Santiago Rusinol Prats – Painter

Santiago Rusiñol Prats (Barcelona,  1861 – Aranjuez, 1931)

Santiago Rusiñol (1861 – 1931) was a Spanish/Catalan modernist painter, author, and playwright. After his first studies he worked into the familiar textile businesses, but he left quick that activity, breaking with the industrial tradition of his family. Instead of his initial position as self made man in art, he developed his own technical capacity in the Centre d’aquarelistes de Barcelona (Water color Center of Barcelona), he also was a disciple of Tomas Moragas.

After a travel to Paris (1889) where he lived in Montmartre with Ramon Casas and with Ignacio Zuloaga, his picture adapted grey tonalities following the Whistler manner and influenced by impressionists. His production of that period are basically landscapes, urban themes, portraits and also Art Nouveau symbolic compositions.

From 1896 and after a travel to Andalusia, he started to paint gardens. From his return to Barcelona he was one of the most active developers of Art Nouveau movement „Els Quatre Gats“ joining artists and vanguard writers. He also was linked with „L’avenç“ a magazine treating Art Nouveau themes.

The life of Santiago Rusiñol is strongly linked with the town of Sitges Rusiñol knew it in 1981 and he was immediately enthusiastic by this town where he bought a house to expose his enormous collections of ironforged and glass pieces, pictures and other objects that today are part of the „Cau Ferrat Museum“. In thesame place he organized the famous Modernist Festivals. This enthusiasm of Rusiñol on Sitges was based obviously in the exceptional natural conditions and beauty of the site, but, probably, also because the existence in it of an interesting painters school named „Escola Luminista“ – with members as Joan Batlle i Amell, Felip Massó, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Joan Roig i Soler, Joaquim de Miró and others.

In addition of his activities as a painter, he also was a reputed writer. Rusiñol started to write at the age of twenty. His first writings were nature descriptions and also letters specially to his future women Lluïsa Denís. This texts where very important for him, to test with the language and we found in them some caricature’s air. Some of this writings, not to be published, were nevertheless published in the journal La Vanguardia reveling the criticism and irony of Rusiñol.

Lately, during his stay in Paris, he send to the same journal the „Cartas desde el Molino“ (Letters from the mill) -1890-1892 – where he depicts de bohemian life in the Moulin de la Galette.

Rusiñol was also tempted by the theatre. He wrote various plays with enormous success like „Els Jocs Florals de Canprosa“, „El Pati blau“ – 1903 – and also big series of drams, comedies and vaudevilles, culminating in 1917 with the theater version of „L’auca del senyor Esteve“. In order to defend the Modernisme against his adversaries of the Noucentisme – movement following the modernisme in Catalonia – he used the alias of Xarau in his writings in the magazine „l’Esquella de la Torratxa“.

Rusiñol died in Aranjuez – Spain – in 1931.

 Santiago Rusinol Prats

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