Santiago Rusinol I Prats (1861-1931) Born in Barcelona in the year 1861.
After leaving school he worked in his family's textile businesses, but he quickly broke with this family tradition and left to embark upon a career as an artist. Largely self-taught, he developed his own technical capacity in the Centre d'aquarelistes de Barcelona (Watercolour Center of Barcelona), and was also a follower of Tomas Moragas. After a visit to Paris in 1889, where he lived in Montmartre with Ramon Casas and Ignacio Zuloaga, his paintings adopted grey tonalities following the manner of Whistler, and became influenced by the Impressionists. His paintings of that period are basically landscapes, urban themes, portraits and also Art Nouveau symbolic compositions. From 1896, after travelling to Andalusia, he started to paint gardens.
When he returned to Barcelona, he became one of the most active developers of the Art Nouveau movement known as "Art Nouveau," joining artists and avant-garde writers who met in a bar whose name they adopted as their own. He also was linked with "L'avenc," a magazine treating Art Nouveau themes. The life of Santiago Rusinol is strongly linked with the town of Sitges, which he first visited in 1881. Immediately taken with the town, he decided to settle there and bought a house to exhibit his enormous collections of forged iron, glass pieces, pictures and other objects that today are part of the "Cau Ferrat Museum". He also organized the town's famous Modernist festivals.
Rusinol's enthusiasm for Sitges was based on the exceptional natural conditions and beauty of the area, and also because of the existence of an interesting school of painters there named "Escola Luminista," whose members included Joan Batlle i Amell, Felip Masso, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Joan Roig i Soler, Joaquim de Miro, and others. (For information about the school, see the specific bibliography at the end of the page).
In addition to his activities as a painter, he also was a writer of some repute.
Rusinol started to write at the age of twenty. His first writings were nature descriptions and letters, especially those to his future wife Luisa Denis. These texts were very important for him to test his grasp of language, and we find in them an element of caricature. Some of these writings, although not intended for publication, nevertheless appeared in the journal "La Vanguardia" and reveal his talent for criticism and irony.
Later, during his stay in Paris, he sent the same journal his "Cartas desde el Molino" (Letters from the Mill) (1890-1892), in which he depicts bohemian life in the Moulin de la Galette". These letters, together with his literary critiques, were collected in "Impresiones de Arte" (1897), including "Desde una Isla" (From an Island) (1893), "Desde otra Isla" (From another Island) (1894), and "Desde Andalucia" (From Andalusia) (1895).
His highest literary level was developed from the period in which he translated some works by Baudelaire, which influenced his first books: "Anant Pel Mon" (1896), "Oracions" (1897), "Fulls de la Vida" (1898), "El Jardi Abandonat" (1900), and "Cigales i Formigues" (1901), which linked with French symbolism. Rusinol was also tempted by the theatre. He wrote various plays with enormous success, like "Els Jocs Florals de Canprosa", "El Pati Blau" (1903), and also a large series of dramas, comedies and vaudevilles, culminating in 1917 with the theater version of "L'Auca del Senyor Esteve".
In order to defend Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) against its adversaries of the 'Noucentisme' - the movement following Modernisme) in Catalonia - he used the alias 'Xarau' in his writings in the magazine "l'Esquella de la Torratxa".
Rusinol died in Aranjuez, Spain, in 1931.