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Two upcoming exhibitions showcase lesser-known Catalan painter

Alexandre de Cabanyes lived from 1877 to 1972, and this year will see two collections and one book dedicated to the artist

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21 February 2018 03:43 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

There are many renowned artists with connections to Catalonia: Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró...but that’s not all. And there are efforts, now, to give prominence to some of the most influential artists in the country, such as Alexandre de Cabanyes.

Born in 1877, Cabanyes has strong ties to the southern seaside town of Vilanova i la Geltrú. Inasmuch, this is where two exhibitions on his works will kick off next Sunday, February 25, at the Masia d’en Cabanyes and the Víctor Balaguer Museum, to run until July 1. Here, the more seafaring side of the painter’s work will be reviewed, alongside landscapes and portraits. This also coincides with the publication of the book ‘Alexandre de Cabanyes. 1877-1972. The Last Modernist.’ 

  • "We want to help children to situate themselves before the artwork so they can talk about it, as they are the museum-goers of the future” 

    Oriol Pi de Cabanyes · curator of exhibits

A “strong evocative charge”

Contributors to the book include the artist’s grandson, Oriol Pi de Cabanyes. Indeed, the modernist’s family has spoken about the lack of exposure for Cabanyes’ art, and urged efforts to situate him “in the first division of Catalan figurative painters of the 20th century.”  This, according to Oriol Pi de Cabanyes, also the curator of the exhibitions, who added that the recent 140th anniversary of his grandfather’s birth gave a good reason to bring into the light many of his most relevant work, marked by a “strong evocative charge.”

Oriol Pi also highlighted the “impressionist” style that Cabanyes’ work showed, especially when it came to seaside landscapes. “Looking at his canvases, we’re taken back to that world of sensations that he put forth with his painting.” Both the upcoming exhibitions comprise pieces from both private collections and renowned museums such as the Museum of Montserrat, the MNAC, the Vinseum and the Thyssen Museum.

Two different exhibitions

As regards the exhibition at the Museu Víctor Balaguer, the curator explained that the works are grouped under the name ‘Capturing an instant,’ because they “capture a moment that, now, when you look at it, allows you to communicate with that lost world that is part of our origins.”  

The second exhibition is to be held at Masia d’en Cabanyes, where the artist lived, worked, and died. This anthology is called ‘The perpetuated surrounding,’ and it collects portraits of friends, family members and landscape paintings that marked the Cabanyes throughout his life.

“The museum-goers of the future”

To counteract the scant diffusion that the artist’s work has received so far, Oriol Pi has set out to work, especially, with the youngest audience. “We want to help children to situate themselves before the artwork so they can talk about it, as they are the museum-goers of the future,” he reflected, assuring that school visits will be a fundamental element during the three months that the exhibitions will run.

During the time they are open, the exhibits will also feature about ten commented visits, four sessions of family activities and two training sessions to learn how to sketch

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  • A protrait of the Cabanyes family by Alexandre Cabanyes on display at the 'Perpetuated surrounding' exhibit on February 21 2018 (by Gemma Sánchez)

  • A protrait of the Cabanyes family by Alexandre Cabanyes on display at the 'Perpetuated surrounding' exhibit on February 21 2018 (by Gemma Sánchez)