Santiago Rusiñol

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Santiago Rusiñol i Prats
Rusiñol in 1892
Born(1861-02-25)25 February 1861
Died13 June 1931(1931-06-13) (aged 70)
Aranjuez, Spain
EducationStudio of Tomás Moragas
Known forPainting, Poetry, Theater
Spouse(s)Lluïsa Denís[1]

Santiago Rusiñol i Prats (Catalan: [səntiˈaɣu ruziˈɲɔl], Spanish: [santiˈaɣo rusiˈɲol]; Barcelona 25 February 1861 – Aranjuez 13 June 1931) was a Spanish painter, poet, journalist, collector[disambiguation needed] and playwright. He was one of the leaders of the Catalan modernisme movement.[2] He created more than a thousand paintings and wrote over a hundred titles in Catalan and Spanish, plus an extensive number of articles. All of which places him as a decisive reference in art, literature, and aesthetic ideals of the turn of the twentieth century.

He influenced Pablo Picasso as a modern artist.[1]

Life and friends[edit]

1951 Spanish 50 peseta banknote, showing Rusiñol

He was born in Barcelona into a textile industrialists' family from Manlleu, where they owned the Rusiñol textile mill town, known as Can Ramissa. His father was Joan Rusiñol i Andreu and his mother, from Barcelona, Amàlia Prats i Caravent. Santiago Rusiñol appeared in his registration in the civil registry with the names of Jaume -James- (not Santiago), Jacint, Lluís and baptized in the church of Sant Cugat del Rec close to Barcelona. Although he inherited the family business, his interest in painting art began to take shape during his adolescence. On June 19, 1886, he married Lluïsa Denís i Reverter. In this marriage registry at the Civil Registry of Barcelona, Rusiñol reappears with the name of Jaume. The following year, his daughter, Maria Agustina, was born, but a few months later, his restless nature, lack of interest in the family business, and desire to paint, travel, and discover the world took him away from his own family. Santiago handed over the company's management to his brother Albert. Albert became a well-known businessman and politician, deputy and senator. From the moment he gives the factory's control to this brother, Santiago began to travel through Catalonia and Spain, France and Italy. Travel will be a constant in the life of the artist.

In 1888, he affirmed himself as a writer, regularly collaborating with articles in the newspaper La Vanguardia. In 1889 he broke off the family's relationship, a rupture that lasted ten years; however, he kept in touch with his daughter. In 1889 he went to study in Paris, where he lived for long periods during the first half of the nineties, a crucial period in his creative career.

In 1893 he set up his studio in Sitges, known as the Cau Ferrat, to collect the antique irons it contains. The town became a modernist reference point for artists, writers and musicians promoted by Rusiñol, who organized modernist festivals, combining theatre, poetry, painting and music, also known as Gesamtkunstwerk. At the same time, the artist consolidated his talents as a writer, and from the beginning of the 1890s, he wrote narrative works and poems in prose. Some of his novels were adapted and performed in the theatre, such as L'auca del senyor Esteve, written in 1907 and released a few years later.

In 1899, due to a severe illness, he was reunited with his wife. When he got better, he went back to France to detoxify from the morphine addiction with her and his daughter. A year later, he underwent surgery that left him with only one kidney, marking a new vital stage in his career. In 1903, he was considered a renowned artist.  In the first decade of the twentieth century, he consolidated his prestige as a prolific painter and writer, both in Barcelona and throughout Spain and Paris. He received more awards and nominations. In France, he got official recognition in 1908 when he became a Member of the Paris Salon.

Iron door knockers from the great hall of the Cau Ferrat
Iron knockers from the Cau Ferrat Collection

In the following two decades, he received significant recognition while acquiring undeniable prestige in Barcelona despite the rejection of the new Noucentista artists and critics, notably the art critic Eugeni d'Ors, who wrote in the newspaper La Veu de Catalunya. In 1917, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government. He received his last tribute in Sitges in 1926. He died in Aranjuez in 1931. The Spanish Republic's provisional government ordered an official funeral in Madrid, which the president, Manuel Azaña, head and was later buried in Barcelona.

Rusiñol was an active part of his time's culture and enriched it with his personality, ideas, and opinions, which he strongly defended, even with controversy or polemic. He was also part of the famous social gatherings of the Els Quatre Gats brewery on Carrer de Montsió in Barcelona run by Pere Romeu. Inspired by Le Chat Noir that they had known in Paris, it became the privileged setting for the ideological demonstrations of the turn of the century, a place of social gathering and an alternative art room. A good friend of his friends, he was associated with the most prominent artistic and intellectual personalities of the time, such as writers Monsignor Cinto Verdaguer and Pompeu Fabra, Valle-Inclán and Benito Pérez Galdós, the musicians Enric Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Enric Morera, Erik Satie and Manuel de Falla, and painters such as Darío de Regoyos, Ignacio Zuloaga and Joaquim Mir, among many others. However, he had the longest and strongest friendship with the painter Ramon Casas and the sculptor Enric Clarasó, with whom he formed an artistic trio that lasted until his death.

