BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PAINTER, JUAN MIRASIERRAS

Juan Mirasierras Cicujano was born in Madrid on the 10th January 1921. The son of a renowned silversmith, since early childhood he felt a vocation towards painting.

Between 1927 and 1931 he lived in Cordoba, where Julio Romero Torres gave him his first box of paints as a gift. In Cordoba, in the Museum of Fine Arts, there exists a painter's palette carved in silver, with the portrait of the Cordovan artist and various allegories dedicated to his personality, that in his memory and homage was created by Juan's father, D . Julio Mirasierras.

On returning to Madrid Juan soon abandoned the School de los Padres Salesianos to begin an apprenticeship with D. Luis Gordillo, painter of the Herraiz group and exceptional expert in the old styles and techniques , who taught him about the profession and gave him his first notions about art. He begins to collaborate on the paintings that his master carries out and also he paints some of his own.

Between 1933 and 1936 he attends as a student at the 'Escuela Central de Artes y Oficios' where he is taught by D. José Lapayese, D. Enrique Martínez Cubells and D. Marceliano Santamaría.

In 1934 he submits some drawings
to a national children's competition
that is celebrated in the 'Ateneo de
Madrid'
organised by "Agrupación
Artística
Castro Gil". He is given a
prize and is chosen to exhibit in
international exhibitions that would
follow in New York and Moscow.
guache 27 x 35 cm

 

In 1935 he receives his first paid commission: a pair of still life's ordered by a merchant.

In 1936 he continues in the workshop of D. Luis Gordillo but it is impossible to avoid the atmosphere of this time in history. His much loved eldest brother , Julio, joins a military unit and Juan without a moment's hesitation goes with him. He wants to accompany him and experience that 'uncivil' war whilst drawing ... always drawing. He was busy drawing when the general found him (of course, he was still a minor). The general was amazed and he said to him, "I'll hit you so hard that I'll send you flying back to your mother". A few days later the general called for him. Juan thought he was going to receive a blow , but instead the general gave him paints and a sketching pad on the condition that he was to paint away from areas of danger. When the battalion returned to Madrid the general threatened Juan again , " I don't want to see you again!". The battalion soon returned to the front. Juan accompanied his brother as far as the barracks. They hugged each other and said goodbye. Juan never saw him again. His brother died during combat. 

In 1939, after the war finished, Juan's father begins to reorganise the silversmiths and Juan collaborates with him for some time whilst still painting to which he has by now decided to dedicate himself completely. Time passes and without doubt D. Julio , somewhat tired by the fact that although his son cooperates he does not fully integrate himself into the silversmith business, decides one day to force the situation. Juan is forced to choose between his father's business or his art. Juan chooses to paint , giving start to a difficult and uncomfortable period which is finally rewarded some time later by a visit from the merchant that had given him his first commission in 1935. This time the merchant suggested that Juan should paint miniatures on ivory. He needs the money so he accepts, despite the fact that this kind of painting had never entered into his plans. He begins a long lasting new stage as a miniaturist. He 'invents' his technique through a laborious process of trial and error; he cannot find masters or information to give him orientation. The museums and places that have collections are all closed. Finally he learns to dominate this style and he achieves great recognition. However, at the moment of climax , in a bid to save his sense of freedom as a painter and to escape from inevitable classification and pigeonholing , he abandons this path. The painting of miniatures occurred by chance although in doing so he dedicated great effort and love to this. He carried out numerous portraits , original compositions and some reproductions of classic works of art.  

 

                

 In the 'Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes' of 1945 various miniatures of his were showcased. In 1948 he held an exhibition in Madrid (Sala Kebos) that was a great success confirming his status as one of the finest miniaturists in Spain. It was at this point that he decided to abandon his dedication to miniatures. In 1949 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs solicited his work for exhibitions in Paris and Munich. His name is registered as "one of the great Spanish miniaturists" in the anthology 'La Miniatura - Retrato En España' written and put together by the art critic D. Mariano Tomás and edited in 1953 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1949 he holds his first exhibition of oil paintings in Madrid , (Sala Dardo). He participates as part of a collective in the Sala Vilches and has work sent onto Salón de Otoño in Madrid with the notable backing of the critic Camón Aznar. His work is referred to as 'excellent'.

