Ignacio Pinazo: Valencia’s Mad Hatter

Pinazo, who was born in Valencia in January 1849, and who died in nearby Godella in October 1916, worked largely in the impressionist style.

Copia de pinazo

Born into a poor family, Pinazo was forced from a young age earn his living and support his family by practising various trades. He had to leave school at an early age when his mother died of cholera, working as a silversmith, a painter of tiles, and a decorator of fans (of the manual variety obviously!)

His father also died when he was young, and he lived with his grandparents, enrolling in the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts, Valencia in 1864, although continuing to work, this time as a hatter, while studying art.

His artistic career took off at the age of 21, and he achieved his first success in Barcelona three years later. In 1871 his work was displayed in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts for the first time.

He visited Rome twice, the first time in 1873 thanks to the sale of a painting, and from 1876 to 1881 he lived there, as did many Spanish painters of the epoch, with a government grant at the Spanish Academy.

When he returned to Valencia in 1874, after his first stay in Rome, he abandoned the conventional historical themes he had so far devoted his efforts to, and instead started painting family subjects, such as nudes and scenes from daily life, thereby anticipating more famous artists such as Sorolla.

In 1884 cholera struck Valencia once more, forcing Pinazo to move to the nearby town of Bétera, where he stayed in a house owned by the banker José Jaumandreu.

From 1884 to 1886 he taught in Valencia and received many commissions from the Valencian aristocracy, including the Marchioness of Benicarló.

Annual art exhibitions brought Pinazo silver medals in 1881 and 1885, and gold medals in 1887 and 1899. He also received a royal medal, and in 1912 a street in Valencia was named after him.

He was married to Teresa Martinez Montfort, who bore him two sons, Ignacio and Jose, both of whom became painters themselves.

The IVAM has the most important public collection of works of Pinazo including 100 paintings and over 600 drawings.

A large number of these works were donated by the Pinazo family itself. The new exhibition provides an insight into the artist’s development and is shown in the permanent hall the IVAM devotes to Pinazo. It consists of a selection of 52 paintings and 10 drawings in chronological and subject order.

Pinazo was an introverted, moody man, averse to adventure and travels which meant that he never became an outstanding international figure like Sorolla or Benlliure

In 1903 he moved to Madrid, where he was appointed a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and a teacher of artistic drawing at the Escuela Superior de Artes e Industrias. In 1912, already with failing health, he was awarded the Medal of Honour at the National Fine Arts Fair in Madrid. He died four years later at his home in Godella (Valencia).

There is a statue of him at the beginning of Calle Colón, gazing across the Glorieta…….moodily.


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