Artist of the month || Artistul lunii

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José Tapiró y Baró – Reus, 1836 – Tanger, 1913. Remarkable exponent of Spanish Orientalism. His work depicts mainly people and scenes from Morocco – where he lived from 1876 until his death – and it is said that in order to have access to community and family events,  that allowed him a close and truthful observation of the Moroccan life, he would often disguise himself as a Muslim man or even a Muslim woman.

A short while ago I came across the work of this outstanding but little know artist, Jose Tapiro y Baro, officially my newest artistic crush ❤ My Facebook followers have already been introduced to him but he deserves more exposure.

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José Tapiró y Baró – Reus, 1836 – Tanger, 1913. Exponent remarcabil al Orientalismului Spaniol. Lucrarile sale reprezinta in mare parte scene si locuitori din Maroc – unde a locuit din 1876 pana la moartea sa. Se spune ca de multe ori obisnuia sa se deghizeze in barbat musulman si chiar femeie musulmana pentru a se putea strecura la evenimente de familie sau din comunitate, dorind sa surprinda cat mai veridic spiritul si caracterul oamenilor. Acum cateva saptamani am descoperit lucrarile extraordinare, desi putin cunoscute pe plan international, ale lui Jose Tapiro Baro. Cei ce imi urmaresc pagina de Facebook deja au facut cunostinta cu el dar consider ca merita mai multa expunere.

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Tapiro’s work is not only extremely beautiful, but shockingly skillful (for art connoisseurs at least). He worked with watercolors… All of these paintings are painted with watercolors! Any artist familiar with that medium will undoubtedly give them a double-take now. Achieving almost hyper-realism in watercolor portraiture is outstanding! Even an industry respected art director mistook his technique for oils.

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Picturile lui Tapiro nu sunt doar extrem de frumoase dar si umitor de bine realizate, tinand cont ca lucra doar cu acuarele! Cunoscatorii de arta o sa fie cu siguranta la fel de fascinati ca si mine. Toate portretele acestea aproape hiper-realiste sunt realizate cu acuarele! Chiar si un “art-director” de renume din industria ilustratiei a confundat tehnica sa cu uleiuri pe panza.

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The master at work.

Unfortunately and unfairly, the information available on the internet about his work and life is very, very scarce. You’re luckier if you can read French, the French Wiki page is a lot more generous that the English one. Since I don’t have the time to translate the whole page for those of you who can’t read it, I’ll translate one of the paragraphs which are among the most interesting:

Tapiró was the first artist that studied the African subject thoroughly and crowned the painterly approach to the North African culture, initiated by his friend and fellow painter Mariano Fortuny. He settled in Morocco and went on to paint the people of Maghreb with objectivity and truthfulness and not as a dream-like oriental fantasy, such the famous approach of the Orientalist movement. He did exactly the opposite of that, reflecting with simplicity but masterfully his daily entourage. His style is very close to hyper-realism, it has such and objectivity that it can even be attributed an ethnographic character. Some of his portraits are considered today important anthropological documents. They prove an almost scientific interest in the Moroccan society. Tapiro was the last European painter that depicted Morocco before the Protectorate.

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Din pacate informatia care exista pe internet despre el este foarte foarte putina. Daca puteti citi in franceza sunteti mai norocosi deoarece pagina sa Wikipedia in limba franceza ofera mult mai multe informatii decat cea in engleza. Nu pot sa o traduc pe toata pentru cei care nu inteleg limba franceza, dar am sa traduc un fragment dintre cele mai interesante: Tapiro a fost primul artist care a aprofundat subiectul africanist si a incoronat abordarea picturala a culturii nord-africane, initiata de prietenul sau, artistul Mariano Fortuny. Se stabileste in Maroc unde picteaza societatea maghrebiana  cu obiectivitate si credibilitate, si nu ca pe o fantezie a visului oriental. Defapt el se afla la opusul fanteziei orientaliste, reflectand simplu dar magistral anturajul sau cotidian. Stilul sau se apropie chiar de hiper-realism, este de o asemenea obiectivitate incat i se poate atribui un caracter etnografic evident. Unele dintre portretele sale sunt considerate astazi documente antropologice. Ele dovedesc un interes aproape stiintific fata de societatea marocana. Tapiro a fost ultimul pictor european care a reprezentat Marocul inainte de Protectorat.

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