Autumn, Castellón de la Plana (1944)
JUAN BAUTISTA PORCAR RIPOLLES (1889-1974)
Oil on cardboard; signed in the upper right corner. On the back titled, signed and dated
In handmade frame
During the Spanish Civil War, the city of Castellón in Valencia suffered terribly – particularly during the Nationalists’ Levante offensive of 1938. The scene of a multitude of horrors, much of the city had to be rebuilt after the fighting. Here the whole place looks scorched with skeletal trees rising from a desolate earth. But the iridescent sky and the date of the painting (the Allies were by then hovering around the Rhine) give a sense of healing and rebirth. You can almost hear the rueful monosyllables from the two surviving old boys (just – but vitally – visible, one has in his mouth that peerless instrument of reflection, a pipe) as they repine on how they, Spain, Europe and the World came to such a pass.
After studying on a scholarship at the School of Fine Arts of San Carlos and the Escuela de La Lonja, Porcar returned to Castellón, where he founded the Agrupación Ribalta, focused on landscape painting. A regular at the Círculo Artístico de Sant Lluc in Barcelona, he made his individual debut at the La Pinacoteca gallery in 1918, where he continued to exhibit frequently from then on. He participated in the International Exhibition of Barcelona in 1929, as well as in international competitions in Venice, Oslo, Buenos Aires and Paris. In 1954 he obtained the first medal at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, an award that cemented his reputation. Porcar is represented in the Museums of Fine Arts of Valencia, Alicante and Castellón, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vilafamés, the Lladró Museum and the National Theater Museum of Almagro, among others.
Juan Bautista Porcar Ripollés’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price for being 4,234 USD for Dockers sold at Setdart in 2022.