World-renowned Spanish artist Royo is widely revered for his work with the female form — for capturing the "essence of woman" in portrait-like treatments that are at once serene, demure and vibrant. For the first time since 2008, his work is available in Austin with Las Estaciones de Royo, an exhibit on display at the Russell Collection Fine Art through May 31.
Created exclusively for the Russell Collection, Las Estaciones de Royo, which translates to The Seasons of Royo, features 30-40 pieces painted by Royo over the span of 18 months. On May 10 and 11, the artist returned to Austin for a weekend of receptions held at the gallery, and to witness an exhibit twice as large as his last Austin show.
Exploring the exhibit takes viewers and collectors through the season’s of Royo’s Spanish seaside life. Each painting in the collection, which includes landscapes and portraits, has distinct features dictated by the season in which it was created. The “summer paintings,” as Royo calls them, feature soft blue backgrounds reminiscent of the sea. Fall, winter and spring are represented with works completed on Royo’s property outside of Valencia, set in his luscious garden or in his private studio.
The collection was uniquely built one painting at a time; because, as the artist explains, it’s the only way to complete his work. “Each painting is a story,” Royo says. Whether it takes days or months, one canvas must be completed before the next story can begin.
Most of the stories in Royo's exclusive collection are told in the form of beautiful female portraits, featuring women from his village. "The relationship with the model is very important," says the artist, who has never painted with professional models. All of his muses are family or friends, often his daughter and her friends. The muses are depicted in demure, subtle poses, surrounded by vibrant brush strokes that draw parallels to French master Renoir.
As part of The Seasons of Royo exhibit, the artist has also released three pieces from his latest series, “Mujeres,” which explores a more personal connection to his models. In this series, unlike his signature work, the model’s eyes become a focal point of the piece, offering a new way for the Royo to pay homage to his muses and the female form.
The Seasons of Royo is on display through May 31 at the Russell Collection. All paintings in the exhibit are available for acquisition. In addition, the suite of “Mujeres” prints (mixed media with serigraph) are available for purchase, and come with a 75-page book of illustrating the collection, signed by the artist.