1951 - Juan exhibits again in Sala Dardo.

1952 - He exhibits in the new Galería Los Sotanos in Madrid. He participates in the National Competition of Fine Arts. He travels in order to study through France and part of Switzerland.

1953 - His first prize:
"Concurso Nacional de
Bellas Artes' held in Linares.

100 x 85 cm
                                           
   

1953 - He is approached by the Galería Vilches. His paintings are exhibited in itinerant exhibitions throughout Latin America.

1954 - Exhibition in Palma de Mallorca, in Galerías Costa and in the 'Circulo de Bellas Artes'. Juan receives first prize in the 'Concurso Nacional de Bellas Artes de Linares'.

1955 - His first prize:
"Gran Premio
Diputación de

Barcelona
"

100 x 85 cm
                                           
   

1955 - Juan wins the silver medal in the IV Concurso Nacional de Pintura held in Alicante. He participates in the III Bienal Hispanoamericano de Arte.

1956 - Silver medal in the V Concurso Nacional de Pintura , of Alicante. Presented with a prize at the National Competition , 'Gran Premio Diputación de Barcelona'. He participates in V Salón de Otoño in Seville.

 1957 - The 'Nacional de Bellas Artes' of this year , even though he won , was his last public exhibition.

 Sure enough, from this date onwards the artist traveled , studied and, above all , painted without pause. He paints numerous portraits during this time. He sells practically everything that he paints. The moment comes when foreign interest is shown and most of his work goes abroad, above all to the United States , where an art dealer asks him for more and more paintings. In the meantime , in search of new outlets to his artistic restlessness , he installs a kiln and begins to study the complicated techniques of enamelwork. Throughout several years , without stopping oil painting , he dedicates himself to trying to dominate this form of expression, eventually dominating it completely.

"The fact that his works of art ended up in the most prestigious national and foreign collections is enough to demonstrate the level of excellence that he had achieved." (taken from an article by J.M. Janssens).

 There are works of his art in the 'Diputación de Barcelona' , Museum of Fine Arts of Linares; Palacio del Prado (Madrid); Royal Palace of Laeken, Brussels (Belgium) ; collections and private property in Spain , France , Switzerland , England , USA , Canada , Argentina , Mexico , Venezuela , Chile , Puerto Rico , Cuba , Colombia , and others. The Hotel Carlton in Madrid and the Hotel Gran Delfin in Benidorm have a large collection of his sketches and paintings.

The portraits he has painted include :

 D. Francisco Franco Bahamonde y su esposa Dª Carmen Polo de Franco; Marqueses de Villaverde y sus hijos; Marqueses de Garcillan y Condes de Monroy y sus hijos; madre del conde de Montarco; Marquesa de Zurgena; Condesa de Isla; hijas de los Condes de Benahavis –Marta y Cristina-; familia de Ambrúster; Sra. e hijos de D. Gregorio de Velasco; Sra. e hijos de D. Mariano Jiménez Díaz; D. José M. Aycuens, Sra. e hijos; D. Luis Araujo Costa; Dª Elena Arvanitidi de Ransay; D. Carlos Marqueríe; Sra. e hijos de D. Pablo Eguinoa; Sra. e hijas del Dr. Antoli Candela; Sra. del Dr. Cano; Sra. de D. Joaquín Bau; Sra. del Dr. Muñoz Calero; Sra. de D. Eugenio Lostau; Sra. de Villamil; Sra. e hijos de Lorenzo; Mariemma; Sra. de D. Fernando Larrea; Sra. de Fernández Rivera; Sra. Vda. de Barbarosa; Sres de Pelayo; Sres. de Maldonado; Sra. Vda. de Usera; Dr. Muñoz del Rio; Sra. e hijos de Martín Sanz; Sres. de Muñoz; Sra. de Novales; Sra. de Jiménez; Sra. e hijas de Gayá; Sra. Dña. Daniela González, Vda. de Pastor; D. M. Longares, Sra. e hijos; Sra. de Galicia; Sir Oliver; Sir Eric Readel; Sra. de Giralt; D. J. Luis Ballve; Sra. Vda. de Ribas; Sra. e hijo del Dr. Cross; Dr. Iranzo; D. Antonio Iglesias; Dr. D. Francisco García Gallego; Excmo. Dr. D. Francisco Gordillo; Sra. Dña. Julia Olmos; Dña. Rosario Salazar de Cueto, Sra. de Molina, D. Luis; Sra. Dña. Julia Mirasierras de Cabezas; Sr. D. Pedro Cabezas; Srtas: Marta y Sandra Cabezas Mirasierras; Srtas. Marina Brú; Cristina Chavarri; Maravillas Domecq; Luisa Cano; Mª del Carmen Maseda; Lilian da Costa; Lourdes Mendaro; Matilde Figueroa; Helena y Sara Alvarez Miranda, etc...  Y numerosos retratos infantiles.

