Oltra, Consol, Lluïsa Vidal. Pintora del modernismo, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2016→
Oltra Esteve, Consol, Lluïsa Vidal. La mirada d’una dona, l’empremta d’una artista, Barcelona, Salvatella, 2013→
Rudo, Marcy, Lluïsa Vidal, filla del modernisme, Barcelona, La Campana editions, 1996
Lluïsa Vidal. Pintora del modernismo, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, September 2016–January 2017→
Amb ulls de dona. Lluïsa Vidal, la pintora modernista, Museu del Modernisme Català, Barcelona, June–October 2014→
Lluïsa Vidal, pintora. Una dona entre els mestres del modernisme, Fundación La Caixa, Granollers, Vic, Lleida and Girona, October 2001–July 2002
Lluïsa Vidal was a painter associated with the late-nineteenth-century Catalan Modernist movement. She was born into a well-off family that valued culture and art. Because of her family environment, she was able to take painting lessons as a young child, and socialised with the leading Barcelona artists of the day. Starting in the 1890s, she decided to pursue art as a profession and began taking classes with Arcadi Mas i Fondevila (1852-1934), who familiarised her with nature painting.
Between 1898 and 1900 her work was shown on four occasions, including at the 4th Exposición de Bellas Artes e Industrias Artísticas in Barcelona, at the Sala Parés. Encouraged by the positive critical reception, she moved to Paris, where she continued her education at the Julian and Humbert academies, and travelled to London on several occasions, meeting British artists and visiting the city’s museums. Upon her return to Barcelona, her portraiture was much sought-after by prominent people of the era. Her Retrato de María Pella [Portrait of María Pella, 1906] and her portrait of her sister, Retrato de Marta Vidal Puig [Portrait of María Pella, 1911], won her widespread recognition in her lifetime. L. Vidal was one of the few women at that time able to earn a living through her art alone. She founded her own academy and worked as an illustrator for several magazines. To some extent, she was obliged to tend to her career because of the economic straits her family experienced after her father fell ill in 1906.
L. Vidal’s first contact with feminism came during her stay in Paris, and, once back in Barcelona, she joined the city’s feminist movement. She worked with the revue Feminal, the Institut Català de la Dona and the Comité Femení Pacifista de Catalunya, a Church-rooted women’s anti-war organisation. Her concern with the female condition is evident in her work. She became especially known for her portraits of women, such as her paintings of prominent women in the Catalan cultural scene that were exhibited at the Sala Parés in 1914.
Her work also reveals an interest in everyday life, particularly her domestic interior scenes featuring women. Unlike other women artists of her time, L. Vidal’s practice was not confined to painting flowers and still lifes – genres that she rarely ventured into. Thanks to her life experience and education, she was able to learn to paint unadorned nature and to have her own studio, both of which were usually restricted to men.
Despite the heights of fame she reached during her lifetime, after her premature death at the age of 42 she practically disappeared from art history. Only in the past few years has there been a new recognition of her importance, with exhibitions like Lluïsa Vidal, pintora. Una mujer entre los maestros del modernismo (Fundación La Caixa, 2001) and Lluïsa Vidal. Pintora del modernismo (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 2016). The holdings of the Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya include several of her paintings, although a major part of her production is now in private hands or unlocatable.
A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, Autorretrato [Selfportrait], c. 1899, oil on canvas, 36 x 27 cm, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Donation from Francesca Vidal and other brothers and sisters of the artist (1935)
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, La niña del gatito negro [The girl with the black kitten], 1903, oil on canvas, 156 x 90 cm, Private collection
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, Retrato de María Condeminas de Rosich [Portrait of María Condeminas de Rosich], 1909, oil on canvas, Private collection
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, Retrato de Marta Vida Puig [Portrait of Marta Vida Puig], 1911, oil on canvas, 180 x 141 cm, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Donation from Francesca Vidal and other brothers and sisters of the artist (1935)
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, Las amas de casa [Housewives], 1905, oil on canvas, 180 x 139 cm, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Donation from Francesca Vidal and other brothers and sisters of the artist (1935)
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig, Retrato de Carlota Vidal [Portrait of Carlota Vidal], c. 1906, oil on canvas, 116 x 90,5 cm, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Donation from Francesca Vidal and other brothers and sisters of the artist (1935)