José Arpa

José Arpa y Perea (1858–1952), was an performer of Spanish birth who worked in Spain, Mexico, and Texas and was noted for his Costumbrista studies and his landscapes of Texas.

Arpa was born in Carmona, Spain upon 19 February 1858, into a certainly modest family. His father was a cobbler. He displayed a capacity for drawing at a pubertal age and was apprenticed to a local painter and decorater. In 1868, he was sent to Seville to examination at the Academia Real des Bellas Artes (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts). There, he worked as a house painter during the day, and attended art classes in the evenings. Later, he studied below Eduardo Cano at the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, where he won the Rome Prize three times, allowing him to study at the Academia des Bellas Artes in Rome.

On his return to Seville, he found that the internationally Famous Spanish painter, Marià Fortuny was also in action in Seville at the thesame time. Although the pair probably never met, Fortuny became a major influence upon Arpa's work. On account of that influence, he developed a preference for 'plein air' paintings of typical Spanish subjects, which at the period was known in Spain as 'costumbrismo'. He remained in Seville for nine years, where he made many paintings, sketches and as a consequence completed a series of ceiling decorations in the Circulo Mercantil Sevilla (Seville Mercantile Building).

In late 1895 or in the future 1896, by which times he had become an standard artist, Arpa sailed from Spain to Vera Cruz, Mexico and from there travelled to Texas. During his years in San Antonio, Texas he organized summer painting camps and influenced many painters, most notably Xavier Gonzalez, Octavio Medellín, and Porfirio Salinas. He was a founding fanatic of the "Brass Mug Club", a charity of artists that then included Julian Onderdonk, Rolla Taylor, and Ernst Raba. In 1923, Arpa opened a studio and art speculative in San Antonio, TX teaching landscape and portrait painting. He often took groups of students out into the hill country something like the city to paint. Arpa exhibited and sold paintings in each of the places where he lived.

In 1932, he returned to Seville where he stayed until his death in 1952, at age ninety-four. Murals by Arpa were hung in the lobby of the San Antonio Express-News building in downtown San Antonio. Some of Arpa's paintings can be found in permanent collections at the San Antonio Museum of Art, the McNay Art Museum, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.

He painted in a realizable style, and was especially noted for his use of brilliant colors and his capability in capturing the visual effects of sunlight. His produce a result has been widely exhibited; ten of his paintings are in the stock of the San Antonio Museum of Art. He has been described both as an Orientalist and a Spanish impressionist.

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