Paulino Vicente "The Younger" Sunday

Inventory no.
196118
Chronology
c. 1948
Technique
watercolour, crayon
Support
on paper
Measurements
23x19 cm

Paulino Vicente Rodríguez Serrano, known as El Mozo (The Younger), was born in Oviedo on 20th September 1924. Eldest son of the painter Paulino Vicente, the mark of his father was instrumental in his career and, at the outset, his works flowed like a continuation of the former's, assimilating certain painting techniques that constituted the solid scaffolding upon which he extended his own creative world.

Consequently, his first contact with the world of artistic creation occurred in his childhood. Later, he began studying painting at the School of Arts and Crafts, where his father was a teacher, although his training was to be completed at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. In the capital, the Prado Museum opened its canvases to the hungry eye of Paulino Vicente, who became enamoured with the work of José Ribera, while the streets provided him with their hustle and bustle and artistic and literary circles. He had already spent the first years of his life in Madrid, where his father had moved to study art, until the family returned to Asturias in 1928.

With the raising of the siege of Oviedo and the evacuation of civilians, they moved to Cangas del Narcea, a town where his father became intensely involved with craftwork and the resurgence in popular crafts and artwork taking place at that time. He transmitted his knowledge of this world to his son, which would later serve the latter in good stead for his own creative work.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of fifteen, thus launching him into a period of rebelliousness triggered by this and other factors of a personal and family nature. He tried to enlist in the Spanish Foreign Legion, but his father's intervention prevented him from doing so. He entered the School of Arts and Crafts, but it seems that he barely attended classes, so The Younger continued his apprenticeship within his family and in the university of life.

Paulino Vicente the Elder's artistic link with the University of Oviedo, whom he advised regarding artistic and decorative matters, led to his son being encouraged to present a composition entitled Science and Work to the poster competition organised by the institution for its 1941 Summer Courses. However, his path led him to Madrid when he was granted a scholarship by the Regional Council which enabled him to begin his studies at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, though his illness prevented him from following a normal schedule of classes.

His quiet everyday life was cut short after the operation he underwent in 1944. He spent long periods in La Pola de Gordón as a natural prescription against the tuberculosis he suffered from. In this mountain town in León, Rafael Quirós Isla had established a children's TB cure and prevention centre where children from Asturias racked by this disease would go for treatment.

He held his first solo exhibition in June 1949, precisely at the University of Oviedo, an institution for which he had already done a portrait of Clarín to illustrate the cover of the book on this writer published in 1946. This show received excellent reviews in the written media, which highlighted, among other things, the use of a daring technique in the treatment of the drawing, its chromatic balance, the psychological study and, in general, the revelation of his talent as a painter. In another exhibition held in 1953, he presented the new horizons that his painting had reached through oil painting, a technique previously forbidden to him because of his illness. This show reaffirmed the figure of Paulino Vicente The Younger, receiving praise from Jesús Villa Pastur for his "simplicity and humanity" and from Fernández Buelta for his "sound artistic stock".

A year later he participated in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, where he presented Portrait of Pío Baroja, demonstrating his aptitudes for this art form.

As his illness was worsening, he returned to Asturias, where he returned to murals and stained-glass windows, working closely with the architect Juan Vallaure. He thus established a connection with the stained-glass windows which he had made in 1952 for the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and which had opened up a new path in the artistic production of this young artist. He died on 7th May 1956 in Oviedo.

This small work, Sunday, is another example of the heterogeneity of the artistic production of Paulino Vicente, a creator who experimented in frenzies of daring innovation but who simultaneously remained tied to traditional Asturian themes and depictions. The landscape, as an identifying element, also plays host here to human figures which fill it, not so much by their presence, which in this case is not impressive, but by their activity and their attitudes, transporting the viewer back to a moment of rest, relaxation and peacefulness. The characters, which are seen from an elevated perspective, are not identified by their faces, which are imperceptible, but rather by their figures, poses and activities.

The viewer is able to recognise an array of characters: children, including one of them who is playing a wind instrument off in the distance; mature women dressed in black shawls and scarfs; the carefree man chatting, whose clothing and pose subtly reveal his age; and the couple attentively watching four other youths dancing, though remaining at a distance in a more intimate ‘bubble', prone to confidences. These are the same characters that Evaristo Valle painted. All of this is constructed through the use of vivid, harmonious colours: the green and yellow of the field, the slate blue and greyish tones of the mountains, which find continuity in the leaden sky to which the yellow, characteristic of a sun that remains unseen, brings a touch of light.

The viewer's gaze is inevitably drawn to the foreground depicting the field and the people, although the artist gives depth to the scene thanks to the construction of planes perfectly delimited by the contrast of colours –which, however, as already mentioned, complement one another– and to the introduction of a small building, barely visible, in which the viewer can devise a church tower.

This work was acquired by the Association of Alumni and Friends of the University of Oviedo in 1949 for the sum of 200 pesetas.

Text and cataloguing: Ana Quijada Espina

Bibliographical references
  • BARÓN THAIDIGSMANN, J. y CRABIFFOSSE CUESTA, F. (2005) Paulino Vicente "El Mozo" (1924-1956) Una entrega a la pintura. Oviedo: Gobierno del Principado de Asturias.
  • VILLA PASTUR, J. (1972) Pintores asturianos. Tomo IV. Oviedo: Banco Herrero.
Documentary sources
  • University of Oviedo Historical Archives. File A.
  • University of Oviedo Historical Archives. Alumni and Friends of the University of Oviedo Association File.
Location on the mapUbicación de la obra en las instalaciones de la Universidad

 

  • Universidad de Oviedo
  • Campus de Excelencia Internacional