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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Federico Beltrán-Masses (1885-1949) - Beltran Masses





Federico Beltrán-Masses (1885-1949)

“Pintar puede ser de muchos y crear de pocos”




Beltran Masses was born in 1885 in Cuba, Spain’s last colony. His family was of Catalan origin.

He spent his youth in Barcelona where he started to train himself as an artist in the well known school Llotja. Later he went to live in Madrid where he took classes with the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla.

He married Irene Narezo Dragoné, a painter like himself, who came from a wealthy and distinguished family.

Wanting to advance his career, the couple moved to Paris and lived there from 1916 until 1946.



Beltran Masses had many exhibitions in Paris (see the detailed list) and very soon his work began to be recognised and admired.
In 1920, the XII Biennal of Venice dedicated a large room to show his work. This exhibition had a great impact not only on the artistic world of the time but also in Beltran’s own work. He incorporated venetian backgrounds in his portraits and made the architecture and water of the city a symbolic source of inspiration for his paintings.

Beltran was his own best publicist. He was an extremely affable and kind man and that is one of the reasons he so easily gained the friendship and respect of his contemporaries. His clients were his friends. His fame as a talented painter, greatly enhanced by the media coverage of his exhibitions, spread quickly. Society wished to meet and be painted by him.

He was the painter of the time.

His fame was not limited to Parisian society but also to wherever aristocrats, politicians, bankers, writers and great artists from different backgrounds were found.

Federico Beltran Masses had an enquiring mind and it was this curiosity that contributed to his love of travel which enabled his work to become known internationally.

He was close to people from many parts of the world. He painted aristocrats, princes, kings and dukes , exotic maharajas business men and bankers , presidents of different countries, ambassadors , representatives of the militia , intellectuals, writers, singers, dancers (5) and most of all actors (6).

His fame preceded him. In America, he quickly became the sought after painter and his presence was required at society parties in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Palm Beach and New York. He had a very close friendship with the actor Rudolf Valentino, the first great Hollywood star, whom he painted twice. The actor soon became one of the greatest admirers of Beltran’s work and their friendship, together with the great prestige that he had internationally as a painter, made him the favorite of the American jet set of the time.

In the important exhibition he gave in the Wildenstein Gallery in New York in 1924, he met R.W. Hearts who also becomes a collector and validator of Beltran’s work. They travelled together on various occasions throughout America and Europe where Beltran Masses advised Hearts about the purchase of paintings for his private collection.
Art academies of many different countries recognized him and presented awards as did many civil organisations. Military orders distinguished him. He was recognized by all. To Beltran these awards were important, they both affirmed and encouraged him. For Beltran Masses, fame and international recognition were very important and he managed to achieve both.


All this adoration during his lifetime and the fact that his work was focused on society portraits were exactly the reasons his fame, as well as the society he portrayed, disappeared.

When the Second World War started, the world of glamour, party and money ended and gave way to a time of severe restrictions and difficulties. The commissions were fewer, and Beltran became ill and decided to return to Barcelona. He moved into the Ritz Hotel and took his place in Catalan society. He started to paint portraits again, this time of the eminent people of the city which was recovering from a harsh civil war.

Federico Beltran Masses died in Barcelona in 1949. He had no children.

His wife, Irene Narezo, died in 1970, leaving as heirs a family of this city with instructions to keep and promote the memory and legacy of the artist.













  






Federico Beltrán Masses nació en 1885 en Cuba, la ultima colonia española. Su familia era de ascendencia catalana.

Pasó su juventud en Barcelona, donde empieza a formarse artísticamente en la conocida escuela Llotja, para posteriormente marchar a vivir en Madrid, donde recibe clases del pintor Joaquín Sorolla.

Se casó con Irene Narezo Dragoné, pintora también como él y de familia distinguida y con buena posición económica.

Para favorecer la carrera del pintor, deciden trasladarse a vivir en París, donde se instalan en 1916 y residen hasta 1946.

