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Annotated works

ECHEVARRÍA, Juan de

(Bilbao, 1875-Madrid, 1931)

Vase with Bananas, Lemons and Books

Oil on canvas

125,5 x 104 cm

c. 1917

Basque Artists (19th Century - Mid-20th Century)

N.° inv. 82/120

Acquired in 1962


ECHEVARRÍA, Juan de on Online collection

Alongside portraiture and landscape painting, the still life was one of Echevarría's favourite genres, and over the course of his career he barely introduced variations either in his choice or in his arrangement of the motifs—vases filled with flowers, books, fabrics, prints or paintings by artists he admired. The vase, usually made of pottery and pot-bellied, was a key feature in his compositions, both in the still lifes in which it was the only object depicted and in other more complex versions. In this work on a table covered in a decorative cloth the artist has placed a jar filled with chrysanthemums, pansies and other flowers, and a fruit bowl filled with lemons. These motifs are surrounded by books, notebooks, other pieces of fruit and fabrics, as well as embroidered and patterned fabrics. The latter divide the composition diagonally in two, favouring the organisation of the spatial planes that succeed one another, starting from the pile of books in the lower right corner, all the way to the rear wall decorated with floral wallpaper on which hangs a print. The motley composition presents a chromatic unity based on different shades of blue and violet.

Although he trained as an industrial engineer, in 1902 Echevarría decided to become a painter. The following year he travelled with Iturrino to Paris, where he met Durrio and discovered the work of Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. He exhibited to great acclaim at the Salons d'Automne of 1911 and 1912 and then travelled throughout Europe before returning permanently to Spain in 1914. Echevarría painted in Andalusia and Castile, portraying marginalised characters and producing an oeuvre close to the intellectual and moral concerns of the Generation of '98 movement. As a portraitist he made likenesses of practically all the intellectuals, writers and artists linked to this literary group.  [M.A.]

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, pp. 50-51.

Juan de Echevarría, 1875-1931. [Cat. exp.]. Madrid ; Bilbao : Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida ; Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa = Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2004, p. 125.

Miriam Alzuri. Guía de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008 (1ª ed. 2008; ed. inglés), pp. 69- 70, n.º 31, ad vocem.

Arte japonés y japonismo. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2014,  pp. 34, 36, il. 8.
Miriam Alzuri. 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. 148, n.º 104, ad vocem.

Annotated works