Sorrowful and forgotten painter




«I would exchange all my work for a little beauty», he lamented Mary blanchard, whose deformed body (some say that the cifoescoliosis that she was twisting her back was due to a fall of her mother when she was pregnant with her: according to others, she suffered from a degenerative disease) caused her great suffering. Shortly after the artist’s death in 1932, Federico García Lorca joined to a tribute at the Ateneo de Madrid with his ‘Praise to María Blanchard’, which began like this: «I do not come here either as a critic or as an expert on the work of María Blanchard, but as friend of a shadow… »« Her struggle was hard, rough, spiky, like an oak branch, and yet she was never resentful, but on the contrary, sweet, pious and virgin », continued the poet, who praised her masterful hands, her hair (“the most beautiful head of hair that has ever been in Spain”), her beautiful eyes … Ramón Gómez de la Serna, which included her in the exhibition ‘Integrity Painters’, was “the greatest and most enigmatic painter in Spain.”

María Gutiérrez-Cueto Blanchard was born in Santander in 1881, the same year as Picasso; died 51 years later in Paris, where she rubbed shoulders with the most distinguished of the international avant-garde: Picasso, Juan Gris, Diego Rivera, Jacques Lipchitz, André Lothe …, who welcomed her as one of the group: she shared a workshop, exhibited, he had fun, he traveled with them. Uncommon in a world dominated by men. Cousin of Concha Espina, an outstanding student of Emilio Sala, Álvarez de Sotomayor, Anglada Camarasa and Van Dongen, she had the approval not only of her colleagues, but also of critics and pedigree dealers. Among the latter, Léonce and Paul Rosenberg.

Woman of great intelligence and strong personality, had a overflowing humanity: he helped beggars, prostitutes, the poor and the crippled, whom he sheltered in his home and portrayed with respect. A painter of deep artistic sensibility, she was a key figure of cubism (He brought formal rigor, austerity and mastery of color), but, while fame was taken by Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris (Holy Trinity cubist), she was relegated to the silence of oblivion. “It has been the great forgotten in the History of Art”, according to Baltasar Magro, who at the end of last year published a fictionalized biography of the artist, ‘Maria Blanchard. Like a shadow ‘ (Alliance).

In 1927, the death of Juan Gris plunged her into a deep spiritual crisis; his painting becomes more poetic. After his cubist experience, he returned to figuration, with masterpieces such as ‘La communicagante’ (Reina Sofia Museum). The art gallery, which holds fifteen works by María Blanchard in its collection, dedicated a large retrospective in 2012. Its curator, María José Salazar, author of the artist’s raison d’être, then found similarities between her and Frida Kahlo, another suffering painter. He suffered a very serious accident that broke his body. There are those who call Blanchard ‘the Spanish Frida Kahlo’.

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