Barradas, Rafael (c. 1890–1929)

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Barradas, Rafael (c. 1890–1929)

Rafael Barradas (b. c. 4 January 1890; d. 12 February 1929), Uruguayan painter. Born in Montevideo, Barradas had a brief career as an illustrator and journalist for newspapers and magazines such as El Tiempo, Bohemia, and La Semana; in 1913 he founded the periodical El Monigote (The Bumpkin). Barradas traveled to Europe that year and settled in Spain, where he worked as an illustrator for the magazines La Esquella de Torratxa, in Barcelona, and Paraninfo, in Zaragoza. He exhibited at the Galerías Dalmau in Barcelona in 1916 and the following year in the Salón de los Humoristas in Madrid. In his first solo exhibition at the Galerías Layetanas (1918), he introduced an aesthetic conception which he called vibracionismo, his interpretation of futurism and cubism.

During the early 1920s Barradas worked in Madrid as scenographer and toy and poster designer. He also illustrated editions of books by Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, and Félix Lope de Vega and was costume designer for Federico García Lorca's El maleficio de la Mariposa. He frequented the Ultraístas, a group of poets that included Jorge Luis Borges, and collaborated with the latter on the magazine Tableros. He worked on Los Magníficos, portraits of popular Spanish types, rendered in monumental geometric forms. He devised clownism, an expressionistic style in which he painted picturesque details of busy urban areas. In 1924 he was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris. Back in Barcelona, he painted a series of watercolors called Estampones de Montevideo (Prints of Montevideo), humorous views of that city.

In 1928 Barradas returned to Montevideo, where he died a few months later. His last work was a series of madonna and child images rendered in a postcubist style. Barradas, who produced his most significant work in Spain, is considered an innovative personality in the history of Uruguayan art.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Angel Kalenberg, Seis maestros de la pintura uruguaya: Juan Manuel Blanes, Carlos Federico Sáez, Pedro Figari, Joaquín Torres-García, Rafael Barradas, José Cuneo (1987).

Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820–1980 (1989).

Raquel Pereda, Barradas (1989) and Rafael Barradas (1992).

Additional Bibliography

Casal, Julio J. Rafael Barradas. Buenos Aires: Editiorial Losada, 1949.

Jardí, Enric. Rafael Barradas a Catalunya i altres artistes que passaren la mar. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Comissió América i Catalunya, 1992.

                                          Marta Garsd

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Barradas, Rafael (c. 1890–1929)

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