A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE", by Herb Spiers
Gabriel Picart was born in the beautiful
Mediterranean city of Barcelona - for anyone not familiar with
this city of ancient culture I recommend Robert Hughes' masterful
book Barcelona. Barcelona is important to Picart's history because
it is a city steeped in deep and rich traditions of artistic
achievement - it was, for example, Picasso's first stop on his
road to fame.
Since 1962, the year Picart was born, he has
spent most of his life in the same neighborhood, and, as fate
would have it for a soon-to-be artist, this quarter of the city
was perhaps its most famous. It is the quarter where the world
famous Park Güell is located, and Gabriel's family came to live in
a big house adjacent to the Park's main gate.
The Park is one of the most famous in the
world. It is also one of Barcelona's most important tourist
attractions. Created by the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi,
the Park Güell was the realization of his utopian vision - he
designed the Park at the beginning of the last century as a new
Arcadia, a Paradise on earth.
Appropriately, it would become that for
For over fifty years, Gabriel's family lived
in the concierge's pavilion at the right of the main entrance of
the Park. The original porter, and old friend of Gabriel's
great-grandfather, lived alone in this huge house until he became
disabled. As chance would have it, Gabriel's grandmother sold
candy and sundries next to the front door of the pavilion, and the
porter kept her wares for her overnight in the big house. One day,
he invited her and her family to live with him, and when he became
to ill to execute his duties, Gabriel's grandmother took over the
job of gatekeeper to the Park. Thus Gabriel was born and spent his
childhood in that historically glorious pavilion Gaudi had
designed to emulate the witch's house in Brothers Grimm's
fairytale Hansel and Gretel. The Entire Park became Gabriel's
playground - it is no wonder that within an artistic milieu such
as this he would soon develop an interest in art.
Picart always had a pencil in his hand; by
the time he was a teenager, his parents had rented the other
pavilion on the opposite side of the main gate - for $5.00 per
month! This building, with its oddly shaped tower bearing on its
top a double cross (later to become one of Barcelona's main
cultural symbols) had been for many years Gaudi's workshop. In the
1980s, both pavilions and the Park Güell itself were designated by
UNESCO as part of "Mankind's Heritage". This pavilion was all his
to work in as he chose.
In the very same room that Gaudi executed
his designs, Picart set up his first studio. He says that he felt
Gaudi's ghost hovering over his shoulder. Gabriel soon became so
addicted to painting that he gave up a promising career in
Fortune smiled on Gabriel. Not long after he
had made the decision to become a professional artist, he had the
good luck to meet the famous illustrator Enric Torresprat (who I
also represented, though I did not know Gabriel at the time).
Enric invited Gabriel to visit the studio he shared with the best
ink and charcoal illustrator in Spain, one of the creators of the
incomparable Vampirella, Pepe Gonzalez. Pepe was one of the
world's foremost comic artists - an acknowledged master of the art
of drawing, rendering and composition. By the age of twenty Picart
was on his way. The young Gabriel became the third member of the
studio. With the mentoring of these two great artists, Gabriel
soon learned the secrets of drawing the human figure, as well as
techniques of mixing paints, preparing a canvas, rendering, and
the technical application of medium to surface.
Picart's career as an illustrator blossomed;
he worked on commissions throughout Europe. In 1985, I met Gabriel
on his first trip to New York City. He came on a visit with Enric
and the incomparable titan of Spanish illustration, Sanjulian, who
I also represented. Both had recognized Gabriel's particular
genius and told me that if I were smart I would represent this
"boy wonder". I did not hesitate. My company was noted for its
ability to select the best European artists. Our collaboration
began, and to my great pleasure we have been together ever since.
Picart quickly won assignments (no surprise
there!) from all the major publishing houses in America and
Canada. He worked as well for advertising agencies, graphic design
firms and catalogue houses. Art directors clamored for his
paintings because he brought a fine art style to his
representational illustrations. Clients loved his paintings for
their simple elegance. He was, in short, the best commercial
artist of his kind that I have ever represented. From the very
beginning of his career here, he was being compared to none other
than Norman Rockwell - Gabriel's great hero. When the original
painting of his first commissioned piece for the US market was
sent to be printed (Friend Monkey, Dell Publishing, 1986), the
printer thought that it was an original Rockwell.
Fine art collectors are aware of the
importance of Picart's training as an illustrator. The demands are
at times almost super-human because the challenges are both
technical and aesthetic. Besides being able to draw, render and
paint, the successful illustrator must be able to communicate
directly to the viewer. For his own part, Picart chose to master
the use of oils in creating his illustrations, in contrast to some
of the faster and easier mediums and techniques available, always
with the goal in mind of parlaying this technical acumen into the
painting of fine art.