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INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS OF JUAN MIRASIERRAS

1934. Concurso Nacional Infantil, (Ateneo de Madrid)

1937. Concurso del Ejercito del Centro, (Madrid)

1945. Nacional de Bellas Artes, (Madrid)

1948. Sala Kebos, (Madrid). Pinacoteca, (Barcelona)

1949. Institutos de España en Paris y Munich, invitado por la Dirección General de Relaciones Culturales. Sala Dardo, (Madrid). Galería Vilches, (Madrid) Salón de Otoño, (Madrid)

1950. Nacional de Bellas Artes. Invitado por Galerías Vilches, en Venezuela, Argentina Uruguay Chile, Puerto Rico.

1951. Sala Dardo, (Madrid). Galería Biosca, (Madrid) "Concurso de Bodegones".

1952. Galería Los Sótanos, (Madrid)

1953. Salón de Otoño, (Palma de Mallorca)

1954. Galería Costa, (Palma de Mallorca. Círculo de Bellas Artes, (Palma de Mallorca). Concurso Nacional de Linares. Bienal de Arte Hispanoamericano.

1955. Concurso Nacional, de Alicante. Nacional de Bellas Artes. Concurso Nacional de Pintura

1956. Gran Premio Diputación de Barcelona. Concurso Nacional de Alicante. Salón de Otoño, de Sevilla.

1957. Nacional de Bellas Artes, de Madrid.

1960. En Jeanmarie Gallery, (New York), obra en permanencia desde este año.

1973. Galería de Arte de la C.A.A., (Oviedo)

1974. Galería de Arte de la C.A.P., (Benidorm). Aula Adsuára, (Castellón)

1976. Galería de Arte de la C.A.A., (Oviedo, Gijón y Avilés)

1977. Galería d’Art Decostyle, (Gante-Bélgica)

1978. Sala Rembrant, (Madrid)

1979. Instituto de España en Londres.

1980. Canning House de Londres.

1981. Casa de España, (Tokyo-Japón)

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SOME OPINIONS ABOUT HIS ART

In June 1949 "Sala Dardo

Luis Gil Fillol  (Art Critic and Member of the Association of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Madrid) published in "Luna y Sol"  Madrid:

"... Juan Mirasierras , exceptional miniaturist, of fine drawing and elegant brush-stroke, possessor of a technique that consists not only of patience and accuracy, but also of wisdom and sensitivity, he proved at the last moment to be a skilled painter ...

I dare to say that in Juan Mirasierras there is a painter of authentic genius.Compositions such as "Maternity" and "A Child Playing" and portraits such as those of D. Luis Araujo Costa and Dña Maria Luisa Rivas demonstrate good art, good taste, and good craft, three things that are necessary to reach great heights.

