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    Description

    VALENTÍN DE ZUBIAURRE (Spanish, 1879-1963)
    Aqueduct of Segovia, circa 1920
    Oil on canvas
    32 x 38 inches (81.3 x 96.5 cm)
    Signed lower right: VALENTIN DE ZUBIAURRE :
    Titled and signed verso: Acueducto de Segova / V. Zubiaurre

    PROVENANCE:
    Dudensing Galleries, New York;
    Dallas Art Association, purchased from the above through the Munger Fund, 1926;
    The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, (1926.2.M), until circa 1985 when deaccessioned;
    Christie's, New York, October 30, 1985, lot 204 (partial label verso);
    Private collection, New York.

    EXHIBITED (all loans from the Dudensing Galleries):
    Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, "Spanish Paintings by Valentin and Ramon de Zubiaurre," October 1026, no. 30;
    Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Overton Park, Memphis, Tennessee, "Exhibition of Spanish Paintings," September 12-27, 1926, no. 30;
    Melrose Court, Dallas, Texas, "Paintings by the Brothers De Zubiaurre (Ramon & Valentin)," November 8-14, 1926, organized by the Dallas Art Association.

    Spanish painters Valentin and Ramon de Zubiaurre were the sons of Valentin de Zubiaurre, a Professor of Madrid's Music Conservatory and Director of the Royal Chapel there. Though they were born deaf and dumb, the two brothers soon started to draw and paint with extraordinary facility after a short training at the School of Fine Arts in Madrid. They then went to Paris where they were profoundly influenced by the paintings of their French contemporaries, whose Modernist tendencies are reflected in their simplification of form and composition into strong, basic geometries.

    Upon moving back to their Basque homeland in Northern Spain (Gavay/Vizcaya), Valentin and Ramon became famous for their depictions of Basque folklore, indigenous handicrafts that are featured in the foreground still lifes of their portraits, and societal characters. Their interest in regional Spanish subjects has affinity with the well-known paintings of their countryman, Sorolla. But unlike Sorolla who was interested, as John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini were, in describing his subjects with flashy bravura brushwork and its sparkling effects, the de Zubiaurre brothers emphasized the sculptural solidity of their forms with smooth application of paint. The difference in approach creates moods that are worlds apart. Many writers have associated the work of Valentin and Ramon with that of the Flemish primitives, not only because of their focus on peasant subjects, but because of their insistent realism and the additive nature of their compositions. Others see an association between the powerful stillness and austerity in their work and the brothers' deafness.

    Valentin's Aqueduct of Segovia was shown on a nationwide tour of the de Zubiaurre brothers' work mounted in the mid-1920s by the Dudensing Galleries of New York. In those days, works shown by art dealers in museum settings were for sale, as these were. When this painting was exhibited in 1926 by Dudensing Galleries in Dallas at the Melrose Court (now the Warwick Melrose Hotel on Oak Lawn), it was purchased by the Dallas Art Association. A work very similar in subject to this painting by Ramon de Zubiaurre, entitled Typos de Segovia, but with a different still life and the male and female flanking figures reversed, sold at auction at Sotheby's, London, June 21, 1989, lot 636 (oil on canvas, 99 x 99 inches). A comparison of the two similar compositions illustrates that Valentin's work has a greater sophistication in its draftsmanship and finish.

    A writer for Art Digest wrote appreciatively of Valentin's depictions of Castilian subjects [including Segovia] in January 1921, p. 173: "The most remarkable thing in [his] work...is the value acquired by the color of his buildings. Castile, with its astounding twilights, has filled Valentin de Zubiaurre with the intoxication of its flaming skies, stretching wide over the parched lands below them. The clouds, so red, so inconceivably red...and the soil implacably yellow or light brown and the sharp greens of the women's skirts, and the cloaks of the men, with their big round hats, so obstinately sombre--all these, with the abrupt standing-out of the silhouettes against the bare, wild landscape, have served to form, little by little, surely, and for always, the palette of an artist the meditation of whose vision of things amounts to an act of faith. And even in works [that] are not due to direct contact with Castile itself, there is an exaltation which reflects the colour of Castile, with its blood-red night-falls. Certain of Nature's magnificences have never been better expressed..."

    Many thanks to Leigh Arnold, Research Project Coordinator, Department of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art, for her kind assistance in researching the provenance and exhibition history for this lot at the DMA. We are also grateful to Christine Edmondson, librarian at the Ingalls Library, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio for her generous assistance in securing research materials relevant to the American tour of the de Zubiaurre brothers' work staged by the Dudensing Galleries during the 1920s.




    Condition Report*: Canvas is slightly loose on stretcher; scattered minor frame abrasions; two 3.5-inch linear lines of craquelure above artist's signature with another to the right; two minor dents with slight paint-loss on woman's hairline; scattered areas of very faint craquelure; small area of in-painting on woman's wris; otherwise in good condition.   Framed Dimensions 40 X 46 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    8th Tuesday
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