Though I've never been certain how, Picart
found time to do fine art paintings and began showing his work at
the Sala Parés in Barcelona - a very prestigious gallery. In 1996,
he had his first show at the WolfWalker Gallery in Sedona,
Arizona. This was quickly followed by his participation in a group
show of Catalan artists at Ambassador Gallery in New York, where
he was among some of the leading contemporary figurative painters
working in Spain at that time. Gabriel Picart was on his way as a
studio painter of fine art. Galleries throughout the US have asked
to carry his pictures. As a result, he no longer accepts
illustration commissions; he paints full time.
Picart is an artist to watch; his work is
destined for museum collections. His paintings are time consuming
and therefore he does not produce a lot, which means that the
number of galleries that can carry his work is limited. Picart's
paintings have attracted special attention of noteworthy critics
and collectors, and they are or have been on display at some of
the most recognized galleries in the US, were they hang with
titans of the brush, such as Chagall, Miró, Dalí and Picasso, and
some of the leading contemporary art found in the world today. At
Anderson Galleries in particular, his paintings have hung with
those of Bouguereau, one of Gabriel's painting heroes. This is a
tribute to his exceptional talent.
October 2000 —
Herb Spiers (1945-2011) was an art dealer
for over thirty years. He earned
a Ph.D. in Philosophy and wrote extensively on the arts.
In the mid-2000s, California publisher Fingerhut Group published
and distributed limited editions of some of his paintings,
popularizing them among a wider variety of collectors.
Picart's work also has been featured worldwide. In 2004, Picart
was the first artist from Spain ever featured in International
Artist magazine. More recently, he got the honor to be the
artist featured in the art and design section of the
October-November 2013 edition of Gulf Connoisseur of
Dubai, the premier lifestyle magazine of the Gulf region.
In 2012, Gabriel Picart was one of the two International Master
Artists specially invited by the organizers of Art Revolution
Taipei in its second edition, leading the group of Spanish
painters to take part the following years.
Nowadays, his paintings are in private collections in Spain, USA,
Germany, Canada, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Mexico, Emirates,
Russia, and UK.
Gabriel with wife
Rosa and their daughter Allegra — October 6th 2007,
Fingerhut Gallery La Jolla, California.
married Rosa Anguas in 1991. She is the model for most of his
female figure paintings: “Honest
representational painters cannot overemphasize the importance of having
the right model. I cannot overemphasize the importance of Rosa in my art.
Besides having a great natural talent for posing, her regular features
tend to an academic ideal of beauty, and this way I can escape the trap
of figurative realist painters, which is making the painting of the
model look like the portrait of the woman who posed”.
In 1999 their daughter, Allegra, was born.
GALLERIES & EXHIBITS
Addison Gallery — Boca Raton, Florida, USA.
Galleries — New York, N.Y., USA.
Illustrators Society — New York, N.Y., USA.
Galleries — Beverly Hills, California, USA.
Revolution Taipei 2012" — Taipei,
"Art Revolution Taipei 2013" — Taipei, Taiwan.
Center — Taipei, Taiwan.
— Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
Gallery — Laguna Beach, California, USA.
Gallery — La Jolla, California, USA.
Gallery — Sausalito, California, USA.
Sorrento — Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Soleil — Naples, Florida, USA.
Center — Hangzhou, China.
Galleries — Lake Tahoe, California, USA.
Jones-Terwilliger — Carmel, California, USA.
Jones-Terwilliger — Palm Desert, California, USA.
Kelti Art Center
— Taipei, Taiwan.
The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair
— London, United Kingdom.
Gallery of La Jolla — La Jolla, California, USA.
Arts — San Francisco, California, USA.
Artexpo 2001 — New York, N.Y., USA.
Artexpo 2002 — New York, N.Y., USA.
Artexpo 2006 — New York, N.Y., USA.
Galleries — Woodmere, New York, USA.
Arts — Sausalito, California, USA.
Fine Art — Napa, California, USA.
Anglès, Girona, Spain.
Maremàgnum — Barcelona, Spain.
— Barcelona, Spain.
Gallery of Fine Art — Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
Gallery — San Francisco, California, USA.
Gallery — Sedona, Arizona, USA.
Gallery — Taichung, Taiwan.
Gallery — Taipei, Taiwan.
Art Museum — Yiwu, China.
In 2012, Gabriel Picart was one of the two painters specially invited by the organization of the
Art Revolution Taipei in its second edition. He shared the exclusive section dedicated to the international grand masters with the French painter Philippe