Vintage Art Appreciation: The Old Stairs, Raixa by Santiago Rusiñol

The Old Stairs (Pedres velles), Raixa, 1907
by Santiago Rusiñol (1861 - 1931)

The painting:
Santiago Rusiñol's burgeoning success as a painter enabled him to concentrate almost completely on the subject closest to his heart, Spain's gardens and landscapes. When Rusiñol travelled to Mallorca, he sojourned in the locality of Bunyola whose opulent gardens became the inspiration for works such as this.

The present work depicts the upper half of the flight of stairs dedicated to Apollo in the Raixa Gardens, north of Palma de Mallarco. Originally laid out by the Moors, the Raixa Gardens were redesigned by Cardinal Antoni Despuig i Cotoner during the eighteenth century. Begun in 1902 and completed in 1907, Pedres velles is one of four pictures Rusiñol painted of the steps.

The artist:
The charismatic leader of Catalan Modernism, and a founder of Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona, Rusiñol travelled widely and spent extended periods in Paris. Notwithstanding his position as a leading member of the international avant-garde, however, it was in Spain that he was able to explore the full range of his resonant palette and where many of his most powerful and evocative works were completed.

Source: Sotheby's.