The Country Cross, 1892

Santiago Rusiñol i Prats

Rusiñol i Prats, Santiago

Barcelona, 1861 - Aranjuez, 1931

The Country Cross, 1892

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed lower left: "S. Rusiñol"
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

Oil on canvas

79 x 100 cm

CTB.1996.56

Artwork history

  • Private Collection.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

1892

Exposició de Belles Arts, Sitges

1892

Exposición Internacional de Bellas Artes, Madrid, n. 1129

1996

De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 83, p. 214.

1996 - 1997

From Zurbaran to Picasso. Masterpieces from the Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum; Pekín, China National Art Gallery, p. 52.

1997

Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n. 50, p. 166.

1997 - 1998

El paisatgisme català del naturalisme al noucentisme en la Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Andorra, Sala d'Exposicions del Govern d'Andorra, n. 32, p. 100, lám. p. 101

1998

La pintura española del cambio de siglo en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Zaragoza, Palacio de Sástago, n. 16, p. 68.

1999

Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, n. 87, p. 262.

2000

El modernismo catalán. Un entusiasmo, Madrid, Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Santander Central Hispano, p. 144.

2002

Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, p. 142, lám. p. 143.

2003

De Fortuny a Tàpies. Aspectes de la pintura catalana moderna dins la Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, p. 48, lám. p. 49.

2003

Modernismo e avanguardia. Picasso, Dalí e la pittura catalana, Cremona, Museo civico Ala Ponzone, n. 11, p. 104.

2004

Pintura catalá do Naturalismo ao Noucentisme. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Santiago de Compostela, Fundación Caixa Galicia, n. 23, p. 84.

2004

Pintura catalana del Naturalismo al Noucentisme. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 53, p. 150, lám.

2009

La Sombra, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Fundación Caja Madrid, n. 62, p. 277, lám. p. 159.

2011

La tradición moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen. Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, p. 72, lám. p. 73.

2012 - 2013

Rusiñol, Monet, Gauguin, Sunyer. El paisaje en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Gerona, CaixaForum; Tarragona, CaixaForum; Lérida, CaixaForum, n. 22, p. 92, lám. p. 93.

2013 - 2014

Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, n. 19, p. 90, lám. p. 91.

2014 - 2015

Casas-Rusiñol. Dos visiones moderninstas, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, n. 15, p. 102, lám. p. 103, det. p. 40.

2017

Ramón Casas. La modernidad anhelada. Museu de Maricel, Sitges, CaixaForum Madrid, CaixaForum Palma, 2017. p. 212-213.

2017

Un món ideal: De Van Gogh a Gauguin i Vasarely. Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen. Espai Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 2017. p. 36, 37, 142, 143, 183 y 184.

2018

Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 2018. p. 38-39 y 97.

  • -Balart, F.: ”Exposición de Bellas Artes. VI”.  El Imparcial. Madrid, December, 6 1892, n. 9180.

  • -Casellas, Raimon: “La Exposición artística de Sitjes”, La Vanguardia. Barcelona, año XII, n. 3340, 27 de agosto de 1892, pp. 4-6.

  • -El Eco de Sitges, agosto 1892.

  • -De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). [Exhib. Cat. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza]. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1996, n. 83, p. 214. [Sheet by Francesc Fontbona].

  • -From Zurbaran to Picasso. Masterpieces from the Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum; Pekín, China National Art Gallery, 1996, p. 52. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 1997,  n. 50, p. 166. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -El paisatgisme català del naturalisme al noucentisme en la Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Andorra, Sala d’Exposicions del Govern d’Andorra, 1997, n. 32, p. 100, lám. p. 101. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -La pintura española del cambio de siglo en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Zaragoza, Palacio de Sástago, 1998, n. 16, p. 68. [Exhib. Cat.].

  • -Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, 1999,  n. 87, p. 262. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Coll, Isabel: “L’Escola Luminista de Sitges”. Sitges 2002, pp. 29-68, cit. pp. 56-57.

  • -L’Escola Luminista de Sitges. Els precedents del Modernisme. [Exhib. Cat. Sitges, Edifici Miramar]. Barcelona, Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges, 2002.

