Seville, 1855 - Alhama de Granada, 1907
During his early years Emilio Sánchez-Perrier helped make clocks at his father’s shop in Calle Sierpe. He soon showed a natural gift for drawing and painting, and at the age of thirteen he attended the School of Fine Art in Seville, where two of his masters were Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer and Eduardo Cano de la Peña.
The works of Martín Rico, whom he met during one of his journeys to Seville, would deeply influence his artistic orientation, guiding him in the direction of landscape painting, a genre in which he trained and furthered his skills as a pupil of Carlos de Haes at the San Fernando Royal Academy in Madrid. In 1871, while in Granada with Martín Rico, he met Mariano Fortuny, whose style can be seen to influence his work.
In 1878 Sánchez-Perrier submitted the following paintings to the National Exhibition of Fine Art: Reja del Pretorio en el jardín de la casa de Pilatos (“The Praetor’s Railing in the Garden of the Casa de Pilatos”), Huerta con gallinas en Alcalá de Guadaíra (“Kitchen Garden with Hens in Alcalá de Guadaíra”), El ocaso (“Sunset”), La ribera del río Guadaíra (“Banks of the Guadaíra River”), Laguna de los patos (“Lagoon with Ducks”) and El Molino de Mesía (“The Mill at Mesía”). In 1881 he submitted a charcoal view of Alcalá de Guadaira to the competition. This town would be a source of great inspiration to the artist, who spent long periods there, especially during the spring. He produced many versions of the town reflected in the waters of the river and many riverside landscapes of leafy greens banks imbued almost with a Romantic lyricism. This led him to be hailed as the founder of what has been called the “School of Alcalá de Guadaira”. He took part in exhibitions in Seville and Cadiz in 1877, 1878 and 1879, winning the first prize at the Regional Exhibition in Cadiz. Later on he moved to Paris, where he came into contact with the landscape paintings of the Barbizon School. In 1880 he made his début in the French capital, submitting Jardín del Alcázar de Sevilla (“Garden of the Alcázar in Seville”) and Invierno en Andalucía (“Winter in Andalusia”) to the Salon. From then on he would become a regular participant in this competition, obtaining an honourable mention in 1886. Years later he again won a second prize at the Exposition Universelle held in Paris in 1889. He was also awarded the second prize at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1890 for a painting entitled February (Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado).
Emilio Sánchez-Perrier and fellow Sevillian Luis Jiménez Aranda, whom he often visited when the latter moved to Pontoise, were the leading Spanish landscape painters in Paris in the 1880s. Sánchez-Perrier’s works show the influence of the Barbizon School, even though his technique is more meticulous and his atmosphere more luminous. An art critic of the time wrote that “in his landscapes of Fontainebleau there is something of the light of Seville, and in those of Alcalá something of the charm of Passy”. Sánchez-Perrier was made a member of the Société General des Beaux Arts in France in 1894 and a member of the Seville Academy of Fine Arts in 1903.
Pilar de Miguel Egea