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Annotated works

MAEZTU, Gustavo de

(Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1887-Estella-Lizarra, Navarra, 1947)

The Blind Man of Calatañazor

Oil on canvas

151 x 161 cm

c. 1915

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

N.° inv. 82/61

1917an eskuratua


MAEZTU, Gustavo de on Online collection

The figure of the blind man that gives the painting its name appears in the centre of the composition and takes up much of the pictorial space, creating a monumental pyramid that blends into the landscape and conceals it. This painting is the most significant of Maeztu's first mature works.

Inspired by the vision of rural Spain portrayed by the writers of the Generation of '98 movement, in this picture Maeztu presents a stereotyped view of Castilian reality that reveals the influence of late Symbolism and decorativism, two features of his oeuvre. Maeztu's talent as a draughtsman and his bold use of colour enabled him to render the chromatic effects of enamel and ceramics on canvas. His work is pervaded by a strange sensuousness, emphasised by the tactile synthesis of his modelling, almost sculptural, and his impastos.

Brother of the writer Ramiro de Maeztu, Gustavo settled at a very early age in Bilbao, where he took up an apprenticeship with the painter Manuel Losada. In 1907 he made his first trip to Paris, where he met up with fellow artists Durrio, Zuloaga and Anglada Camarasa. The work of the latter would exert a great influence on Maeztu, alongside the classical Spanish painting he saw at the Louvre, as a result of which his oeuvre would be almost impervious to contemporary avant-garde trends. In 1911 he played an active part in setting up the Association of Basque Artists, and in 1937 he moved to Estella, where his painting extolled the ideas and the figures of the victors of the Spanish Civil War.  [J.V.]

Selected bibliography:

Javier Viar. Guía de Artistas Vascos. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008 (1ª ed. 2008; ed. inglés), pp. 92- 93, n.º 44, ad vocem.

Estanislao Mª de Aguirre. Gustavo de Maeztu. Estella-Lizarra : Museo Gustavo de Maeztu, 2011, p. 46. (reproducido, como obra del Museo) (Edición facsimil de la publicada en 1922).

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), p. 149, n.º 105, ad vocem.

Annotated works