Return to the Mediterranean

In 1906 what was regarded as the fireworks of Post-Modernism began to be challenged in Catalonia. In tune with the classicist trends that were circulating in Europe, particularly in Paris, critics like Eugeni d’Ors championed a more restrained and balanced art inspired in Catalan Mediterranean roots, thereby giving rise to Noucentisme. Even though some of the common referents were Puvis de Chavannes, Aristides Maillol and Paul Cézanne (the latter having been rediscovered in the late nineteenth century by French painters Émile Bernard and Maurice Denis), we cannot speak of a unitary Noucentista style. Removed from the most historicist form of Noucentisme, Joaquim Sunyer appropriated a few of the traits of modern art in a highly personal style. After having contemplated works by Cézanne, Sunyer renounced Nabi characteristics in favour of greater moderation, as reflected in his landscapes. He also dedicated a large number of works to figurative painting, especially portraits. Another outstanding Noucentista painter of figures was artist and critic Rafael Benet.

  • Women Bathing

    Émile Bernard
    Women Bathing

    Oil on canvas.
    47 x 57.2 cm
    On deposit at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
    © Émile Bernard, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Mediterranean Sea

    Joaquim Sunyer i de Miró
    Mediterranean Sea
    c. 1910-1911

    Oil on canvas.
    85.5 x 130 cm
    © Joaquim Sunyer I de Miró, VEGAP, Málaga, 2011
  • Motherhood

    Rafael Benet i Vancells

    Oil on canvas.
    88 x 68 cm