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Annotated works

GUIARD, Adolfo

(Bilbao, 1860-1916)

El cho [The Ship’s Boy]

Oil on canvas

62 x 41 cm

1887

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

N.° inv. 82/32

Contributed by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia in 1923

Country Girl with a Red Carnation

Oil on canvas

73 x 60 cm

1903

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

N.° inv. 82/31

Contributed by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia in 1913


GUIARD, Adolfo on Online collection

Despite the sixteen-year gap between the execution of The Ship's Boy and The Little Village Girl with a Red Carnation the two paintings have a number of common features. Both works reflect the world of child labour and their main figures, transformed by the artist into icons of a particular working class, convey a dramatic tenderness. Both figures are surrounded by a changing landscape, expressed by the coexistence of surviving sailing boats and steamers. Furthermore, The LittleVillage Girl with a Red Carnation depicts a rural enclave that would soon be absorbed by the urban expansion of Bilbao.

Adolfo's younger brother Teófilo Guiard, who would become a well-known historian and archivist, posed for The Ship's Boy, where the artist's interest in drawing is more obvious. The figure—an idle cabin boy displaced by sea life—is caught unawares, silhouetted against the background. The figure in The Little Village Girl with a Red Carnation, on the other hand, is not confined by the drawing despite the expressive profile, and its plasticity is more pictorial. The predominant blue colour creates an enveloping atmosphere into which bursts the red of the carnation, producing a strangely sensuous effect at the heart of the innocent poverty, ennobled by the caryatid-like presence of the figure, unable to dispel the immense sadness in her gaze and her circumstances. The nostalgia of travel present in The Ship's Boy forms a sharp contrast with the importance granted in The Little Village Girl with a Red Carnation to the immediate land that held such a fascination for the painter.

Adolfo Guiard was the first Basque artist of his generation to visit Paris in 1878—even before the Catalan painters Rusiñol and Casas—after having studied in Bilbao and Barcelona. In the French capital his relationship with Degas brought him into contact with a form of Impressionism based on delicate draughtsmanship that did not, however, make him renounce the deep-rooted sense of reality he had learnt from his friend Émile Zola. From the time he returned to Bilbao in 1885 or 1886 Guiard cultivated plein air painting characterised by a light palette, the main subject matters of which were the rural life and landscape of Biscay.  [J.V.]

Selected bibliography (El cho [The Ship's Boy]):

Javier González de Durana Isusi. Adolfo Guiard : estudio biográfico, análisis estético, catalogación de su obra. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa ; Caja de Ahorros Vizcaina, 1984, Sección pintura pp. 47 y 201,  n. º 67.

Javier Viar. Guía de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008 (1ª ed. 2008; ed. inglés), p. 40, n.º 16, ad vocem.

Javier González de Durana Isusi. 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. 456-458, n.º 99, ad vocem.

Jose Luis Merino Gorospe. Itsasoa artean, itsaroaren artea : Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoko Bilduma = El mar en el arte, el arte del mar : colección del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Bilboko Itsasadarra Itsas Museoa = Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao, 2010, p. 23.

Javier Viar. 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. 120 y 121, n.º 83a, ad vocem.

Selected bibliography(Country Girl with a Red Carnation)

Javier González de Durana Isusi,. Adolfo Guiard : estudio biográfico, análisis estético, catalogación de su obra. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa ; Caja de Ahorros Vizcaína, 1984, Sección Pintura, pp. 143 y 208, n.º 143.

Pilar Mur Pastor. La Asociación de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa ; Caja de Ahoros Vizcaína, 1985, p. 272.

Xesqui Castañer López. La imagen de la mujer en la plástica vasca contemporánea, s. XVIII-XX : aproximación a una metodología del género. Bilbao : Universidad del País Vasco = Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, 1993, pp. 44 y 91.

Javier Viar. Guía de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008 (1ª ed. 2008; ed. inglés), p. 40, n.º 16, ad vocem.

Javier González de Durana Isusi. 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. 472-474, n.º 104, ad vocem.

Javier Viar. 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. 120 y 121, n.º 83b, ad vocem.

Annotated works