José Arpa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
José Arpa y Perea
Born(1858-02-19)February 19, 1858
DiedOctober 1952 (aged 94)
EducationAcademia Real des Bellas Artes, Seville; Eduardo Cano de la Peña; Academia des Bellas Artes, Rome
Known forLandscape Painting
MovementEarly Texas, Costumbrista

José Arpa y Perea, 1858–1952, was an artist of Spanish birth who worked in Spain, Mexico, and Texas and was noted for his Costumbrista studies and his landscapes of Texas.[1][2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Arpa was born in Carmona, Spain on 19 February 1858, into a very modest family. His father was a cobbler. He displayed a talent for drawing at a young age and was apprenticed to a local painter and decorater. In 1868, he was sent to Seville to study at the Academia Real des Bellas Artes (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts). There, he worked as a house painter during the day, and attended art classes in the evenings. Later, he studied under Eduardo Cano de la Peña at the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, where he won the Rome Prize three times, allowing him to study at the Academia des Bellas Artes in Rome.[4]

On his return to Seville, he found that the internationally renowned Spanish painter, Marià Fortuny was also working in Seville at the same time. Although the pair probably never met, Fortuny became a major influence on Arpa's work. On account of that influence, he developed a preference for 'plein air' paintings of typical Spanish subjects, which at the time was known in Spain as 'costumbrismo'. He remained in Seville for nine years, where he made many paintings, sketches and also completed a series of ceiling decorations in the Circulo Mercantil Sevilla (Seville Mercantile Building).[5]

In late 1895 or early 1896, by which time he had become an established artist, Arpa sailed from Spain to Vera Cruz, Mexico and from there travelled to Texas. During his years in San Antonio, Texas he influenced many painters, most notably Xavier Gonzalez, Octavio Medellín, and Porfirio Salinas.[4][6]

He exhibited and sold paintings in each of the places where he lived.


He painted in a realistic style, and was especially noted for his use of brilliant colors and his expertise in capturing the visual effects of sunlight.[4] His work has been widely exhibited;[7] ten of his paintings are in the collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art.[4] He has been described both as an Orientalist and a Spanish impressionist.

Select list of works

  • Puenta de Sevilla en Carmona Spain, Sketch
  • Carnival De Ichu, [Peruvian Festival], Watercolor
  • Escena Callejera, [Alley Scene], Watercolor
  • El Monasterio, [The Monastery], Pencil drawing
  • Ciudad italiana, [Italian City], Ink drawing
  • Andalusian Woman with Guitar, Oil on canvas
  • Cactus FlowersOil on canvas


  1. ^ Mantle Fielding. 1945. Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers. New York: Struck, 1945; revised in 1983, Glenn B. Opitz, ed. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Apollo Books.
  2. ^ Caroline Remy. 2011. "ARPA, JOSE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed September 25, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  3. ^ Jacinto Quirarte. 1973. Mexican American Artists. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  4. ^ a b c d Remy, 2011.
  5. ^ Caso, E. D., Les Orientalistes de l'Ecole Espagnole, ACR edition, 1997, p. 272
  6. ^ Ruth Goddard. 1975. Porfirio Salinas. Austin: Rock House Press.
  7. ^ Frances Battaile Fisk. 1928. A History of Texas Artists and Sculptors. Abilene, Tex.: privately printed; reprinted by Morrison Books, Austin, Tex., 1986.