Juan José Gárate Clavero

Albalate del Arzobispo, Teruel, 1869 - Madrid, 1939

  • An Interrupted Banquet


After training at Manuel Viñedo’s drawing school in Zaragoza, in 1881 Juan José Gárate Clavero enrolled at the San Luis School of Fine Arts in that city and enjoyed a certain amount of prestige for his early manual skills. He remained there until the 1884-85 academic year, when he was awarded a scholarship from the council on account of his outstanding application. The following year he moved to Madrid and furthered his studies at the city’s art school until 1890. From there he sent several copies of important paintings in the Museo del Prado, such as Las Meninas, and a composition entitled La muerte de Diego de Marcilla (“The Death of Diego de Marcilla”), which secured him a scholarship from the Diputación (provincial council) of Teruel to travel to Rome.

During his stay in Italy from 1890 to 1898, Gárate came into contact with Francisco Pradilla and with the Spanish colony based in the country, which had connections with the international market. He also developed a clear interest in genre painting, with which he felt fully identified throughout his career.

In 1898, back in Zaragoza and working as an instructor at the local School of Fine Arts, he was appointed a member of the San Luis Royal Academy and concentrated above all on his teaching work, though without neglecting his own career as a painter. He entered paintings on regionalist themes in national and international competitions. He often appeared in the local press and aimed much of his work at his clientele from Zaragoza, who commissioned a variety works from him including decorative paintings, official portraits and graphic work, all of which he executed promptly and proficiently.

In 1911 Gárete moved away from Zaragoza and resigned from his teaching post at the city’s Industrial School of Arts and Crafts and from his job of curator of the regional museum. He established himself in Madrid, where he lived comfortably and devoted his time productively to painting and the decorative arts, although he continued to enjoy a certain presence on the Zaragozan art scene by taking part in a few exhibitions and competitions. A tireless worker, he died in a tragic accident.

Carlos G. Navarro