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Luis Garay

12-02-2024    {{catList[367].label}}

Luis Garay was a renowned writer and painter who created works reflecting the popular customs, rural landscapes and still lifes of the city. He was born in the Murcian district of Nonduermas on September 17, 1893, in a humble family nucleus. When he was young, his family moved to a small labourer’s house in Blanca and later in Abaran.

He always showed interest and skill in drawing. When he was barely 12 years old, he started working in a grocery store, where he met several clients who would later become his colleagues.

Intellectual formation

In 1908, he began taking drawing classes at the Economic Society of Friends of the Country, coinciding, among others, with Pedro Flores, Clemente Cantos, Jose Planes and Victorio Nicolas, and with Don Jose Maria Sanz and Don Antonio Meseguer as teachers.

Sometime later, together with Pedro Flores, he began working in a lithographic workshop and learned photographic techniques, focusing on the tasks of photographic retouching and dedicating himself to painting at the same time.

For a long time, he shared his studio with several friends, but in 1916 he found a flat in an old mansion on Riquelme Street, where he set up his studio together with a group of artists recognized outside Murcia. Among them were Jose Planes, Clemente Cantos, Antonio Garrigos, Pedro Flores, Joaquin Garcia, Victorio Nicolas and Jose Maria Almela Costa.

Relevant friendships

Later, he was visited by Juan Guerrero and Jose Ballester. "The friendship of these two fine writers and excellent friends has always been very helpful to our intellectual formation," commented Luis Garay.

At the age of 25, he attended the Autumn Salon in Madrid for the first time. In 1922, he won first prize with a poster announcing that year's carnival in Murcia and came to create several illustrations for the newspapers El Liberal and La Verdad and the magazine Verso y Prosa.

In 1924, he married Carlota Hernandez and they had a daughter. Later, in 1927, he held an exhibition together with Pedro Flores and Ramon Gaya in Barcelona. In 1928, both Luis Garay and Ramon Gaya received a scholarship from the Provincial Council of Murcia to study in Paris, achieving great success.

Return and success in his hometown

Upon his return, Luis Garay held several exhibitions with which he toured different European countries. In addition, he focused on illustrating books such as "Otoño en la ciudad", created by Jose Ballester.

Years later, upon the founding of the School of Arts and Crafts in his hometown, he was a professor of Artistic Drawing until the start of the Spanish Civil War. In 1943, he received the Villacis prize awarded by the Provincial Council.

He wrote an autobiography entitled "Una época de Murcia", in which he portrayed the environment and characters that surrounded him in his professional career. Also, in 1956, he wrote a book entitled "Estampas murcianas: Ensayos Literarios", which narrated the daily events of the city. However, he was unable to see it published because he passed away from respiratory problems at his home that same year. It should be noted that this book was awarded the Andres Baquero Almansa Prize for literature.

His work

Luis Garay was a painter of the 1920s generation, with a serene technique that reflected his calm personality. His colour was not vivid, but, rather, leaned towards a melancholic side, using a lot of light to structure the spaces and volumes of the figures.

His works do not stand out for being academic or superficial, but for the expressionism that was somehow inherited from his admiration of Paul Cézanne. His paintings connect with the traditions or customs of the neighbourhood, being connected to the people and their daily habits.

Among other places, he held exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin, Havana and, of course, his beloved Murcia.
Activities in the region of Murcia

       Murcia city

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