From today and throughout the summer until 30 September, the portrait of Federico Vañó painted by Ignacio Pinazo in 1907 is on display at the Museo Ibáñez in Olula del Río. The work has been installed in the late 19th and early 20th century Spanish painting room, together with other important works from the Permanent Collection.
The work, which belongs to the private collection of Javier Pérez Rojas, a prestigious historian and leading expert on Pinazo and Valencian painting from between the centuries, has never before been exhibited outside Valencia. It depicts the doctor Federico Vañó seated inside his house, life-size, on a large canvas measuring 170 x 130 cm.
The painting, which has undergone a slight restoration and consolidation process in the Ibáñez Museum, is in perfect condition and is exhibited with its imposing, profusely carved, original gilt frame of the period, with neo-baroque traces.
Pinazo was one of the most important Spanish portraitists of his time. In fact, he was the first painter to receive a First Medal at a National Exhibition of Fine Arts for a portrait, that of the merchant José María Mellado, which he submitted to the 1897 Exhibition. From then on, portraits of aristocrats and politicians of the time followed one after the other in his work. It is an impressive gallery in which his models are presented without any kind of idealisation, but are endowed with a strong breath and life.
Pinazo painted in different years the portraits of the family of Federico Vañó, a doctor friend who abandoned medicine for business. He painted the portrait of the son and wife in 1898 and the portrait of Federico in 1907, seated in an armchair which forms a pair with the portrait of his wife, now in another private collection, both depicted at different angles in the same room of the house. Through these two portraits he is defining a new typology in which the accents of his admired Velázquez and Goya can be heard, but at the same time, according to Pérez Rojas, “the play of accentuated spatial perspectives lead him to proposals that anticipate the figurative avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century, especially artists such as Bacon and, above all, Freud. One of the features of the modernity of the canvas is the raised perspective it offers, so that the sitter achieves greater presence and dominance in space”.
Technically, according to Pérez Rojas, “Pinazo displays a loose, confident type of brushstroke that synthetically and precisely describes the atmosphere surrounding the sitter. His mastery is equally evident in details such as the sitter’s shoes and the fringe of the comfortable armchair in which he is depicted. The head is executed with an abrupt, informalist subject matter, with a certain expressionist carelessness. Compositionally, he traces a diagonal from the head to the feet that occupies the right and left angles from the bottom to the top of the canvas.
This portrait, due to its plastic, aesthetic and compositional audacity, is one of the most outstanding of his entire production and of Spanish painting of the period. It belongs to Pinazo’s last period, when the painter displayed all his expressive and formal resources with the maximum capacity of his genius, accumulated over decades of activity that made him one of the most important artistic figures of his time. It is not in vain that, together with Sorolla and Muñoz Degrain, he was part of the Trinity of the Valencian school.
The work is already installed in the Ibáñez Museum, which has been advised by Pérez Rojas at all times, and from today it can be enjoyed from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 2pm.