Friday 18 April 2008

José Texidor Busquets: Album Salon - 01/01/1906

The following has been translated by Oliver Slay from the magazine, Album Salon, published on 1st Jan 1906, 14 years after the death of José Texidor (my great great grandfather). The article contains one photo of José Texidor, several reproductions of his paintings and sketches of his wife and three of his 7 or so children (Modesto, Elvira and Emilio). How funny to see a picture of my mother's grandfather as a boy in such an old paper... I have not printed the pictures here yet as I have no permission yet to do so... the pdf is 145mb and can be downloaded from here

José Texidor (Busquets) [OS: 1826-1892]

In such a way that time runs for us who are already combing our white hair, that having passed some fourteen years since death exerted its destructive mission on the distinguished artist, whose name heads these lines, - a frame of his portrait - and who honoured us with his friendship, it seems to us that only a few months have passed since he ceased to exist; and that belief gives, for us, a character of the present time to the tribute that in this edition we pay to him, all the time the memory of his personality, most respectable in all fields, stays still fresh and pleasant in our memory.

Furthermore, in honouring a good, hard-working and talented man, as he was our friend, every occasion is an opportunity and we should not squander it when we desire it so much, now that his children, - also our friends – have provided us, facilitated us with some of the original and photographic copies of work by their esteemed father that they keep like sacred relics.

José Texidor was born in this city in the year 1826. From the most tender age he showed a great passion for painting, as if he knew all along his destiny; but, respecting the wishes of his family, he did not surrender himself for a long time to studying art, which promised him such a brilliant future, but had to devote himself, at the requests of his grandfather, a doctor very well-known in Barcelona at the beginning of the 19th Century, to the field of ‘light engineering’, an industry capable then of great improvement due to the recent invention of gas.

In the tenure of this profession he found naturally that he was required to learn drawing, for the projection and construction of apparatus, and he applied himself so much and enough to benefit, although still very young, in being named director of the first factory in Spain – established in this capital (Barcelona) – of bronze and other metals; and in this time he drafted, directed and put in place the first gas (lighting) apparatus, very sumptuous indeed, which appears in the lounge of the Great Theatre of Liceo.

The factory that Texidor directed in Barcelona was commissioned by the Spanish Government to make all the apparatuses for the new decimal system then adopted and installed in France – for measuring length, capacity and weight, etc – which it had resolved to send to all the provinces, for its application, and to this end he had to go to Paris, from where, after studying it properly, he brought the machinery and operators necessary to make the stereotypes, which he then delivered to the Minister of the branch(?), in Madrid.

Naturally, the management that he practised obligated him to frequent journeys abroad, in search of new progress, and as, servile to his lifelong passion for painting, he could not miss visiting there the main Museums and Art Exhibitions, this passion managed to dominate him to such an extreme, that, when he had the necessary independence, married already and with children, he abandoned his honourable and very productive profession in order to devote himself definitively to the cultivation of pictorial art, a determination to which was contributed the instigations of his friend, more than a maestro, the well-known catalan painter, Ramon Marti y Alsina, in whose company José Texidor conducted many journeys to the capital of our neighbouring country.

José Texidor showed from a long time ago a special predilection for landscapes, in which genre he made for himself an excellent reputation and flattering distinction; amongst them, a prize in the General Exhibition of Fine Arts of Madrid in 1864, and the honour, that the artist holds in high esteem, because they are not usually generous, of the State acquiring one of his paintings. In the painting of portraits, to which he also devoted himself with genuine enthusiasm, his work was excellent, because, on top of his refinement/finesse and gentleness/sensitivity as a colourist, he had the privilege of knowing how to imprint on the portrait the character of the original and its exact similarity, precisely that which, within this genre, involves major difficulties.

For many years, a great number of disciples went to his workshop/factory(/studio?) (turned into a professorship of drawing and painting) who held in singular appreciation the advice of such a suitable professor; loyal advice and based always on the work of the great artists ancient and modern, who Texidor had admired and studied at great length in the Museums and Exhibitions of the most important European capitals.

Through his initiative and with the cooperation of his friend, the no less well-known Master of arts, Geronimo Granell, also deceased, he ran the “Society for Fine Arts Exhibitions”, which some will remember and which put up its own building in el Paseo de Gracia – a corner house of la Granvia – where now exists Marcet Palace.

[OS: Marcet Palace was built by Tiberio Sabater in 1887 – now a multi-screen cinema – nearby is Casa Batlló, and also Casa Geronimo Granell (gran via de les Corts Catalanes, 582) by José’s friend and architect, Geronimo F. Granell i Barrera (1902).]

Hard-working by temperament and endowed with an admirable spirit of enterprise, he set up in 1868 a photographic gallery that constituted a real advance for Barcelona, thanks to it having an artistic character of form until then alien to this class of establishments, considered merely as industrial enterprises; his effort in favour of progress earned him a special prize given to him by the “Barcelonian Economic Society of ‘Friends of the Country’”, of which he was a partner and member of various commissions/committees.

Without taking his hand from his palette, which he worshipped fervently until his death, he later founded the well-known and reputable artistic material shop in the street calle de Regomir, which supplied nearly all the Catalan artists, whom with affectionate fondness he helped, by whatever means he could, so that they could realise their praiseworthy ambitions; an establishment that, on a major scale and restored to the modern day, with exquisite taste, is run in the present by “The Sons of Texidor” (“los Hijos de Texidor”) in the street, calle de Fontanella and whose luxurious shop window justly attracts the attention of the public.

He couldn’t, in fact, have had a more active and industrious life! Of kind and courteous treatment; incapable of harming anybody, even in thought, and prepared, rather, to help out anyone who legitimately needed him to, it can be said that he spent the best years - years of his very short existence – earning sympathies and harvesting friendships; thus it is understood that, fourteen years after abandoning us, we remember him as if he still existed and shed tears as if he had just died.

Virtue and Work do not always achieve on the ground a just reward, but in heaven yes, always. Let it serve as a consolation to family and friends, that the soul of José Texidor is for certain enjoying in the bosom of the Lord the peace of the just!

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