On Ash Wednesday I posted Ramon Casas Carbó Procesión de Miércoles de Cenizas en Barcelona that proudly if forlornly lives at the Deering Estate. Ever since I had an odd feeling his following me around. This is of course insane. But I like insane. So I’ll believe at least until the end of the post. He has popped up everywhere and I wanted to write about his beautiful Desnudo that is below:
I found it for no reason among things that didn’t really relate. Then I found some wondrous blogger type who blogged my work. MWAH! Thank you blogger type. And the previous entry was Ramón Casas Carbó. I’m humbled.
He was born in Barcelona but his father made his fortune in Matanzas, Cuba. There is the connection-town of my gente! My mother was born there and raised there. If the dates were a little different and my grandmother was a libertine. . well Ramon Casas’ blood could be coursing through my veins. But it isn’t.
Casas could be something of the grandfather of zines starting one in his teens, L’Avenç. Well it was a magazine with him as correspondent and illustrator. He exhibited a self-portrait with himself dressed as a flamenco dancer it got him noticed and invited into the Societé d’artistes françaises. He traveled and painted over the next few years and overcame tuberculosis. He kept illustrating books for his friends as well.
Casas became successful enough to open Els Quatre Gats, a bar fashioned after Le Chat Noir in Paris. It was then his style shifted to art nouveau that came to define modernisme. His graphic designs appeared on posters and used for advertising everything from champagne to cigarette paper. He also started two magazines in this time span and had his first solo show.
Casas became a gun for hire, so to speak, painting portraits of the privileged class. He also used the political unrest of his native Spain for inspiration and his long time model/lover and eventual wife, Júlia Peraire. There was also an inherited monastery where he spent a good deal of time painting it and the surrounding area.
Deering bought up a whole the Spanish village Tamarit and put Casas in charge of restoring it. Casa would later paint landscapes of the area. He settled into fame and favor and soon became less of an innovator. At the end of his life he lost the modern edge that defined so much of his work. Or so they write, perhaps he committed the sin of respectability. Or more likely wanting to eat in his old age. I’m not sure, I wasn’t there. I doubt he could ever be classified as a relic of the past as his paintings and life are still rather electrifying.