RICARDO BAROJA Y NESSI (Riotinto, Huelva, 1871 - Vera de Bidasoa, Navarre, 1953).
Comitiva al cementerio" ("Procession to the cemetery").
Oil and gouache on paper.
Signed in the lower left corner.
Measurements: 43.5 x 46 cm; 65 x 65 cm (frame).
Through his particular technique, agile and quick, Baroja captured like no one else the popular life of the most inhospitable villages of the Spanish territory, championing a unique and tremendously identifiable style. Ricardo Baroja's passion for the landscapes of the inland villages of Spain, some of which were even lost, is demonstrated in the present work, which depicts a funeral scene in which a lone person accompanies the coffin being carried by a horse and a guide holding it. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Huelva-born artist travelled the country from inn to inn, either for his work as a painter or for his hobby as an excursionist.
A painter, engraver and writer of the Generation of '98, and brother of Pío Baroja, he was self-taught. Developing a style contrary to the aesthetic taste of the artistic juries of the beginning of the century, Baroja took part in the Bilbao Modern Art Exhibition from 1900 onwards, and exhibited his work in different places, preferably San Sebastián and Madrid. Around 1900-1906 he devoted himself to etching, and came to be considered the best Spanish master in this field after Goya, standing out from the outset as a profound portraitist, the author of beautiful etchings and scenes of popular life, somewhere between Goyaesque and lyrical. He also devoted himself to writing at the same time. In 1903 he founded, in collaboration with Pablo Picasso and Francisco de Asís Soler, the "Arte Joven" group. In 1928 he was appointed professor at the National School of Graphic Arts. However, following a traffic accident, the artist lost an eye and was forced to give up painting, concentrating from then on on literature. Gradually he took up brushwork again, but he hardly ever painted from life. During the Civil War he lost contact with his brother, who fled to France, and he earned his living by painting. After the war he continued to paint, although only in summer, and to write. From 1940 onwards he again held exhibitions in the art galleries of San Sebastian, Bilbao and Madrid, obtaining great commercial success. In San Sebastián he founded, together with Martiarena, the Guipúzcoa Artistic Association. In 1952, a year before his death, his success was confirmed with the sale of all his paintings at an exhibition held in San Sebastian. Ricardo Baroja is represented in the Provincial Museum of Lugo, the Fine Arts Museums of Bilbao and Álava, and the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián, among others.