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Annotated works

ARROYO, Eduardo

(Madrid, 1937-2018)

The Marxist Brothers’ Cabin or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Oil on canvas

260,5 x 361 cm


Contemporary Art (20th Century - 21th Century)

N.° inv. 94/44

Acquired in 1994

ARROYO, Eduardo on Online collection

Arroyo gave this work a double title, thereby revealing the film and literary references of its origin. As in the well-known sequence from the Marx Brothers' 1935 film A Night at the Opera, a number of characters are crammed in a cabin. The play on words established between the first title (The Marxist Brothers' Cabin) and the typographic representation of the faces again duplicates the meaning of the picture, although this time in a political key to which the patterns on the women's dresses—soldiers, bombs and the symbol of the hammer and sickle—are also related. Moreover, the work was made at the same time that Arroyo was completing the illustrations for James Joyce's Ulysses, written in 1922; we should not forget that Joyce had previously written A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1914, the leading character of which gradually discovers personal freedom. One of the undertones in the painting is Arroyo's disenchantment with the disappearance of ideologies.

After reading Journalism in Madrid, in 1958 Arroyo settled in Paris with the intention of becoming a writer. A stubborn opponent of the Franco dictatorship, Arroyo would remain in exile in Paris until 1976. In spite of his early literary vocation, which he never gave up, he soon began to paint and exhibit in the field of so-called Narrative Figuration. Arroyo has also created theatre and opera set designs, collages, sculpture, ceramics, prints, posters and illustrations, shaping an oeuvre filled with literary and autobiographical references that combine humour, criticism and a fascination with visual culture.  [M.G.M.]

Selected bibliography:

De Picasso a Bacon : arte contemporáneo en las colecciones del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. [Cat. exp.]. Segovia : Museo de Arte Contemporánea Esteban Vicente, 1999, p. 25.

Entre la figuración y la abstracción : arte contemporáneo en las colecciones del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao.[Cat. exp.]. Pamplona : Museo Navarra, 1999, p. 23.

Dos milenios en la historia de España: año 1000, año 2000. Madrid : Sociedad Estatal España Nuevo Milenio, 2000, pp. 370-371.

Marta García Maruri. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao : guía. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2011 (1ª ed. 2006; ed. inglés; ed. francés; ed. euskera), p. 201, n.º 144, ad vocem.

Annotated works