery and brings the distances over us in his most intimate details. Those of us who accompanied him to the grave, felt deep down inside us the affectionate anguish of having leave there a piece of our souls, a gentlel friend and a distinguished man who had came into this world to paint beautiful things and distribute hugs ".