Regoyos, Darío de

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Darío de Regoyos

Ribadesella, Asturias, 1857

Barcelona, 1913


After the death in 1876 of his father, a renowned architect, Darío de Regoyos was able to devote himself fully, as he wished, to painting, and in 1878 he entered the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he was a student of the Dutchman Carlos de Haes. The following year he traveled to Brussels, where the patron Picard introduced him to the intellectual and artistic circle of the Belgian avant-garde. He received painting lessons from Joseph Quinay, with whom he learned to take nature as a model. His friendship with Théo van Rysselberghe led him to join the eclectic group L’Essor, in the exhibitions of which he took part and which he left in 1883. He also participated in the creation of the group Les XX, and had friendships with Ensor, Rodin, Signac, Pisarro and Seurat, among others.

In 1880 he traveled to Paris, where that same year he exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants. He also participated in the exhibitions of La Libre Esthétique. He was, thus, one of the first Spanish artists immersed in the European avant-garde movements, and an important representative of expressionist painting in its first stage, which culminated with his tragic vision of “España Negra” (Black Spain), to later evolve towards impressionism and post-impressionism from 1889.

During his Belgian period he visited England, Holland, and France, and between 1894 and 1913 he traveled several times to Spain. The result of one of these trips was the book La España negra (The Black Spain) (1899), in which his illustrations accompany the texts of his friend and fellow traveler, the Belgian poet Émile Verhaeren. In 1890 he took up residence in Spain. In the Basque Country he shed his attraction for the telluric, surrendering himself to an impressionist language that extolled air and light. His work, already widely present in European competitions, was also shown in the National Exhibitions and in almost all the international exhibitions held in Barcelona between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. During this period he met the Catalan artists of Pèl & Ploma.

From 1911 he lived in Barcelona, where, in the last year of his life, he held an exhibition at the Galeries Dalmau. At his death, his Belgian friends dedicated the Salon de La Libre Esthétique to him. In 1915, the Association of Basque Artists of Bilbao organized, posthumously, a tribute exhibition to the artist. The International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929 devoted a room to his work in the Montjuic palace.

Isabel Menéndez