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María Guerrero
Sala Francés, Emilio
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Sala Francés, Emilio

Alcoy, Alicante, 1850 - Madrid, 1910

Sala Francés, Emilio See author's file

María Guerrero

1878. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

An outstanding painter of historical scenes and of secular mural decorations to adorn numerous public buildings, as well as those belonging to fin de siècle high society, Emilio Sala also dedicated much of his career to portraiture. This was an especially comfortable genre for him, as it allowed him to exercise his fluid technique as well as an expressive freedom that foreshadows many aspects of modern portraiture from the Valencian school. This new way of interpreting portraiture is even visible in his early works, of which this likeness of young María Guerrero (1868-1928) is an outstanding example. It was the artist’s gift to her father, to whom it is also dedicated, and it shows her long before she became the most venerated actress on the Spanish stage of her time.

Sala painted her at the age of ten, wearing a blue suit with white cuffs and edging. She sits on a chair with her white-booted feet resting on a velvet cushion. Her serious and somewhat tired posture and the way she rests her chin on her hand seem to reflect her boredom at such a heavy pose. Despite her young age, her face already reflects the characteristic features of her peculiar physiognomy, which grew stronger as she grew up and became one of the fundamental interpretive elements for her dramatic expression as an actress.

This portrait’s frank execution, with large areas of color and straight, broken contours that shape her figure, as well as the gradation of the palette, immediately recall Rosales’s art. Its very free and generous use of paint became more concrete and was accompanied by greater concessions to decorative considerations in Sala’s later portraits, reflecting the influence of French bourgeois portraiture after he settled in Paris. The Museo del Prado also has outstanding examples of those later works, including Portrait of a Lady (P7546), which he painted at the height of the Belle Époque (Text drawn from Díez, J. L.: El siglo XIX en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, pp. 352-354).

Technical data

Inventory number
Sala Francés, Emilio
María Guerrero
Height: 89 cm; Width: 61 cm
Acquired by María Fernanda Ladrón de Guevara to Museo de Arte Moderno 1955-1971; Museo del Prado, 1971

Bibliography +

Un siglo de arte español: (1856-1956), Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1955, pp. 264.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Maestros de la pintura valenciana del siglo XIX en el Museo, Museo Nacional del Prado, Autoridad Portuaria, Madrid, 1997, pp. 166.

Diez, J.L; Barón, J., El siglo XIX en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2007, pp. 352/ lám.83.

Espí Valdés, Adrián, Las Bellas Artes en la provincia de Alicante en el siglo XIX, Canelobre, Invierno 64, 2014, pp. 16-33 [31].

Díez, José Luis (dir.), Pintura del Siglo XIX en el Museo del Prado: catálogo general, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 530.

Other inventories +

Registros-Inventarios Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, 1900-1936. Núm. 169 R.

Actas traslado de obras MEAC - Prado, 1971-1973. Núm. 957.

Inscriptions +

A mi amigo Ramon / E. Sala / Madrid. 78
Signed and dated. Front, upper left corner

Exhibitions +

El Siglo XIX en el Prado
31.10.2007 - 20.04.2008

Centro y periferia en la modernización de la pintura española (1880-1918)
11.05.1994 - 26.06.1994

Centro y periferia en la modernización de la pintura española (1880-1918)
02.12.1993 - 03.04.1994

Update date: 28-01-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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