Pictorial Artwork[edit]

He enrolled the atelier of the painter Tomàs Moragas, Centro de Aquarelistas de Barcelona where he learned drawing and various techniques, such as oil and watercolour. He had his first exhibition at the Sala Parés, in Barcelona, in 1879, in a collective exhibition; he participated with a small painting of a studio's interior with the figure of a model. Here he met the painter Joaquim Vayreda, who specialized in the landscape. Vayreda inspired Rusiñol to explore nature's representation, not to copy it, but to interpret it, as the painter from Olot does. It adopts this topic as opposed to historical themes, which at the time were fashionable

Pont sobre un riu (1884). Barcelona: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Estany legacy

The painting El bosque is an example of this theme. At this time, he was also interested in the human figure, keeping with the time's tendency. The appetite for literary themes is represented in the painting Fausto, and the taste for the exotic, in Peregrino, exhibited at the Sala Parés 1880. Note that this will be the gallery in Barcelona where he usually displays throughout life.

In 1882 he took part in the first exhibition of the Acadèmia de Belles Arts de Sabadell.

In 1883 he discovered the urban landscape from Joan Roig i Soler's paintings, technical perfection and interpretive freedom that impressed him. This motivated him to paint Port of Barcelona, and then he made other compositions of old Barcelona, such as Racó de Santa Maria del Mar (1885) or La plaça del Born (1885). Rusiñol evolved but remained interested in realism, and during the years 1887 and 1888, he added characters to the landscape. Paint scenes related to work and corners of the urban landscape with characters in natural attitudes or daily tasks. Good examples are Pedrera de Montjuïc or Cargolada. These works, which he exhibits at the Parés Gallery, are described as naturalistic and, in general, have a good acceptance from critics. Art critics such as Frederic Rahola, who published in the newspaper La Vanguardia, praise the painter.

All through Rusiñol's life, painting and depicting natural spaces from the Catalan geography is entwined. There are several escapades of the artist in the town of Arbúcies and around Montseny. The relationship between Rusiñol and Arbúcies reflects in numerous paintings.

The year

1888 was significant for Rusiñol's career because he had his first solo exhibition in the Parés Gallery, published articles in the newspaper La Vanguardia, exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon [6] and participated in the Exhibition Universal of Barcelona. [27] During this time, he became interested in the real human figure, not the early years' literary. He began painting portraits, such as that of his friend Ramon Casas. In search of modernity, he wanted to capture the dignity of figures; the compositions are cleaner and give less importance to the secondary elements.

Much of his work in Paris belonged to the Symbolism painting style. While there, he also attended the Gervex Academy, where he discovered his love for modernism[citation needed]. After returning to Spain, he settled in Sitges, founding a studio/museum named Cau Ferrat. When back in Barcelona, he was a frequent client of the café Els Quatre Gats, noted for its association with modernisme and the young Pablo Picasso. He went to Mallorca with the painter Joaquin Mir Trinxet,[3] where they met the mystic Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques in 1899.[4]

He was most known for his plays, and landscape and garden paintings. He died in Aranjuez in 1931 while painting its famous gardens

Written work[edit]

Poetry and prose[edit]

The frame of Rusiñol's written work is the modernist literature; the same author described it in Life Pages (Fulls de Vida), in which he expressed:

"A severe art that does not dazzle the poor in spirit with wardrobe and chrome fabrics and silks. A spiritual art, full of original delicacies and beautiful watermarks. An art that we would like to see admired in our home, and of which we would become the first devotees and the last artists. »

- Fulls de Vida, To the reader.

Walking Around the World (1896) is the compilation of his writings between 1893 and 1898, a book that contains poems in prose and other texts that outline the modern artist's model.

Life Pages (Fulls de Vida) 1898 is a collection of short stories of a decadent type that are his inspiration for plays he wrote later.

