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Meadows Museum opens first retrospective on Spanish landscape painter Martin Rico
Martin Rico, Venice. The Entry to the Grand Canal, 1877. Oil on canvas, 42.4 x 71.7 cm.. Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, gift of Caroline Gibson Taitt.

DALLAS, TX.- This spring, the Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas presents Impressions of Europe: 19th-Century Vistas by Martín Rico, the first museum retrospective devoted to Martín Rico, a pioneer in the development of landscape painting in Europe. Impressions of Europe highlights the breadth of Rico’s career with 106 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks depicting urban and natural landscapes of Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and his native Spain. Research conducted in preparation for the exhibition uncovered new information about Rico and his work, leading to the compilation of his first complete biography, which is included in the exhibition’s catalogue. Impressions of Europe is on view at the Meadows Museum from March 10 – July 7, 2013, following its presentation at the Museo Nacional del Prado. Nine works from American collections, including the Meadows and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are included exclusively in the Meadows exhibition.

Impressions of Europe: 19th-Century Vistas by Martín Rico is the fourth exhibition organized through the Meadows partnership with the Prado, an unprecedented collaboration between a university art museum and a major international art institution. Since 2009, the partnership has included the exchange of scholars, research, works of art, and exhibitions. Following the success of the first three years of the partnership, the museums expanded their agreement in fall 2012, continuing their joint initiatives for an additional two years and adding two collaboratively developed exhibitions, including Impressions of Europe.

“Presenting the first retrospective on an artist as important as Martín Rico is exactly what our unique partnership with the Prado is designed to do,” said Mark A. Roglán, director of the Meadows Museum. “Rico was hugely influential in the rise of new approaches to landscape painting, but until now there has been no comprehensive exhibition that brings together pieces from every phase of his career. By showing the full breadth of his work and developing a catalogue with new scholarship on Rico we are shedding new light on the rise of Realist landscape as a pivotal 19th-century movement. Equally as important, we are bringing Rico’s work to new audiences internationally.”

Martín Rico is known as one of Spain’s greatest landscape masters. Praised for capturing a unique luminosity in his representations of locations throughout Europe, Rico painted his most iconic works during his time in Venice, where he worked from the 1870s through the end of his life in 1908. Because Venice was a required stop on most “Grand Tours,” Americans were particularly drawn to Rico’s Venetian scenes and purchased them in abundance as souvenirs of their trips. The Meadows-Prado partnership gives a unique opportunity for these works to be shown alongside of the works that remained in Europe, including the Prado’s unmatched collection of paintings and newly acquired collection of forty sketchbooks, which have never before been publicly shown.

Rico championed the technique of painting en plein air, famously painting while stationed in gondolas throughout the Venetian canals. Widely recognized by key American collectors in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, William H. Stewart, and Henry Walters, Rico’s work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and others.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

• Rio San Trovaso, Venice (1903), an oil on canvas work from the Meadows collection that depicts a Venetian canal and bridge.

• The Tower of the Women, from the Prado’s collection, an 1871 painting of the Alhambra painted while Rico was living in Granada with his friend and colleague, the painter Mariano Fortuny.

• Patio of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, an 1883 depiction of Venice’s most famous landmark.

• On the Seine, an 1869 painting on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art which exemplifies Rico’s early plein-air style.

Impressions of Europe: 19th-Century Vistas by Martín Rico is curated by Javier Barón, Chief Curator of 19th-century Painting at the Prado, and will be accompanied by an English-language catalogue produced by the Meadows Museum that will present new research related to the historical context, condition and conservation, provenance, attribution, and literary connections of Rico’s work. Thirty-three letters to patrons and fellow artists that have never before been published, as well as the first complete biography of the artist, will also be included in the catalogue. In addition, the Museum will organize a lecture series this spring, which will bring together national and international scholars, and will present other educational programming to complement the exhibition.

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