Piñole, Nicanor

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Nicanor Piñole

Gijón, 1878

Gijón, 1978


He arrived in Madrid in 1894 to begin his studies at Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (San Fernando School of Fine Arts). In 1897 he joined Ferrant’s studio and presented a painting to the National Exhibition. In 1900 he visited Paris on his way to Rome, where he met artists such as Sotomayor, Chicharro, Benedito, Ortiz Echagüe, Bacarisas and Gili i Roig. At that time the influence of Impressionism could be seen in his work, the echoes of which were familiar in Spanish painting. In 1902 he returned to Gijón, although he also lived in Madrid where he was painting both at the Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Prado Museum. He spent the summers in Carreño, in the Quinta de Chor, from where his mother’s family originated, a place that never stopped attracting his attention over the years.

For several years his work was silenced in Gijón as well as Madrid, so Piñole shut himself away although he did not stop painting, and he became a part of the gatherings in Madrid and his fellow artists continued to count on him. The cold ranges that would be characteristic of his work would be valued in his works from that time, such as the portraits of his friends Fernández Balbuena, Felipe Mon and Leonardo Camarasa.

With his participation in an exhibition of Gijon painters held at the Real Club de Regatas (Yacht Club) in 1915, Piñole gained some recognition in his home city. In 1917 his submission to the National was well received by the critics: not only did he receive the second medal, but Juan Ramón Jiménez with whom he was not acquainted, congratulated him in a very enthusiastic letter. In 1919 he participated in the Exhibition of Spanish Art held in Paris and the following year his work featured in in an exhibition of Spanish painting held at Burlington House in London. In 1922 he came into contact with the Carnegie Foundation in Pittsburgh, to whose exhibitions in various North American cities he sent pictures from that time. In 1925 he was invited to the first exhibition held by the Sociedad de Artistas Ibéricos (Society of Iberian Artists), organized by Manuel Abril and Guillermo de Torre. In 1930 he took part in the Biennale in Venice and the Ateneo de Gijón organized a retrospective of his work. Three years later the Ateneo in Madrid devoted a solo exhibition to him.

He spent the Civil War years between Gijón and Carreño. In the postwar period, the painter started a new theme: one of domestic animals in watercolors. His work was shown in several retrospectives held in Oviedo and Gijón in 1943 and his name was gaining increasing recognition. In 1951 a bust was unveiled in his honor, along with one of Evaristo Valle, in his native city, which named him as a favored son in 1963.

Noemi de Haro