Mirasierras frankly paints in a modern style , in that contemporary style that might have seemed exotic to begin with , despite it being very Spanish, born of the Spanish artist Goya ... but Mirasierras is not "one more" or "one of many"; he has an individual technique that is very different to that of Mirasierras the miniaturist, even though this did not reflect the style of other miniaturists either, he can be very proud to have his own place in Spanish modern art ... "

 ...Within the estetic sensitivity amongst the painters we have mentioned (Francisco Arias, Juan Antonio Morales, Isaac Diez Pardo, Eduardo Vicente, Amparo Palacios, Pedro de Valencia, Francisco Lozano...) Mirasierras is more correct in his painting and more of a realist than all these mentioned.

 Mirasierras is not an impressionist; his painting loose and graceful, yet sustaining and maintaining the expression of emotion to be found in impressionism. His perfection in his still life painting as in his portraits, have admirable classical undertones. His maternity paintings, with their strength of the details of the figures, leave a print of deep feeling and something of the sublime. Of the sublime Saint Marc has said that it is defined in the brief expression of that which is most magnificent in the soul. One can apply this aphorism to Mirasierras...

 We can present him as a new value of present Spanish painting that betokens a new pictorial emotion both agreeable and engaging, through its extraordinary colouring...

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...Within the estetic sensitivity amongst the painters we have mentioned (Francisco Arias, Juan Antonio Morales, Isaac Diez Pardo, Eduardo Vicente, Amparo Palacios, Pedro de Valeneia, Francisco Lozano...) Mirasierras is more correct in his painting and more of a realist than all these mentioned.

Mirasierras is not an impressionist; his painting loose and graceful, yet sustaining and maintaining the expression of emotion to be found in impressionism. His perfection in his still life painting as in his portraits, have admirable classical undertones. His maternity paintings, with their strength of the details of the figures, leave a print of deep feeling and something of the sublime. Of the sublime Saint Marc has said that it is defined in the brief expression of that which is most magnificent in the soul. One can apply this aphorism to Mirasierras...

We can present him as a new value of present Spanish painting that betokens a new pictorial emotion both agreeable and engaging, through its extraordinary colouring...

 -In September 1949Sala Dardo

 In the magazine City of Youths - Madrid

 ... The young painter, Juan Mirasierras, despite his youth, already reaches maturity in his art... his oil paintings are notable for the classic perfection of their symmetry, the discrete entonation of colours and the simplicity of their figures. In his portraits we see a naturalness and an elegance despite the artistic appearance that can be noted in them. His still life painting is worthy of emphasis, for the fresh and bright colours that he uses... and his miniatures are beautiful, in the extreme detail of the figures and the materials which acquire an exquisite transparency...

 November 1951Sala Dardo

Luis Gil Fillol, (Art Critic and Patronage Member of the Madrid Museum of Contemporary Art), the illustrious critic wrote:

Mirasierras:

he name seems symbolic, bright and cheerful.

 Amongst all the waffle following so many private exhibitions, the racket of the Latin American Biennial Exhibition, the proximity of the prestigious annual National Competition of Fine Arts and the eternal dispute, which is now made more acute, between figurative art and that of the imagination, realist painting and the abstract, tradition and revolution, it is not in the least bit easy to attract attention towards a clean artist, that neither with stridency nor fuss, without publicity or sponsors, but on his own two feet, has followed the path that is traced by his vocation.

It's already enough to journey through the world of Art alone with a strong will, when the majority walk blindly, with crutches on loan, led by the hands of temporary guides, by encouragements of friends from cafes or dazzled by the changing spotlights of Chance. That's already enough!However with Juan Mirasierras this is not the summit of what is praiseworthy.

In his artistic training there is genuine Spanish tradition. This can be seen in Mirasierras's fine painting (not fine as in the sense of slim, but fine as in exquisite, smooth, excellent, well-mannered). With all of its nervous modernity, this painting that is frenetic in colour and calm in its background, is based upon the national measurements, both wideranging and varied, that can contain everything from the perfect harmony of Velazquez to the frenetic genius of Goya; from el Greco, mystical and deep, to Rosales, romantic and sentimental.

