Biography José Beulas Recasens
Painter José Beulas Recasens was born in Santa Coloma de Farnés (Gerona) in 1921. It was there that his love of painting was born and he began creating works that depicted the local landscape. At an early age he discovered the historic Olot school of landscape artists, which was located near Santa Coloma and included painters like Mir, Vayreda, Urgell, Soler and Jorba. At this point he realised the importance of getting an education and developing a technique.
In the early 1940s he travelled to the province of Huesca to complete his military service in the Alpine Corps. This was a very significant move for Beulas because the landscape of Huesca was to become one of the essential themes of his work. During this period he combined his work as a tailor with his military activity, while also pursuing his interest in painting.
After marrying María Sarrate in 1946, Beulas settled in Huesca. In 1947 he travelled to Barcelona to take drawing classes at the BaixasAcademy. After taking this step, Beulas’ vocation as painter was confirmed and his main focus was on furthering his artistic education.
In 1948 he received a grant from the Huesca Provincial Council, which enabled him to pursue studies at the School of Fine Arts of the San FernandoAcademy in Madrid. While at the San FernandoAcademy, Beulas was taught by a group of instructors that included Ramón Stolz and Vázquez Díaz, who had a significant influence on him. The collection donated to the city of Huesca by José Beulas contains a representative sample of the works executed during his years at the San Fernando school.
After leaving the academy in 1951, he received a grant to work at the El Paular Monastery in Madrid. Later he also worked in Segovia under a grant received from the Higher School of Fine Arts. His centre of gravity, however, remained in Madrid. His stay in the Spanish capital allowed him to study the classics, and he was a regular visitor at the PradoMuseum. Among Spanish artists of the time, Beulas admired Benjamín Palencia and Ortega Muñoz, whose influence can be noted in his work. In 1954 he made his first trip to Paris with the help of a grant for engraving. He then entered a stage during which he became increasingly well-established and gained greater recognition for his work.
In 1955 he competed for and won a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the SpanishAcademy of Fine Arts in Rome. Beulas’ stay in Rome was a crucial experience in his education as an artist. It was there that he opted to focus on landscape as the basic theme of his painting. It was also in Rome that he had his first successes. During his time in the city he came in contact with many artists. His classmates included Francisco Echauz, Reyes Torrent, García Donaire, Cesar Montaña, García de Paredes and Javier de Carvajal. It was also during this period that Beulas started to collect art by purchasing some works from classmates and friends. His stay in Italy provided him with an opportunity to show his work in Italian cities such as Rome, Palermo and Agrigento, and he also took part in the 1957-1959 Venice Biennale.
In 1959 José Beulas ended his stay in Rome, and in 1960 he returned to Madrid, where he participated in the National Fine Arts Exhibition and won the second-place medal. In the same year he was awarded a grant by the Juan March Foundation of Madrid. This support enabled him to produce a significant volume of work. He became one of the most well-known and sought-after painters on the Spanish scene, and his work was exhibited in both Spain and Latin America. For Beulas the 1960s brought a string of prizes and exhibitions. In 1962 he won the first prize in the Zaragoza Painting Biennial. Between 1966 and 1967 his work was shown for the first time in the United States, at the Bernardi International Gallery in Washington, DC, and he became a regular feature at the Kreisler Gallery in Madrid. In 1968 he was awarded one of the greatest honours that Spanish artists of the time aspired to: the first-prize medal in the National Fine Arts Exhibition of Madrid.
From 1969 on Beulas worked in Huesca, where his friend architect José María García de Paredes planned a studio for him based on a similar one he had designed for him for Santa Coloma de Farnes.
In 1970 his work was exhibited at the New York branch of the Kreisler Gallery and he started to work with the Biosca Gallery in Madrid, with which he would continue to collaborate for several years. Beulas’ work was also exhibited in his native region and he had several shows at the Libros Gallery in Zaragoza and at Sala Genaro Poza in Huesca. Commenting in the press on the series of exhibitions held at the Biosca Gallery, José Hierro observed that ‘landscape must be experienced as much as seen, deeply felt, remembered like a dream, until the artist feels that on his retina and in his spirit there remains only what is essential. Beulas is capable of seeing these scorched hills – dotted with bushes, white with lime and the sun – in a way that few others can.’
The landscape of Huesca acted on the painter throughout his career, and the formal characteristics of this landscape had a significant influence on the conceptual direction taken by his painting. Gerardo Manrique de Lara said of this relationship between Beulas and the landscape: ‘It is not the artist who decides to paint the landscape; it is the landscape that incites him to paint it.’
From 1973 on, Beulas exhibited his work only in Spain. In the 1980s he participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions at the Biosca Gallery (Madrid) and the Ignasi de Lasaletta Gallery (Barcelona).
In 1982 the city of Huesca named him an hijo adoptivo (‘adopted son’). He was recognised again in 1996, when he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 1988 the Huesca Provincial Council organised an exhibition in tribute to José Beulas, with the participation of the Chillida family and various artists of Huesca. Since then the work of José Beulas has been exhibited regularly in countless national exhibition halls.
José Beulas and his wife Maria Sarrate have always had close ties to the city of Huesca, where they have spent part of their lives and enjoyed many holidays, satisfying their passion for nature and taking up residence in the city. José Beulas has always been very grateful to the city of Huesca. In the early 1990s, José Beulas and Maria Sarrate decided to donate their collection of contemporary art and some of their possessions to the city with the aim of creating a centre for contemporary art. This generosity has been rewarded with an architectural project directed by Rafael Moneo and the creation of the Beulas Foundation’s Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, which has become a leading national and international centre in all subject areas that relate art and nature to contemporary culture.