  • -Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, 2002,p. 142, lám. p. 143. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Balsach, Maria-Josep (ed.): Modernismo e Avanguardia. Picasso, Miró, Dalí e la pittura catalana. [Exhib. Cat. Cremona, Museo Civico Ala Ponzone]. Milán, Skira, 2003 , p. 104, lám. [Sheet by Imma Prieto].

  • -De Fortuny a Tàpies. Aspectes de la pintura catalana moderna dins la Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 2003, p. 48, lám. p. 49. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Pintura catalá do Naturalismo ao Noucentisme. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Santiago de Compostela, Fundación Caixa Galicia, n. 23, p. 84, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004,  n. 53, p. 150, lám. [Exhib. Cat.].

  • -La tradición moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen. Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, 2011,  p. 72, lám. p. 73. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Rusiñol, Monet, Gauguin, Sunyer. El paisaje en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Gerona, CaixaForum; Tarragona, CaixaForum; Lérida, CaixaForum, 2012, n. 22, p. 92, lám. p. 93. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, 2013, n. 19, p. 90, lám. p. 91. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Casas-Rusiñol. Dos visiones moderninstas, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, 2014, n. 15, p. 102, lám. p. 103, det. p. 40. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Ramón Casas. La modernidad anhelada. Museu de Maricel, Sitges, CaixaForum Madrid, CaixaForum Palma, 2017. p. 212-213 (photo). [Exhib. Cat.].

  • -Un món ideal: De Van Gogh a Gauguin i Vasarely. Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen. Espai Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 2017. p. 36, 37, 142, 143, 183 y 184.  [Sheet by Francesc Fontbona]. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 2018. p. 38-39 y 97. [Exhib. Cat.] [Sheet by Francesc Fontbona]

Expert report

Santiago Rusiñol discovered the town of Sitges in 1891 and from then onwards he would spend long periods of time in what would soon become his museum-house «Cau Ferrat» that was converted into a real «Mecca» for the early Catalan Modernists.

This first contact of Rusiñol with Sitges is seen as a break within his most transcendental stay in París, when he lived in Montmartre with Ramon Casas and during which he produced his best Parisian paintings, those that were closest to French Modern painting.

The canvas at hand represents Rusiñol’s first stay in Sitges, or more likely the one that took place a little later during the Summer-Autumn of 1892. It is a very ambitious painting with an absolutely insipid subject matter, which corresponds perfectly with the artist’s desire not to offer a cliché view of Sitges -which is the village one can see in the background- as the ones that Roig Soler and other artists produced in great quantities at the time. Rather, he wanted to give a central role to the empty space, which in this case is a road, a visual device that Degas often made use of and which, therefore, represented an openly Modern attitude. It is exactly this and nothing else which Modernism attempted at the beginning.

Rusiñol was at the time going through his most clearly Naturalist period when, according to Laplana, he sought to «surprize reality in its most common appearance and, if one was able to do so» -and Rusiñol certainly was- «to suggest its hidden mystery beyond the painting.» And in fact this prosaic canvas with its carriage, its telegraph pole, its kilometer sign and its solitary jar also has a hidden mystery: outside that hodgepodge of circumstancial elements and moved away from the work’s cen-ter, what the painter wanted to underline -and hence the painting’ title- is a country cross. This is an element that does, however. not appear directly in the painting but through the shadow that it casts on the empty road in the intense light of sunset.

It would, on the other hand, not be surprizing if this painting’s subject corresponded to a more or less conscious secret motive: something like a silent hommage to the print-maker Ramon Canudas, a brotherly friend of Rusiñol who had just died in Sitges, onto whose tomb the painter fixed a large iron cross hat had been one of his most beloved collector’s items.

The Country Croos is, then, a painting of great conceptual complexity as well as a work with a great visual qual ity and of a clear Modernist style. It is precisely this Modernist element that was the reason why this work and others by Rusiñol were sourly received by the conservative critics when they were sent to the International Fine Arts Exhibition in Madrid in 1892. In this exhibition the French Impressionists, who for the first time were exhibiting in Spain, went almost unnoticed. After situating Rusiñol amongst the «Modernists that were mislead by doctrine and by Mr. Rafaelli’s example,» the well-known art critic Federico Ballart made fun of the dog depicted in this painting -which was apparently the painter’s dog Hello- and concluded that its creator was a «victim of what has now become a fashion to call sincerity.

Francesc Fontbona