Muchas son las exposiciones que realizó Beltrán Masses en esta capital (ver el listado detallado). Y muy pronto su obra fue reconocida y admirada.



En 1920 la XII Bienal de Venecia le dedica a su obra una sala completa de grandes dimensiones. Esta exposición tiene un gran impacto tanto en el mundo artístico del momento, como en la propia obra de Beltrán, incorporando el pintor “fondos venecianos” en sus retratos y convirtiendo la arquitectura y las aguas de la ciudad en simbólica fuente de inspiración para sus cuadros.

Fue Federico Beltrán Masses un gran embajador de sí mismo: de su persona y de su obra. Era un hombre extremadamente afable y simpático y por ello se ganó fácilmente la amistad y el respeto de sus coetáneos. Sus clientes eran sus amigos y su fama de buen pintor, refrendada por la gran cobertura mediática de cada una de sus exposiciones, corría de unos a otros. El deseo de conocer al pintor personalmente y de ser retratado por él, se generalizó en la sociedad de la época. Estaba de moda.

Su fama no se limitó a los salones de París en donde se encontraban aristócratas, políticos, financieros,escritores y grandes artistas de todas las procedencias.

Federico Beltrán Masses fue también un gran curioso y esa curiosidad lo convirtió en un gran viajero, lo que ayudó a internacionalizar su obra y a difundirla. Se relacionó con gentes de todas las nacionalidades. Pintó a aristócratas: príncipes, reyes y marquesas  a exóticos Maharajás  empresarios y banqueros Presidentes de países, embajadores y militares  intelectuales: escritores, cantantes, bailarinas…  y sobre todo a actores

Su fama le precede en los viajes y lo mismo le sucede
al contactar con la sociedad americana, donde rápidamente se convierte también en el pintor de moda, buscado y requerido en las fiestas de la sociedad de Hollywood, Los Ángeles, Palm Beach y Nueva York. Una gran amistad le unió al actor Rodolfo Valentino, la primera gran estrella de Hollywood, a quien retrató 2 veces. El actor se convirtió en uno de los más grandes admiradores del pintor y esa amistad unida al inmenso prestigio que tenía internacionalmente como pintor, lo convirtió en el favorito de la jet set americana del momento.

En la importante exposición que realiza en la Galería Wildenstein de New York en 1924 conoce a R.W.Hearts quien también se convierte en coleccionista y valedor de la obra de Beltrán. Con él viaja en varias ocasiones por América y Europa asesorándolo en la compra de obras de arte para su colección privada.

Las Academias de Arte de los diferentes países a los que llegaba su fama le premiaban y reconocían. Las diversas organizaciones civiles le galardonaban, las órdenes militares le distinguían…. Todos le nombraban y reconocían. A Beltrán las distinciones le importaban, afirmaban y reconfortaban. Para él era muy importante la fama y el reconocimiento externo, lo consiguió.



Toda esta adoración en vida a la persona y el hecho de que su obra se centrara mayoritariamente en el retrato mundano de personalidades, fue precisamente el motivo por el que su fama desapareciera con él y con la sociedad a la que él retrataba.


Al estallar la Segunda Guerra Mundial todo este mundo de glamour, fiestas y dinero se acaba para dar paso a épocas de duras restricciones y dificultades. Los encargos disminuyen, Beltrán enferma y decide volver a su Barcelona. Se instala en el Hotel Ritz y empieza a relacionarse con la sociedad catalana del momento. De alguna manera comienza de nuevo a retratar a las personas eminentes de una ciudad que se recupera de una dura guerra civil.





En 1949 Federico Beltrán Masses muere en Barcelona, sin hijos.



En 1970 fallece también su esposa Irene Narezo, dejando heredera de la memoria y el legado del pintor a una familia de esta ciudad, con el encargo de conservarlo y promoverlo












2 comments:

LOLITA said...

I am absolutely enchanted

artodyssey said...

A true master Lolita. I'm glad you like it.

Good night :)

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