ECHENAGUSIA ERRAZQUIN, José [ECHENA]
(Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, 1844 - Roma, 1912)
José Ignacio Luis Echenagusia was born in Hondarribia in 1844, and from a very early age showed a great talent and interest in painting.He began his artistic training in Bilbao and in 1973 moved to Bayonne (France) to continue his studies. Driven by his vocation he arrived in Rome, where he settled in 1876 in order to perfect his knowledge of painting. In the Italian capital he received the influence of the Baroque of Giambattista Tiepolo, the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Mariano Fortuny, producing academic works whose subject matter alternated between Orientalism, Historicism and genre scenes. Based in Rome, Echenagusia regularly took part in the National Expositions held in Madrid and also displayed his work in several European capitals, becoming a key figure for the Basque painters who travelled to Rome. Ignacio Zuloaga, Alejandrino Irureta, Ignacio Díaz Olano and Alberto Arrue, among others, would attend his classes at the Chigi Academy. In 1902, having attained great prestige in the European art world, he decided to move to the Basque Country again, and thus be able to fulfil his commissions by the Regional Governments of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, and El Sitio Society of Bilbao. Back in Rome, he would continue to work in his studio until his death in 1912. José Echenagusia was one of the most popular and sought after painters of his time, and this enabled him to command high fees for his works. At the time of his death he received a number of tributes and recognitions, especially on behalf of the Basque art world.