Francesc Miralles i Galaup
Valencia, 1848 - Barcelona, 1905
Born in Valencia in 1848 to an industrialist from Segorbe, at the age of four or five Francesc Miralles i Galaup moved with his family to Barcelona after his father’s factory was sold. He studied at the prestigious Valldemia school in Mataró, where he befriended the children of the most prominent Catalan families of the time. By the age of fourteen he was already producing outstanding calligraphic work. He later became the pupil of Ramon Martí i Alsina, which brought him into contact with the best known practitioners of Catalan Realist painting.
Miralles was of French origin on his mother’s side, and this enabled him to make a number of trips to Paris. He is reported as having gone there in 1866 or earlier; he was certainly in the French capital in 1868 when he met Modest Urgell and painted his portrait.
Miralles entered three portraits and two bozzetti in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts of 1870. He took part again in 1872, and in both cases the catalogue indicates that he was then living in Barcelona.
His presence at the Paris Salon is first detected in 1876 and altogether he took part in about a dozen during his lengthy stay in the French city where he remained until 1893. He seems to have had some commercial dealings with Adolphe Goupil, then the leading international art dealer, although he is later documented as being represented by a certain Kleinberger. During his time in France he became extremely well known, winning prizes at exhibitions in Dieppe (1875), Angouleme (1877) and Montpellier (1885), while the Brest Museum of Fine Arts purchased one of his works.
On returning to Barcelona Miralles again became fully involved in the milieu frequented by his sister Carmen, who was married to the well-known pharmaceutical manufacturer Salvador Andreu. He executed a few murals for Andreu and had several pupils, including the composer Enric Granados.