Bored with the academicism of Spanish painting during the early 20th century, Nicanor Piñole (Gijón, 1878 – 1978) introduced into his work new pictorial codes stemming from Impressionism.
He studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando [Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando] in Madrid and around 1900 completed his training in Rome. Upon his return to Spain in 1902, he experienced a period of artistic inactivity. In 1915, Piñole participated in an exhibition at the Regatta Club in Gijón, followed by others in Madrid, Paris, and London; and in collaboration with the Carnegie Foundation in Pittsburgh, his work was exhibited in several U.S. cities. He spent the Spanish Civil War in Asturias, between Gijón and La Quinta de Chor, in Carreño, his maternal family’s place of origin. After the war he gained increasing recognition.
In his paintings Nicanor Piñole was interested in the human landscape of Asturias; he portrayed the inhabitants of the Cantabrian coastline, the trades of the sea, life as it unfolded at the port and on the beach, subjects the artist depicted with an openly realist approach. He captured traditional seafaring ways of life and portrayed people in contemplative stances, everyday gestures that acquired in his work a universal dimension.