Valentín de Zubiaurre

Madrid, 1879 - Madrid, 1963

  • Basque Coast at Dawn

    c. 1949
  • Landscape at Dusk with Dantzaris


Valentín de Zubiarre was born in Madrid in 1879, three years before his brother Ramón. His father was a composer and master organist of the Chapel Royal. Although they were both deaf, they were highly educated and able to overcome this difficulty. Like his brother, Valentín trained at the School of Fine Arts of the San Fernando Royal Academy in Madrid, where he enrolled at the age of fifteen after receiving classes from the painter Daniel Perea, who was also deaf. There he was taught by the landscape artist Carlos de Haes and the painters Muñoz Degrain, Ferrant and Moreno Carbonero. He received a solid grounding that was further enhanced by his visits to the Museo del Prado, where he copied the Old Masters. After completing his studies he travelled around France, the Netherlands and Italy with his brother. In 1902 they received a grant from the Diputación (provincial authorities) of Vizcaya enabling them to take up residence in Paris, where they studied at the Académie Julian, became familiar with modern painting and developed an interest in Impressionism, although they were scarcely influenced by it owing to the importance of their academic training and preferences for the early Flemish and Italian artists and, among contemporary Spaniards, Ignacio Zuloaga and, to a lesser extent, Darío de Regoyos. A regular participant in the National Exhibitions of Fine Arts, Valentín won several medals (second in 1908 and first in 1917). He also received awards from foreign institutions and secured important prizes at international competitions in the first ten years of the century, in Munich, Buenos Aires, Brussels, San Francisco, San Diego and the University of Panama, among other places. The period from the 1920s to the Spanish Civil War witnessed both brothers’ greatest international success. They were stylistically different, as Ramón was more of a colourist and Valentin more classical, but without academic constraints. After the war Valentín remained in Madrid, whereas his brother lived in America until 1951. The official recognition of his artistic career in Spain increased after he became a full member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1945 and culminated in the award of the medal of honour at the 1957 National Exhibition of Fine Arts. He died in Madrid in January 1963. His most characteristic paintings are Basque and Castilian genre scenes displaying a realism which the hieratical appearance of the figures and especially the palette infuse with a certain symbolism.

Ángel Llorente Hernández