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San Benito, La Laguna – Guillermo Sureda

  1. Type of work: Painting on paper
  2. Technique: Watercolor on paper
  3. Approximate dimensions: 55 x 74 cm
  4. Subject: Landscape
  5. Title: San Benito, La Laguna
  6. Author: Guillermo Sureda (1912-2006)
  7. Chronology or Year: No date. Last third of the s. XX
  8. Historical-artistic analysis:

Style: Figurative landscape painting, taken from nature, which continues the regionalist tradition of exaltation of the Canarian land, characteristic of the artistic panorama of the islands in the first half of the 20th century.

Description: A wide dirt road, flanked by the hermitage of San Benito on the left side and by earthen houses on the right next to a parked car, occupies the entire central plane of the painting, extending diagonally towards the urban landscape in the background that is lost in the countryside. The meditated perspective to create this effect of depth and the rainy atmosphere achieved by the skill in the application of color, especially in the range of grays and silvers of the puddles that contrast with the luminous earths and ochers of the wall of the chapel bathed by the light, stand out in this composition.

Date received: October 15, 1985

Remarks: It is probably a donation by the artist on the occasion of the exhibition organized in the rooms of the Casino from October 1 to 15, 1985, a tradition established in this society since the twenties, by allowing the use of its premises for the exhibition of works by artists of the time. According to Valeriano Weyler, the painting exhibitions were inaugurated by Alfredo Torres Edward in 1926. The existence of two watercolors by Sureda in the Casino’s collection makes us doubt whether both were donated at the same exhibition or whether he exhibited on another occasion, as yet unverified.

About the author: Guillermo Sureda Arbelo (Arucas, Gran Canaria 1912 – Miami 2006) was initiated in painting with artistic drawing classes taught by Pedro Tarquis Soria at the School of Arts and Crafts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, when he and his family moved to this city in 1926, when he was 14 years old. His parallel love for music led him to enroll in the Conservatory and study violin with Manuel Tricás Ibars, becoming a violinist in the Chamber Orchestra of the Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and later in the Agrupación de Pulso y Púa Echeyde as first mandolin. While touring the peninsula with this group, he opted for painting and decided to settle in Madrid in 1942, where he was befriended and welcomed by other Canarian artists living in the capital. Under the guidance of Teodoro Ríos, he starts working as the first draftsman in the recently created advertising company “Dardo”, where he exhibits his first watercolors, mainly landscapes of the outskirts of Madrid, in 1947 and 1949. In 1950, as a cartoonist and art director, he moved to Puerto Rico, where he was hired by the newspaper El Imparcial . In a stage of maturity, his watercolors now recreate the landscape and the figures of the new scenario, already with a perfect mastery of the technique that allows him to teach it in institutions and schools, promoting watercolor among young Puerto Rican painters, and founding the private Sureda Academy in 1952. In recognition of his prolific work in both artistic creation and dissemination, in 1956 he received the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica and a plaque from the then Instituto de Cultura Hispánica for his approach to the Spanish-American world, the beginning of the numerous distinctions he would receive throughout his life, such as the Belgian Order of Merit or the Grand Prize of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, of which he became a full member, or the appointment of Doctor Honoris Causa by various universities, mainly in the United States. As a result of the contact he always maintained with his homeland and with the Canarian artistic scene during his frequent trips to the islands, he organized two exhibitions of the Agrupación de Acuarelistas Canarios at the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico in 1968 and 1975, and founded the Rondalla Canaria at the Canarian Home in Miami. In addition to the permanent exhibition in the Municipal Museum of Arucas, his work is represented in the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid, in the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, in the Museum of Ponce in Puerto Rico and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.


Tenerife Casino Archive. Minutes of the Board of Directors’ Meeting of October 15, 1985

Valeriano WEYLER: The small history of a great casino (The one in Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1964.

Agustín GUIMERÁ RAVINA, Alberto DARIAS PRÍNCIPE: El Casino de Tenerife 1840 – 1990, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1992.

José Luis DÍAZ RUIZ: Semblanza. http:// www.sureda.org/Xtras/GSA/Sala-Museo_Sureda/F- semblanz.htm

Francisco María TORRES: Guillermo Sureda. Cabildo Insular de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1992.

Sureda Exhibition Catalog. CajaCanarias Art Gallery. La Laguna, June 2007-Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, July 2007 (Texts by Joaquín Castro San Luis)