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Dance Insider & Arts Voyager editor and publisher Paul Ben-Itzak, who has also written for Reuters, the New York Times, and many others and also publishes the Art Investment News, is looking for work in France, where he lived and worked for 10 years. He is ready to include his magazines in any deal. Interested parties can e-mail Paul.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 4-21: Prado on the Prairie
Martin Rico at the Meadows: Painting in the light

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Rio San Trovaso, Venice," 1903. Oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase with funds from The Meadows Foundation, MM.07.01. Photo by Michael Bodycomb.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, TX -- From the glut of French, European, and touring exhibitions focused on the usual suspects in recent years, it might be easy to forget that Impressionism didn't spring whole cloth from the French canvas of landscape painting. Unless you're at Dallas's Meadows Museum. As part of Southern Methodist University, the Meadows takes seriously the educational and scholarship part of its mission. Not content to simply act as a showcase for the collection of Spanish paintings bequeathed to SMU in 1962 by local businessman Algur H. Meadows to found the museum (he also furnished the funding seeds), the Meadows has taken to heart its founder's charge that it become a "Prado on the Prairie." That sobriquet took on new meaning in 2009, when the Meadows and its Madrid inspiration set up an elaborate partnership involving everything from exhibition loans to internship exchanges. That collaboration has assumed an even grander scope with Impressions of Europe: 19th-Century Vistas by Martin Rico, the first museum retrospective devoted to the pioneer in the development of European landscape painting, a panorama of 106 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and highlights from 40 sketchbooks recently acquired by the Prado which have never previously been seen by the public. After an earlier run at the Madrid institution, the exhibition runs through July 7 in Texas.

"Presenting the first retrospective on an artist as important as Martin Rico is exactly what our unique partnership with the Prado is designed to do," said Mark A. Roglan, the Meadows director. "Rico was hugely influential in the rise of new approaches to landscape painting, but until now there has been no comprehensive exhibition that brings together pieces from every phase of his career. By showing the full breadth of his work and developing a catalogue with new scholarship on Rico we are shedding new light on the rise of Realist landscape as a pivotal 19th-century movement. Equally as important, we are bringing Rico’s work to new audiences internationally." The catalogue also includes what the Meadows says is the first full biography of the artist, while the original Spanish exhibition will be enhanced by nine works from American museums. In addition to the Meadows, Rico's oeuvre can also be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. (Whether it can be found in the Franco-centric collections of the Orsay and other French museums is less sure.) We'll share some representations here, but the luminosity Rico was known for give the paintings an almost photographic quality in Web reproduction, which doesn't give his craft the justice it might get in a personal examination where one can see the brush-strokes used to achieve this brilliance.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Fishermen's Houses on the Island," Venice, c. 1892-95. Oil on canvas. Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 1984.62.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "La Corniche," 1881. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Gift of Howard Lyon.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "The Porte Guillaume in Chartres," 1876. Oil on canvas. Private collection, Madrid.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Landscape with Cascade," 1865. Oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America, New York, A 132.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "On the Seine, 1869." Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914 (15.30.71).

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "View of Paris from the Trocadero," 1883. Oil on canvas. Gift of Marquesa de Manzanedo, 1987. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, P07163. A unique perspective on the Seine, rarely essayed by Rico's French contemporaries, who typically situated themselves up-river towards the Ile Saint-Louis and the Ile de Cité.

Left: Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Aubade, Zanudo Garden, 1890." Oil on canvas. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska. Bequest of Jessie Barton Christiancy, 1931.21. Right: Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Santa Maria della Salute, 1902." Oil on canvas. Private collection.

Left: Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "The Tower of Las Damas at the Alhambra, Granada, 1871." Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Bequest of Ramon de Errazu, P 262. Right: Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "A Canal in Venice, c. 1873-1908." Oil on canvas. Mr. and Mrs. Barron U. Kidd, Dallas, Texas, USA. Photo by Dimitris Skliris.

Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "The School Patio," 1871. Oil on canvas. Private collection, Madrid.

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