However, Mirasierras has adapted his spirit to our pictorial tradition without allowing himself to be won over by the cold and mathematical calculations of those who consider themselves legitimists for the sole reason of living in an old-fashioned way. Mirasierras, painter of the 20th century, has wings, impetus and decisiveness. Even if he had insisted he would not have been able to remain on the comfortable level ground of imitations. He is one that follows the path of Art – more than a mere traveller – he follows his own route, as I have said; alone and under his own responsibility, full of enthusiasm and eagerness; illuminated by that light that still reaches us from the 17th century. Having said that, this does not stop him from looking forwards towards the heights, (mirasierras) with his face to the horizon, without pausing or looking back over his shoulder.

  

Mariano Tomás,  in “Madrid” - Madrid                                                                              

 

“... Juan Mirasierras, whose first works of art exhibited in a Madrid gallery were limited to miniatures painted in a fitting and delightful style which we praised at that time, he now shows us in the Salón Dardo a series of oil paintings, in which the vigorous technique separates itself from the   

meticulous series of dots used in the painting of miniatures, and he reveals himself as being an original painter who avoids extravagancy and is a realist without affectations. This is the best decision made by Mirasierras; he does not follow any particular School and he forges his path through his own criterion. In the portraits he conveys a very life-like expression of the model and the light that surrounds the figure, as he does with the colour and the flexible creases of the clothing, in a way that is both succinct and honest simultaneously; the proportions are moulded without extreme care, and yet they skillfully suggest planning and volume; a good example is his painting of a nude finely drawn and perfectly embodied, which goes beyond impressionism deliberately stopping before arriving at an affected type of realism... In the canvases of flowers and still life we find a variety of themes and styles, delicate and transparent in some, vigorous in others, in all cases mastering the use of light and form. But the canvas in this exhibition which has pleased us the most and that we have examined most thoroughly, is a landscape that is titled "Tierras de Ayllón"; first for the quality in itself, and secondly because we did not recognise Mirasierras as a landscape painter. It is an enormous area of Castilian prairie in which in the distance, the sense of space and the light, that gradually varies are achieved with true mastery.  

 

We are extraordinarily pleased and it is worthy of celebration for us to find a young painter that still possesses the desire of renewal, he does not twist the figures, or the drawing, nor does he splash arbitrary colours on the canvas in the effort of trying to pass himself off as a genius... Mirasierras is an artist through pure vocation and before presenting himself as a painter, he learned to be just that...

 

                            

M. Sánchez Camargo, in "National Radio" - Madrid:   

 

"... One of the latest exhibitions that has had most resonance amongst the echoes of art criticism has been that of the painter, Juan Mirasierras, a young artist that has made a successful alliance between traditional concepts and the new trends of aesthetics. Of the genres that, by good fortune, Mirasierras cultivates his portraiture stands out, which calls for both logic and general acceptance, an obligation that the artist must conserve in order, apart from holding onto the likeness, to create the pictorial concept that are the foundations and support of the accomplishment. In this difficult aspect, Juan Mirasierras has united technical knowledge with sensitivity, and his works of art as a whole, correspond to a painter that, as someone who understands the trade, is capable of creating a painting that is a faithful representation whilst also transmitting a message to the viewer..."

 

 

José Camon Aznar, (Art critic. Professor of Literature Theory and the Arts of the University of Salamanca) in ABC - Madrid:

 

"... the technique of Juan Mirasierras in this exhibition in Sala Dardo, yields its ripest fruits in the children's portraits in which both theme and function are adapted, as well as in some interiors that also find their best expression in this painting of such satisfying intonations..." 

 

 

Federico Galindo "Rufo Velázquez", in "Dígame" - Madrid:

 

The painting of Juan Mirasierras pleases us for two reasons: for the delicacy of colour and the simplicity of his resourcefulness. The artist who demonstrates a clear serenity of spirit brings this to his canvasses, that stand out for the balance of their composition and the cleanliness of their diction. Mirasierras's palette is of a pleasing purity..."

