Spotlight: ‘Sevilla En Fiestas’ by Gustavo Bacarisas
Gustavo Bacarisas (Gibraltar, 1873 – Seville, 1971) isn’t well known internationally, but in the context of 20th century Sevillian art, he’s a star.
Not only is Bacarisas prominent in Spain’s art story, he also beautifully represents the passion, colour, drama, mood and flavour of Sevillian culture through his paintings. Now who doesn’t like a bit of party and passion?
Bacarisas loved painting nighttime scenes especially of people – dancers, musicians, citizens – and he uses light and colour to tell his story. What a feast for the eyes – literally and figuratively. There is a great lyricism to his work – the flow and energy weave through colour and shape on the canvas.
This painting ‘Sevilla En Fiestas’ is an excellent example of this. Vibrant flamenco dancers with voluptuous dresses, mantillas and fans bustle out of the canvas. In all their glory, the ladies rule the roost in this composition – definite, strong, fierce – while the sketchy background fades into the darkness with mystery. The whole composition is warm, dramatic, rich…… seductive, hearty and passionate, this vignette is an ode to the lifestyle of these people.
Bacrisas was a fairly forward-thinking painter for his time, overcoming 19th century conventions to develop a very personal, expressive, colourful and loose style. It is clear to see influences by the Fauves such as Derain, the Impressionists such as Monet, and Modernists such as Matisse. Moreover, the colour and light on the canvas make us want to be part of the scene, and so create an informal conversation between viewer and subject within the painting. The scene feels ‘real’ and we can imagine being part of the crowd at this fiesta. Much of the charm of this artist is how he so ably brings his early 20th Century society and his era alive with flair and vibrancy for us to enjoy today.
This work is shown in the Seville Fine Art Museum.