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José Arpa (Spanish, 1860-1952)


Also known as:  Arpa y Pérez, José; Arpa, José; Perea, José Arpa; José Arpa Perea

Birth Place: Spain


Jose Arpa was a Spanish artist who specialized in watercolor and oil landscape paintings of the American Southwest and Mexico. Born to a cobbler, Arpa was sent at a young age to Seville to study at the Academia Real de Bellas Artes. He became a house painter and attended art classes in the evening. He won the prestigious Rome Prize three times, bounced back and forth between Seville and Carmona, and eventually ended up traveling to Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1895.

This is where Arpa’s career truly began. Already an established artist, Arpa toured Mexico, Texas, and the American Southwest where he developed his trademark landscape style. Full of bold colors and soft brush strokes, these paintings were extremely evocative and have only gained popularity as the decades passed. Whether it’s an oil painting, watercolor, or a sketch an Arpa piece is pregnant with emotion, color, and personal human experience. His canvases brim over with a lust for life that makes every Arpa - no matter the form - instantly recognizable. 

What type of art did Jose Arpa Create?

Jose Arpa was an artist and painter most famous for his landscapes of Texas. While born in Spain, Arpa traveled to Mexico around the turn of the 20th century where he spent many decades painting extremely vivid and realistic landscape paintings. His use of color and ability to capture light - especially at sunset - has made his paintings popular in both the critical and popular art worlds. 

How often do Jose Arpa paintings come up for auction?

Jose Arpa’s work is in high demand for many collectors, as such it is hard to obtain a significant Arpa painting. This is due to a number of different factors. His populist art form resonates with even casual collectors, his relatively low artistic output drives up value, and the fact that Arpa represents a niche market in the art scene. 

How much is a Jose Arpa painting worth?

Famous landscape paintings by Jose Arpa have sold for as little as $29,000, but often reach as high as $250,000. His portraits typically sell in the low to tens of thousands of dollars. Many larger auction houses don’t sell Arpa’s work, so a potential collector often has to contact multiple smaller regional sellers in Texas and the surrounding areas. 

Which Jose Arpa painting is the most valuable? 

Jose Arpa’s Rock Quarry (unknown) was sold at auction for $245,000 in 2007. This piece hasn’t been sold again but is expected to have appreciated greatly since then. The painting is a vintage Arpa, depicting an idyllic scene of rural San Antonio at the turn of the century. Arpa’s trademark colors and soft brush strokes are on full display. It was sold by the David Dike Fine Art gallery. 

What are the most famous paintings by Jose Arpa? 

Jose Arpa’s most famous works include Puenta de Sevilla en Carmona Spain, Andalusian Woman with Guitar, and Rocky Quarry. Most of these are watercolor paintings depicting a traditional Arpa landscape, but a few (like Andalusian Woman with Guitar) are oil on canvas portraits. 

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José Arpa Original Art values sold at auction

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