Signed and inscribed lower left: Luis Jimenez, Paris
In the Studio is an image of two young girls, most likely the artist’s daughters, in his Paris studio. One girl, elegantly dressed in a lacy, striped dress sits on the floor browsing through a stack of prints scattered in a pile. Goupil, a paintings dealer with whom Jiménez worked in Paris, also produced series of prints of contemporary and Old Master paintings and drawings, selling them to collectors, artists and the general public. The young girl gazes down at a print grasped in her hand, while in the other hand she holds a charcoal. A dreamy expression crosses her face, and she is perhaps imagining the day that she will be creating her own works of art. Her younger sister sits upon an embroidered chair at left, her head rested on her arm. Too young to be engaged by the images, she has dropped a wrinkled sheet to the floor and loses herself in a daydream.
Many of the furnishings in the room--the carved chest, the vase of brushes, the Persian rugs—appear in other paintings of the 1880s by Jiménez y Aranda. Most pictures with the same furnishings tend to be historical genre subjects set in 18th-century interiors: works of the type that Jiménez was painting during the early to mid-1880s. Examples of this type hang on the wall behind the girls and sit on the easel at right. The unique contemporary portrait subject makes In the Studio a rare and personal work.
A painter of historical genre and Naturalist subjects, Luis Jiménez y Aranda was a prominent participant in the dominant art movements of his day. Born in Seville, Luis was the younger brother of painter José Jiménez y Aranda, whose meticulously rendered historical genre paintings greatly influenced the young Luis. After completing his studies at Seville’s Academy of Fine Arts, he moved for a brief period to Madrid, where he studied the Spanish masters on display in the Prado. In 1867, the 22 year-old painter went with José Villegas and Francisco Peralta del Campo to Rome, where he worked among the Spanish painters there for the next nine years, focusing his painting on subjects set in elegant 18th-century interiors or gardens. In 1874, Jiménez traveled to Paris to get in touch with the dealers Reitlinger and Goupil. His success during this trip prompted him to move to Paris in 1876, where he established a studio on the rue Boissonade which quickly became a meeting place for Spanish artists in France. He began exhibiting at the Paris Salon the following year. Soon the emerging Naturalist movement in Paris captured Luis’s interest, appealing to his sense of social realities and interest in natural visual effects. By the 1880s, Jiménez was painting almost exclusively in a Naturalist manner, composing peasant subjects using naturalistic light and atmospheric effects. His works of this period brought the painter immense success, culminating at the 1889 Exposition Universelle, where he won a gold medal for his painting “A Hospital-Ward during Doctor’s Rounds.”
Selected Muesum Collections:
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes, Cadiz; Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Foundation, Cologne, Germany; Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX; El Museo del Prado, Madrid; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pontoise; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Museo de Bellas Artes de Seville;