The large painting is a venetian landscape from the early twentieth century and is an “unprecedented” find, since it reveals a hitherto unknown facet of the Oriolan painter as an urban landscape painter.
The work, recently discovered, has been incorporated into the exhibition “Joaquín Agrasot. An international painter” which was inaugurated at the Museu de Belles Arts de Castellón this morning and which was presented for the first time at the Mubag in Alicante in October 2020.
The director of the Consortium of Museums of the Valencian Community, José Luis Pérez Pont, and the territorial director of the IVC of Castelló, Alfonso Ribes, Accompanied by the curators of the exhibition, the Vice-Rector for Culture and Sports of the University of Valencia, Ester Alba, and the Professor of Art History of the University of Valencia Rafael Gil Salinas have presented the exhibition.
Pérez Pont has stated that “this exhibition is part of the line of research qwhich are jointly developed by the Consortium of Museums and the three museums of Fine Arts in Castellón, València and Alicante for the recovery of artists from our territory. This has allowed us to deepen our knowledge of the work of different authors such as the Alicante painter Joaquín Agrasot, whose prolific production is found in numerous private collections “.
In this sense, Pérez Pont thanked the exhibition’s curator and curator for the work, since “the development of this exhibition has made it possible to discover a unique piece that was not listed and to make it available to the public”.
For Ester Alba, “as historians, the role of art collectors is of great importance. It was thanks to this retrospective that the owners of the piece contacted us and it was a great surprise.”
Last summer in Naples
The curator explained that “it is an interesting landscape that represents a canal in Venice. We were aware that, after his last summer with Fortuny in Portici (Naples), the artist had traveled with his wife to Venice; appears in different news in the Italian press. Agrasot carried out a multitude of studies that we have now discovered that he captured in this magnificent piece, undoubtedly of great importance, since it reveals a new facet until now unknown, such as the urban landscape and gives us new knowledge about the painter “.
Rafa Gil added that this piece, which left no doubt about its authorship, “allows us to see that the collection of Agrasot is not limited exclusively to Alicante but is widely distributed, and on this occasion it has also brought us to Castelló” .
The exhibition, which can be seen until September 12, brings together around a hundred pieces from various public and private collections, including the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC ), the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga, the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts, and the Fine Arts Museums of Malaga, Murcia, Córdoba and Bilbao, as well as the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of Alicante and València, among others.
“Recognized by the Valencian artistic society of his time, Agrasot was a benchmark for his colleagues. However, over the years, historiography has placed him solely as a costumbrist painter,” said Ester Alba, who added that ” This exhibition aims to show Agrasot as the polyhedral painter that he was, who worked all artistic genres with a very broad perspective. The exhibition especially affects his international projection with work in the English, French and Italian markets, in addition to his passage for Argentina, Mexico and the US, without forgetting their participation in national and international exhibitions. ”
In 1902, the Encyclopaedia Britannica he emphatically summed up the situation of Spanish painting in the second half of the 19th century. He considered that modern painting in Spain began with Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874), who was to leave his mark on subsequent generations of painters. And it only highlighted one artist during the 1870s, Joaquín Agrasot y Juan (1836-1919), who painted images of everyday Spanish life with great sincerity. And, he concluded that, by the end of the century, two young artists appeared with energy: Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) and Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945).
Joaquín Agrasot has been defined as a realistic and traditional artist, associated with the Valencian regionalist naturalism of the second half of the 19th century. However, its vibrant chromatic palette, the use of light and a very particular brushstroke, bring it closer to the fin-de-century precious forms that allow it to be framed within modern painting coinciding with the international artistic current.
The exhibition is an opportunity to show the different artistic disciplines that he worked on throughout his long life, with some unpublished pieces from private collections from different parts of the Spanish geography. From a chronological but also thematic criterion, pieces of his best-known subjects such as manners painting are shown, “not so much as a reference to the local but as a sample of what was demanded in the international market”, Rafael Gil has pointed out.
The great exhibition also shows other lesser-known themes of the artist such as orientalist painting, very settled in the second half of the 19th century, which had not been widely disseminated and which demonstrates the quality and mastery of technique and color of Agrasot.
According to Ester Alba, “Joaquín Agrasot was a very long-lived painter, he painted until the last day of his life”. The exhibition shows the work that he made in his last moments and that he left unfinished, ‘Caserío or Urban Landscape’, which is part of the artist’s family collection
Special mention should also be made of the works in the Museo Nacional del Prado ‘Lavandera de la Scarpa’ and ‘Las dos amigas’ (the artist’s best-known painting), awarded at the National Fine Arts Exhibitions in 1864 and 1867, respectively.
The curators have pointed out that this exhibition, together with the catalog, which is having great success, constitutes a first great approach to the prolific production of Agrasot and allows us to open the door to new research on other interesting pieces in international collections that they have not been able to be present due to the situation of the pandemic.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.