Mozos de Escuadra by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda

  • This massive oil on canvas by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda is undoubtedly the artist's masterpiece
  • It depicts two Romani being arrested by the special Catalan police force
  • The work was displayed at the Paris Salon of 1907
  • Today, Úbeda’s works reside in prominent public collections such as the Museo del Prado
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5292

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Carlos Vázquez Úbeda
1869-1944 | Spanish

Mozos de escuadra

Signed and dated “Carlos Vázquez 1906” (lower left)
Oil on canvas

Dramatic in size, subject and artistry, this oil on canvas by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda is most certainly the artist’s masterpiece. The arrest of two Romani peoples, also known as Gypsies, is the subject of this monumental Salon painting by the celebrated Spanish artist. To have a work accepted at the Salon was a significant accomplishment, and every effort was put into these paintings. Artists wanted a subject that caught the viewer’s eye, and Úbeda’s entrancing Romani and their captors certainly fit the bill. The phenomenal work is not only one of the largest and most finely executed in the artist’s oeuvre, but it also possesses an arresting beauty to truly set it apart.

Mozos de escuadra undoubtedly represents the height of Úbeda’s talent, and it received a great deal of critical and public praise. It was completed in 1906 and exhibited shortly thereafter at the Expositión General de Bellas Artes in Madrid. It was then shown at the greatest artistic showcase of the era, the Paris Salon, in 1907. The painting was incredibly well-received, earning Úbeda the silver medal in the Salon and granting him appointment as Caballero de la Orden de Alfonso XII (Knight of the Order of Alfonso XII). This appointment later allowed Ubeda to paint a portrait of King Alfonso himself. The painting was even translated into a postcard in Spain, and it became familiar with the public as well as within Academic art circles.

At the center of the composition are two Romani dressed in vibrantly colored and patterned fabrics set against the rolling hills of the Catalan landscape. They are under arrest, being escorted to jail by the uniformed Catalan policemen known as Mozos. This special police force was established in the 18th century as a means to repress the Romani people and their culture. Úbeda carefully details the officers’ uniforms, weapons, smug expressions and stiff poses, highlighting their oppressive authority over their prisoners. In contrast, the Romani hold themselves with a grace and naturalness. They look out directly to the viewer as their dog drags behind, head hanging. Their powerful gaze involves the viewer, making us sympathetic to their plight.

A native of Ciudad Real, Spain, Úbeda began drawing in his youth under the guidance of his mother. He embarked upon his formal academic studies in 1886 at the Esceula de Bellas Artes in Madrid, and he soon moved to Paris, where he studied for several years under the famous academic painter Léon Bonnat. Úbeda surrounded himself with other creatives, such as the famed Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla, who was such a close friend that he acted as Best Man at Úbeda‘s wedding. A highly decorated artist, Úbeda was awarded a bronze medal at the International Exhibition of 1892 and silver medals at the International Exhibitions of 1899 and 1901. Additionally, he won a silver medal at the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris, and he exhibited several times at the Paris Salon. He was appointed as a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1929. Today, Úbeda’s works reside in prominent public collections such as the Museo del Prado in Madrid and the Hispanic Museum and Library of America in New York.

Dated 1906

Canvas: 78" high x 98" wide
Frame: 90" high x 109" wide

Provenance:
Musée de Luxembourg, Paris, 1907
Private collection, Argentina, 1908
Private collection, 1984


Exhibited:
Expositión General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1906, no. 1249.
Salon de la Société des Artistes Français, Paris, 1907, no. 1590.
Exposicion Universal del Centenario de Buenos Aires, 1908.


Literature:
André Pératé, “Les Salons de 1907: La Peinture au Salon des Artistes Français,” Gazette des Beaux Arts, June 1907, p. 453, ill.
“Vázquez, Úbeda (Carlos),” Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada, Bilbao and Madrid, 1929, vol. 67, pp. 387-389, ill.
Joaquin Ciervo, Los Grandes Artistas Contemporaneos: Carlos Vazquez, Barcelona, 1932, pp. 97-98, ill.
Elizabeth du Gué Trapier, Catalogue of Paintings (19th and 20th Centuries) in the Collection of the Hispanic Society of America, New York, 1932, vol. 1, p. 511.
Cien Años de Pintura en España y Portugal (1830-1930), Madrid, 1988-93, vol. XI, p. 190.
Mozos de Escuadra by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: Other Europe
Type: Paintings
Depth: 3.0 Inches
Width: 109.0 Inches
Height: 90.0 Inches
Style: Academic
Canvas Width: 98” Inches
Canvas Height: 78” Inches
Mozos de Escuadra by Carlos Vázquez Úbeda
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