A Spanish Courtyard by Martin Rico Y Ortega

  • Once owned by the Vanderbilts, this oil on canvas was composed by Martin Rico y Ortega
  • The impressive composition captures a detail view of a courtyard in Spain
  • The artist is celebrated for his unique perspective on the European cityscape
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-2881

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Martin Rico y Ortega
1833-1908 | Spanish

A Spanish Courtyard

Signed "Rico" (lower right)
Oil on canvas 

This exceptional painting by Spanish Impressionist Martin Rico y Ortega captures a picturesque courtyard in stunning detail. While Rico is best known for his portrayals of Venice, this rare oil has been painted in his native Spain, and it displays the unique use of perspective for which he is renowned. The scene's greens and earthy browns are offset by the lovely clear blue sky at the apex of the canvas, while the architecture is beautifully rendered with Rico's celebrated eye for precision.

Rico y Ortega was born in El Escorial, Madrid where he received his formal education at the San Fernando School. Soon after graduating, he began studying “plein air” composition, traveling throughout Spain for his artistic inspiration. His efforts paid off when he won a government-sponsored scholarship to study art in Paris where he was influenced by the Barbizon School. He returned to Spain in 1870 when his study was cut short with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.

In 1872, Rico y Ortega traveled to Italy where he became fascinated by the splendor of Venice. From that moment on, he traveled between Paris and Italy, spending numerous summers living in Venice, sketching buildings and landscapes from a gondola. 

In 1878, Rico y Ortega won the third-place medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle and was also made an officer of the French Legion of Honor. That same year, art critic Paul Lefort wrote of Rico y Ortega in La Gazette des Beaux-Arts: “Although a fanatic when it comes to light, and an aficionado of rare and augmented color tonalities which, in his works, resemble precious stones, he refrains from overstepping the limits of human vision... The Grand Canal of Venice, the Slaves Wharf, his views of Rome, of Toledo, of the Escorial and of Granada are [...] inimitable morceaux which reveal his talents in composition as well as his care in execution.”

Canvas: 22 1/4" high x 15" wide
Frame: 27" high x 20" wide

Cornelius Vanderbilt II, New York and Newport, Rhode Island
Thence by descent in the Vanderbilt family
A Spanish Courtyard by Martin Rico Y Ortega
Maker: Rico, Martin y Ortega
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: Other Europe
Type: Paintings
Depth: 1.75 Inches
Width: 20.0 Inches
Height: 27.0 Inches
Style: Impressionism
Canvas Width: 15 Inches
Canvas Height: 22.25 Inches

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