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Ramon Casas

The 'Catalan Toulouse-Lautrec'

Ramón Casas and Pere Romeu in an Automobile

The most talented Modernista painter and graphics designer was flamboyant, Barcelona-born Ramon Casas i Carbó (1866–1932), known as the ‘Catalan Toulouse-Lautrec’.

Like the French artist, he had the good fortune to be born into wealth; he father was a risk-taking 'indiano' who had made his fortune in Cuba, and his mother came from a prominent Catalan family, and neither had the least objection, it seems, when their youngest son announced at age 11 that he wanted to quit school and apprentice himself to artist Joan Vives. By the time he was 15, in 1881, he had met other young artists, poets, and intellectuals and with them co-founded the magazine L'Avenç, publishing in it his first known drawing before going off to Paris as its correspondent.

In Paris, Casas attended the Académie Carolus-Duran, the same attended by American John Singer Sargeant, who would be one of his inspirations, along with Manet and Whistler. Although the Impressionists had just then begun to impress (Monet and his friends held their first show in Paris in 1882) Casas was not the least interested in their goals of catching the light and colour of a moment: his work would always be mainly tonal, even monochrome. In 1883, a Self portrait as a Flamenco Dancer was accepted at the salon.

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Artists and Architects

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by PD Art