Juaquin Mir Trinxet (1873 – 1940) was a Catalan Spanish artist. Living through a turbulent time in the history of his native Barcelona, he was known by the color of his paintings. They helped to define the Catalan art movement known as modernisme.
Mir Trinxet was born in Barcelona in 6 January 1873. His family was from a well-off Catalan family. His pather was representative of foreign firms, some of them from Nuremberg Mir studied at the Llotja before joining the Colla del Safrà group with Canals, Nonell, and Pichot. Thanks to an agreement with , he was abble to work as a painter and in 1899 Mir went to Mallorca with Santiago Rusiñol, where he met the mystic Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques, whose work would influence his own.. Working in isolated circumstances in Mallorca, Mir painted odd landscapes in which forms and chromatic colors merged. In his first exhibition in Barcelona in 1901, the critical reviews were positive but the public found his paintings difficult to comprehend. He started in Mallorca a solitary artistic process, full of colors whithout forms, which finished when he suffered an accident in 1905.
In 1913 he returned to more realistic positions, receiving recognision for his work. From this period, his paintings tended to become more mystic, more abstract, and highly colored evocations of nature rather than topographical scenes.
Among the artists he met in this period of his life, and who influenced him, were Laureà Barrau, Santiago Rusiñol, Eugène Carrière, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and Ignacio Zuloaga.
He was one of the rare Spanish painters of the period who did not continue his artistic education in Paris. But he visited regularly Casas and Rusiñol, which lived together at the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre, along with painter and art critic Miquel Utrillo and the sketch artist Ramon Canudas. Rusiñol chronicled these times in as series of articles "Desde el Molino" ("From the Mill") for La Vanguardia.
He had not the same influence from the French impressionists as Casas. The style that would become known as modernisme had not yet fully come together, but the key people were beginning to know one another, and successful Catalan artists were increasingly coming to identify themselves with Barcelona as much as with Paris.
Meanwhile, the bohemian circle that included Casas and Rusiñol began with greater frequency to organize exhibitions of their own in Barcelona and Sitges. With this increasing activity in Catalonia, he settled more in or around Barcelona.
Mir Trinxet contributed several murals to Casa Trinxet after his trip to Majorca with Santiago Rusiñol, where he met the mystic Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques in 1899, and before his move to Reus. He started his work in the house in 1903
"All I want is for my works to lighten the heart and flood the eyes and the soul with light." This was how Mir Trinxet summed up his private art manifesto in 1928.
Colour and light meant everything to Mir, and he used them to build a personal idiom in which he created a surprisingly modern oeuvre, beyond the art movements like Impressionism or Symbolism with which critics have often sought to associate him. Although his artistic development varied between realism and abstraction, two features crop up throughout his entire output: the urge to establish a new vision of nature and an unremitting search for beauty marked by genuine creative tension.
Mir Trinxet painted landscapes in Tarragona and Majorca (perhaps his best known works, and certainly the ones that contributed most to create the myth of the artist that merged with nature and lost himself in a delirium of light and colour). In his late works created in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Mir Trinxet intensified the realist side of his work. He also produced works during his campaigns in places like Andorra, Montserrat, Miravet and Gualba.
Special consideration has the major works for the Casa Trinxet in Barcelona, in which Mir Trinxet captured his total conception of the landscape.
Casa Trinxet was a building designed by the Catalan architect of the Catalan Modernism Josep Puig i Cadafalch and built during the years 1902–1904, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Casa Trinxet was “one of the jewels of Barcelona Modernisme” and one of the buildings of Barcelona's Illa de la Discòrdia ("Block of Discord"), because of the competing attitude among Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch and Antoni Gaudí.
The building was commissioned by Avelino Trinxet Casas, Mir Trinxet’s Uncle, which belonged to the textile industrial family Trinxet, from Barcelona. Avelino Trinxet was also the owner of the Trinxet fabric, build in 1907 by Joan Alsina i Arús en Can Trinxet, in Hospitalet, near Barcelona, in a modernist fashion.
