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    José Arpa Perea (Spanish, 1858-1952)
    Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas, 1922
    Oil on canvas
    53-1/4 x 45-1/2 inches (135.3 x 115.6 cm)
    Signed, dated, and inscribed lower left: J Arpa / Texas 1922

    José Arpa y Perea (1858-1952) opened a studio in San Antonio around 1901 and became an important part of the San Antonio school. Born in Carmona, the son of a cobbler, Arpa began studying part-time at the Academia des Bellas Artes (Academy of Fine Arts) in Seville, Spain, in 1868. He became a full-time student by 1876, and from 1882 to 1886 painted in Rome. Returning to Spain in 1886, Arpa sent paintings as part of the Spanish contingent for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where Impressionism was all the rage. He traveled to San Antonio, Texas, in 1899, and exhibited in the San Antonio International Fair in 1900. Arpa met Robert and Julian Onderdonk and divided his time between Mexico, Spain, and San Antonio until 1923, when he founded a painting school in San Antonio. Arpa continued to exhibit frequently at museums and galleries throughout Texas as well as New York and Spain. He won the "Texas Prize" at the Texas Wildflower Exhibition in 1927, and exhibited in the remaining two "Davis Competitions" in 1928 and 1929. Arpa permanently returned to Spain in 1931.
    The leading Arpa scholar, Carmen Rodríguez Serrano of the Universidad de Sevilla, places him with the "School of Alcalá," a group "of painters who met around 1890 around the figure of Emilio Sánchez Perrier, to paint en plein air along the Guadaira River and la Vega of Carmona, in the province of Sevilla." Serrano acknowledges that Arpa was already experimenting with plein air painting in Spain after his return from Rome in 1886. The Alcalá painters became known as the "Spanish Barbizon" and its members included Manuel García Rodríguez, José Lafita and José Rico Cejudo, among others."
    Arpa continued to paint en plein air after he relocated to Mexico in 1899 where he depicted the tropical Veracruzano landscape near Puebla and Xalisco, as well as the landscapes of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Unlike the pot-boiler landscapes so prevalent in Texas art today, this "sunshine man" made each depiction unique, often in subtle ways. Arpa further embraced French Impressionist tenets through his consistent use of a strong diagonal orientation of the horizon line and off-balance compositions in his landscapes. These "plunging perspectives" and "asymmetrical juxtapositions" influenced by photography and Japanese prints affected the French Impressionists, then filtered down to Spain, and through Arpa to Texas.
    After founding his own painting school at San Antonio in 1923, Arpa began teaching classes en plein air at Bandera, Texas, northwest of San Antonio in 1926. He also played a major role in the "Texas Artists Colony," a plein air painting school at Christoval, Texas. Thus, in Arpa's plein air paintings such as Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, he dabs and thrusts chunks of color with heavy impastos and changes of direction. The result is complex surface treatments, especially in the foregrounds of his paintings -- coupled with plunging perspectives and cropped forms as seen in the tree at right of Brackenridge Park. Arpa makes a compelling contribution to early Texas art and American Impressionist painting.

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; craquelure and minor surface grime; faint frame wear; under UV light, there appears to be one small spot of inpaint at top center edge; Framed Dimensions 61 X 52.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2018
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,176

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