The early
women

Hermen Anglada-Camarasa got his artistic training in three different places in Catalonia between 1886 and 1894: Barcelona, Arbúcies and Vilanova i la Geltrú. While in the Catalan capital, where his family residence was, the young man attended private classes at the ateliers of the renowned masters Modest Urgell and Tomàs Moragas, in Arbúcies, where he had been staying since 1888. He often traipsed the woods of Montseny with a group of friends to turn the landscapes into paintings and sell them to the Barcelona bourgeoisie. He later went to Vilanova because of the demand created by the first museum created ex professo in Catalonia, the Víctor Balaguer Library-Museum, as well as the recently opened Arts and Crafts School, where Tomàs Moragas taught. Within this context, Anglada produced some works with female themes in line with the academicism and Costumbrism of the time; some of them also reflect the influence of Moragas in his taste for Orientalism and the female ‘other’.

The Half-Breed (copy of Juan Luna y Novicio)

Hermen Anglada-Camarasa
1890
Oil on canvas
110 x 74 cm
Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer. Vilanova i la Geltrú

In 1890, Anglada held a small individual exhibition in a room in the Bertrán woodworking shop in Vilanova i la Geltrú, where the main piece was a copy of La mestissa (The Half-Breed) by the painter Juan Luna y Novicio. In 1887, under the impetus of Víctor Balaguer, then a Spanish minister, Luna y Novicio was given the Honorary Diploma of the Philippine Islands Exhibition in Madrid, which motivated the Filipino to donate the painting to the Balaguer Library-Museum, after which his name was inscribed on the honorary plaque on the building’s façade.

Hermen Anglada did not copy this painting out of sheer chance. This portrait of a young mixed-race girl dressed in typical Philippine clothes who is arranging her hair at her dressing table is an academic exercise that he had done as a student at the Arts and Crafts School of Vilanova, where Tomàs Moragas was an instructor and director at that time. It is clearly a work that reveals an iconography of women that was common at the time, namely the fascination for the non-Western, exotic and sensual female ‘other’, yet also the fetish of the voyeur who intrudes on the intimacy of the toilette.

La mestiza (The Half-Breed)

Juan Luna y Novicio
1887
Oil on canvas
111.8 x 75.2 cm
Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer. Vilanova i la Geltrú

Author unknown. General view of the painting gallery between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Víctor Balaguer Museum Library. Vilanova i la Geltrú. Luna y Novicio’s The Half-Breed is just to the left of the large painting The 2nd of May in Madrid, 1884, by Joaquín Sorolla. This space is precisely where the young Anglada made the copy of the painting.

1.3.-anglada-al-jardi-finca-el-roquer-1893

Author unknown. Portrait of Hermen Anglada-Camarasa
at El Roquer estate in Arbúcies, c. 1893. Llort family archive.

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