Eliseo Meifrén y  Roig ( Barcelona, 1857 – 1940)

Meifrén was born in Barcelona in 1857 and began his career at La Lonja, the Academy of Arts in Barcelona under Antonio Caba Casamitjana (1838-1907). After his return from Italy he specialised in landscapes which he frequently showed at the National Exhibitions of Barcelona and Madrid. Not long after his return from Paris, where he had moved in 1879, he won his first gold medal in a regional exhibition in Valencia. From then on, his name as an artist was established and he became a prominent figure in the artistic circles of Barcelona and a fundamental artist in the Catalan School.

Although Meifrén was influenced by his Spanish colleagues from the Olot School and the Sitges group, and from foreign influences of the Barbizon School and Impressionists, he never really belonged to one group or style.

1875-90 was a period of experimentation for Meifrén. The present work, painted in 1889, shows a few characteristics of that period: a signature in capitals with a distinctive M and a date. Prominent also are the two most important elements throughout his career, the sea and sky and its incessant movements. He made great efforts to depict the movement of water and the delicacy of the sky, their corresponding changes in tone and had no difficulty in capturing the details of the unlimited space as well as the changes in nature.

Meifrén reduced the human element in his works and only a few pictures incorporate figures, such as the Puerto de Barcelona, to lay emphasis on the overwhelming space and the grandeur of nature.

Miquel y Badia the famous art critic of El Brusi spoke very highly of the Puerto de Barcelona for which Meifrén received a bronze medal in the Exposition Universal in Paris, 1889; the year of his first solo exhibition in Sala Parés, Barcelona.

Meifrén had used the subject of the Harbour of Barcelona once before, in 1887, for which work he also received a bronze medal in the Exposicion General de Bellas Artes in Madrid.

In 1915 he traveled to the United States, using the International Exhibition in San Francisco and San Diego, both receiving the Medal of Honor. Later that year, moved to New York, where he exhibited primarily landscapes of Mallorca and Cadaques, returning to Barcelona in 1917. Then he traveled around the world including to Argentina, and in 1939 civil war has ended, after a period of rest with his family in Mallorca, he returned to Barcelona, where he was preparing for hist his last exhibition.

The December 16, 1939 was opened as a solo exhibition at the Sala Gaspar in Barcelona with great public success and sales. However, a Meifrén was sick and could not attend the event. A few weeks later, the artist suffered a deterioration in his state, died in early February 1940.

Eliseo Meifren Roig

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