In August 1901 Beruete settled in Quimperlé, a town located in a valley by the coast of Brittany. From a small bridge known as Pont Salé he painted from life this view of the river Isole as it flows through the city, a spot that has barely changed since then. As a fine plein air painter, Beruete was especially interested in light; in this view he captures a bright day on which the sun falls on the wall of a house situated in the background of the composition, one of the brightest parts of the painting. He achieves beautiful contrasts between the areas of light and shade using a direct technique of smooth brushstrokes, limiting his impastos and applying light touches to the brightest points. Beruete renders the beauty of the place by means of a transitional technique between his sober, elegant and well-balanced style and an incipient Impressionism, which didn't interest him at first but which he would adopt in his late works.
The canvas Madrid Seen from El Pardo was painted eight years after the view of the river Isole. Beruete often sought inspiration in the bright skies of the outskirts of Madrid and the Guadarrama mountain range, places he explored tirelessly in a constant desire to paint after his lengthy sojourns abroad, choosing on this occasion the view of Madrid from mount El Pardo. Beneath a cloudy sky a subtle range of green shades forms the landscape. A sombre foreground gives way to a field on which the sun seems to reappear and falls with special intensity on the buildings of Madrid. All this is rendered in incredibly free-flowing impasto brushstrokes, as is typical of the works produced by Beruete in the last decade of his career when he more obviously favoured Impressionism, albeit seeking a balance between this trend and his own more realistic aesthetics.
Born in a well-to-do Madrid family, Beruete was man of great culture. After reading Law and becoming a member of parliament, he devoted himself to painting. His master Carlos de Haes persuaded him to paint out of doors, while his enthusiasm for art and his travelling spirit drove him to undertake continuous journeys throughout Spain and Europe. Beruete, whose painting was awarded various national and international prizes, was also a prominent art collector and a notable critic and writer. [A.S.L.]
Selected bibliography (The River Isole[Quimperlé]):
Ana Sánchez-Lassa. De Goya a Gauguin : el siglo XIX en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008, pp. 327-329, n.º 63, ad vocem.
El Modernismo : de Sorolla à Picasso, 1880-1918 [Cat. exp.]. Laussane : Fondation de l'Hermitage, 2011, pp. 28, 152-153, n.º 7.
Ana Sánchez-Lassa. 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), pp. 112 y 113, n.º 78a, ad vocem.
Selected bibliography (View of Madrid from the Plantío de los Infantes or Madrid Seen from El Pardo):
Tres grandes maestros del paisaje decimonónico español : Jenaro Pérez Villaamil, Carlos de Haes, Aureliano de Beruete. [Cat. exp.]. Madrid : Ayuntamiento, Concejalía de Cultura, 1990, pp. 402-403, n. º 110.
Ana Sánchez-Lassa. De Goya a Gauguin : el siglo XIX en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008, pp. 330-332, n.º 64, ad vocem.
Ana Sánchez-Lassa. 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), pp. 112 y 113, n.º 78b, ad vocem.