The landscape painter Martín Rico

<em>The Ladies’ Tower in the Alhambra, Granada</em>, Martín Rico.. Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 40 cm. 1871. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. Ramón de Errazu Bequest

The Ladies’ Tower in the Alhambra, Granada. Martín Rico. Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 40 cm. 1871. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. Ramón de Errazu Bequest

    The Museo del Prado is presenting the first monographic exhibition on Martín Rico, one of the most important Spanish artists of the second half of the nineteenth century and a pioneering figure in the introduction of realist landscape. Organised in collaboration with the Meadows Museum in Dallas, where this exhibition will be presented next year with the title “Impressions of Europe”, and made possible through the support of the Regional Government of Madrid, this exhibition brings together more than forty paintings that are shown alongside a large group of watercolours, drawings and notebooks, most of which have never been exhibited in Spain.

    Monday 29 October 2012

    From tomorrow, 30 October, visitors to the Museum will have the opportunity to obtain a first-hand overview of the work of the Madrid-born landscape painter Martín Rico (1833-1908). Rico is of the most important Spanish painters of the first half of the 19th century and the finest representation of his work is to be found in the Museo del Prado. In addition to the twelve canvases, forty notebooks and an album of watercolours in the Museum’s collection, this first monographic exhibition to be devoted to the artist will include masterpieces loaned from museums world-wide, in particular American institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Hispanic Society of America. They will be seen in Spain for the first time.

    This important selection offers a survey of every phase within the career of Martín Rico, the Spanish landscape painter to achieve the highest degree of international renown in his day with his “impressions of Europe”, from his early landscape of the Sierra of Madrid to his depictions of Paris and later of Venice.

    A pioneer in the introduction of realist landscape, Rico’s outstanding ability to capture light and the distinctive characteristics of the cities that he visited brought him considerable renown in his own time, particularly in the USA where his work is now represented in a number of museums and private collections. Rico’s international reputation is largely based on the fact that he established a career outside Spain after he was awarded a State grant in 1862 to study landscape painting abroad. For more than forty years and until his death the artist worked in Paris and Venice where he captured the beauty of these two cities and established contacts with leading artists such as Camille Pissarro, one of the first generation of Impressionists, and Daubigny, the Barbizon School landscape painter.

    The international nature of Rico’s fame meant that his works were more successful outside Spain and for this reason, and with the exception of the Museo del Prado, there are few works by him in Spanish museums. The present exhibition thus aims to promote greater knowledge of the artist while also pursuing the Museum’s policy of reassessing the principal 19th-century Spanish artists, a strategy to which it has been committed in recent years.

    Following its presentation in Madrid, the exhibition will travel to the Meadows Museum in Dallas (10 March to 7 July 2013)

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