Theatre play scripts[edit]

His shows are drama-comedy situations. There is a scene where the main character deals with the bourgeois society, with clear autobiographical overtones, which invites confusion between his public and private life. Santiago Rusiñol's stage play is a crucial part of his literary creation. Rusiñol was one of the greatest exponents of the golden bohemia of Catalan modernism. As a playwright, he contributed to constructing the contemporary Catalan culture thanks to his critical and distant view of his prevalent society and the structure of the modern artist's image. He is its paradigm. Considered the great theatrical renovator, as an introducer of Parisian freshness to overcome the swamped Catalan Theatre. Until then, the plays had failed to go beyond the most localist customs and where the theatre was a mere entertainment and meeting place to foster social relations. Rusiñol worked in all theatrical forms: monologues, lyrical theatre, drama, melodramas, skits, puppet theatre and vaudeville, and eventually became the most devoted playwright of the Catalan scene.





  • Terraced Garden in Mallorca (1904)
  • Terraced Garden in Mallorca (1911) – different painting

Not chronologically listed:

  • After the War. The Sad Home
  • Alley in Genoa
  • Avenue of Plained Trees
  • Balcony with Flowers and Curtain
  • Before the Morphine
  • Blue Courtyard, Aryens de Munt
  • Boats on the Seine
  • Bridge Over a River
  • La Butte
  • Café Montmartre
  • Calvary of Sagunto
  • The Countryside
  • The Countryside by the Castle
  • Garden of Montmartre
  • Gardens of Aranjuez (1907)
  • Girona
  • Entrance to the Park of Moulin de la Galette
  • Female Figure
  • Figure Study
  • Fulls de la Vida
  • Garden of Montmartre
  • Gardens of the Generalife
  • Interior of the Café
  • Interior of the Víznar Palace
  • Jardio Senyorial
  • Laboratory of La Galette
  • The Landing Stage
  • Landscape
  • Laughing Girl
  • Madeleine
  • Maples (Platans)
  • Montmartre Cemetery
  • Montserrat
  • Moulin de La Galette
  • Moulin de La Galette – Shooting Gallery
  • Moulin de La Galette – Ticket Seller
  • Moulin de La Galette – Waiting for Customers
  • On Campaign
  • Park
  • Portrait of a Boy
  • Portrait of Ramon Casas
  • Portrait of Ricard Planells
  • Portrait of Erik Satie at the Harmonium
  • Portrait of Utrillo (two images)
  • A Romance
  • Romantic Novel
  • Rouen Street, France
  • Sant Benet de Bages Cloister
  • Senyor Quer in the Garden
  • Sitges Interior
  • Sóller Mallorca
  • Son Moragues
  • Summer Shower
  • Valley with Oranges
  • White Farmhouse, Bunyola, Majorca


  • Concert Musicians
  • Conde de Cabra. Sr. Garro
  • Copy from a Wrought Iron Lamp from Nicolas Grosso
  • Farming
  • Farmer with Barretina
  • Farmer Types
  • Figure Study and Study of a Dog
  • Figures Study
  • Figures Study – second drawing
  • Gardens of the Generalife – different drawing than to the painting
  • Gateway Arch and Wall, Granada
  • Grove
  • Head of a Man Smoking a Pipe
  • Head of an Old Man
  • Landscape, City Outskirts
  • El mascaró de proa
  • Open-air Tea
  • Pisa Cemetery
  • Portrait of a Man – six different sketches
  • Portrait of Pere Ferran
  • Portrait of Carles Mani
  • Portrait of Genís Muntaner
  • Portrait of Salvador Robert
  • Portrait of Alfred Sainati
  • Portrait of the Sculptor Carles Mani and Painter Pere Ferran
  • Rustic Courtyard
  • Seated Girl
  • Seated Man from Behind
  • Sketch of Erik Satie playing a harmonium
  • Sketch from Life
  • Sketch of a Port
  • Study of a Garden
  • Study of a Male Head – four different sketches
  • Study of a Woman and Children
  • Study of Children and Figures of Men
  • The Virgin from the "Vision of St. Bernard" by Filippo Lippi, based on a painting by Filippo Lippi
  • View of Barcelona Port
  • Village Street, Granada
  • Waiting for Customers
  • Washing Place Interior

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Isabel Coll, 2000.p 62
  2. ^ Martín Bourgon, María Teresa. "Rusiñol y Prats, Santiago - Museo Nacional del Prado". Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  3. ^ El archiduque Luis Salvador, Rubén Darío y Santiago Rusiñol en Mallorca
  4. ^ Sureda, Joan (1998-10-27). Book mentioning Casa Trinxet. ISBN 9788446008149. Retrieved 2012-08-11.

Further reading[edit]

  • Vázquez, Oscar E., "Beauty Buried in its Own Cemetery: Santiago Rusiñol's 'Jardins d'Espanya' as Reliquaries of Aristocratic History." Word & Image 2, no.1 (January–March, 1995), 61–76

External links[edit]