Isidre Nonell (Barcelona, 1872 – 1911) was born into an affluent Catalan family, nevertheless he was a bohemian at heart. In 1888 he enrolled at the Escola de la Llotja [Llotja School] and later, with his friend Joaquim Mir, he took lessons with the painter Lluís Graner. Graner’s models, people from humble and deprived backgrounds who lived on the streets, impacted Nonell greatly and became the protagonists of his work.
After participating in several collective exhibitions, he began collaborating as a graphic artist with the newspaper La Vanguardia. His contributions included drawings of popular characters and scenes, a job he alternated with drawing sessions in the suburbs and open fields of Barcelona. In the summer of 1896 he produced a series of drawings of the inhabitants of the Vall de Boí, who were afflicted by congenital iodine deficiency. In 1897 he traveled to Paris and presented his work at several exhibitions where he coincided with Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Upon his return to Barcelona, from 1900 onward, he focused on painting, producing portraits of Roma and socially marginalized women. In 1910 he exhibited his work at the Galeries del Faianç Català with great success. A year later this triumph was truncated by his premature death from typhoid fever.