Mir Trinxet’s style is curious in this house, paint impressionistically scattered, oppose to his other work that is decidedly less fragmented. It is a blur of colored vision, a haze of dots that travel across the eye. In the house, Mir Trinxet use a technique that gives the painting a mysticism, an almost magical luminosity, as flowers glow as orange and yellow lamps on a bed of lush green. Here we have all the warmth and freshness of a garden, intensity provided in colored blooms, and dew that clings to leaves and grass seeped into a crisp pale green. It is a painting that transports its viewer, absorbs them into an atmosphere, fitting for a mural, which has the power to change the room it commands.
These mural paintings were the most artistic period of Mir Trinxet.
He showed his interest for the decorativisme in his work for Casa Trinxet.
The vidres were made in picture-style appearance, like the commissioned by Trinxet to the Rigalt, Granell y Cía. firm in 1910-1912, following instructions from Joaquín Mir Trinxet.
The Casa Trinxet was demolished in 1968 despite attempts by artists and intellectuals to save it for conversion into a museum of Modernism, in the period of Porcioles council, for the builders Nuñez i Navarro.
Lastly movements were late to save Casa Trinxet
It is true that the range of colours in his palette coincided with the one the Impressionists used; he also coincided with them in excluding the colour black, using a host of combinations to paint shadow. But Mir used these technical resources to create a world of his own, a new landscape. Rather than assimilate and reproduce the theories predominating at the time, his work developed more out of an inner need brought into being by his idiosyncratic way of looking at nature and light.
Essentially, Mir was a landscape artist who took the landscape into a new, as yet unknown dimension. To do so, he played with and revamped a broad range of complementary colours. This is the key to the power of colour in Mir’s painting and the tool that enabled him to structure his works on colour rather than form, imbuing his landscapes with genuine soul. His style was followed by Salvador Masana.
There is a great audiovisual work, which, under the title Mir’s moving eye, presents his activities as an amateur film director for the first time. Now in the artist’s son’s collection, the films were shot between 1930 and 1936, as his life drew to a close. With this tool, viewers will also have a chance to see what life was like in the Mir family and compare real scenes with the results in his works.
In January 2011, the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne organized a major exhibition devoted to Spanish art at the dawn of the 20th century. Focusing on painters of “The Generation of 1898” who emerged from the severe upheavals endured by Spain throughout the 19th century, the exhibition highlights how these artists evolved. Oscillating between respect for Hispanic traditions and modernity, their works were part of the contemporary surge to broaden horizons that arose among the Spanish avant-garde. The Fondation de l’Hermitage selected several works of Juaquin Mir Trinxet.
According to the Fondation: "The painters who pushed and cajoled Spain into the modern era in art are hardly familiar names outside Spain: Bereute, Santiago Rusiñol, Casas, Anglada, Pinazo, Juaquin Mir Trinxet, Regoyos, and many others, are all but forgotten figures outside of Spain who nevertheless decidedly contributed to the character of Spanish painting at the dawn of the 20th century".
The emerging modernista art world gained a center with the opening of Els Quatre Gats, a bar modeled on Le Chat Noir in Paris. Casas largely financed this bar on the ground floor of Casa Martí, a building by Architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the designer of Casa Trinxet, in Montsió Street near the center of Barcelona; it opened in June 1897 and lasted for six years (and was later reconstructed in 1978). The bar hosted tertulias and revolving art exhibits, including one of the first one-man shows by Pablo Picasso.
Like Le Chat Noir, Els Quatre Gats attempted its own literary and artistic magazine. That was short-lived, but was soon followed by Pèl & Ploma, which would slightly outlast the bar itself, and Forma (1904–1908). Pèl & Ploma sponsored several prominent art exhibitions.
It is not clear if Mir Trinxet was a frequent or infrequent habitué of El Quatre Gats, where he met many of the modernist painters.
Mir Trinxet, sometimes, like Casas, adopted the art nouveau style that would come to define modernisme.
List of some works of Joaquim Mir Trinxet:
Fundación Francisco Godia, Barcelone
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n° inv. 04/2