 

 

Octubre 1952, "Galería Los Sótanos":

 

Mariano Tomás, in "Madrid" - Madrid:

 

Juan Mirasierras is advancing towards a well-defined personality that is not influenced by any other known artist. His painting is of a light touch, of clear shades, almost fragile in essence, as if crystalline, however nonetheless the painting is perfectly conceived, even in those works of art that   might be of the greatest difficulty, as in his "Desnudo de niña". There is no repetition at any   point, the figure has been accomplished fluidly, amusingly, with illumination. Nor do we see    hesitations in his other works, and his canvasses give a sensation of being almost immaterial. He is a good landscape painter but he does not limit himself to this facet, and his painting gathers together all genres, from still life to portrait painting; here is the head of Maienma, a serene drawing, with an illuminated expression.

                            

Amongst the new painters it pleases us to find one that, searching for a new artform, he does not fall into performing a balancing act,  nor does he lose himself in extravagance. Mirasierras is a serious painter that does not follow any trodden path..."

 

 

Antonio Cobos, (Art Critic, Senior Member of A.E.C.A - Spanish Association of Art Critics) in "Ya" - Madrid:

 

"... Juan Mirasierras presents a varied collection of oil paintings. He paints with ease... in "Mujer Dormida" the colours are brilliant. For being free and easy "Gallinero" and "Cuadra" stand out, and above all, "niño tocando la armónica...".

 

 

Juan Gich, en "Alcázar" - Madrid:

 

Juan Mirasierras offers a vision of the landscape of the Sierra in a series of paintings in which he distributes the colour in large smudges, with brief and concise brushstrokes. It is an interpretation in which the landscape is as if absent, and it is merely insinuated in a summary sketched at great

speed... he also exhibits some good portraits, full of humour and ease..."

 

 

- November 1952, "Galería Los Sotanos":

 

José Camón Aznar, (Art Critic. Professor of Literature Theory & Arts of the University of Salamanca) wrote in "ABC" - Madrid:

 

"... The painting of Juan Mirasierras converts the delicateness of his intonations and of his designs into a virtue... In the figures of children he achieves timid harmonies, a rosy simplicity which is most agreeable for this subject matter... In this exhibition, the most attractive canvasses are the    landscapes, rough and simple, giving a fugitive impression of shades that seem to float..."                                                                                                                               

- April 1954, "Galerías Costa y Circulo de Bellas Artes" - Palma de Mallorca:

 

M. Ramírez, in "La última hora" - Mallorca:

 

Mediocrity, vulgarity and even bad taste have taken possession of current life in such a regrettable proportion, above all in the art sector, that when we come across an oasis of majesty on our travels, something that is exquisite and fine, we breathe with a sigh of relief that delicious scent that is given off by beautiful things and recognized good taste. Juan Mirasierras is the author of this oasis...He paints in a way that is well-formed and fine, full of exquisiteness, and he transmits his feelings with an ease and simplicity through his resources. One adores his contemplation. In general his work calms and lifts the spirit..."  

G.C. "Diario de Mallorca" - Palma de Mallorca:

  

" Juan Mirasierras presents a beautiful collection of portraits of evident elegance. In summary he hints at an influence by Goya. The colour - light and perfectly harmonized - in his canvas he creates a sense of importance that highlights the magnificent aspect of his subject... In our opinion, the best of his artistic labours are to be found amongst his children's portraits. In the landscapes of Guadarrama he shows us a new and very interesting revelatory aspect of fine perception and a delicate narrative freshness, resovled through a lightness in the material of the colours, in which he puts to use an exquisite sensitivity..."

  

Gafim, in "Baleares" - Palma de Mallorca:

 

"... Juan Mirasierras, an excellent painter has a palette that is rich in shades of grey and an innate sense of good taste... He has perfectly assimilated Goya's paintings of children - pearly grey - used in the "majas", silk and mother-of-pearl painted in medium tones..."

 

                                                                                                                                                  

P. Crespi, in "Radio, Mallorca" - Palma de Mallorca:

 

"... The Art Galleries remain linked to two names during this last fortnight: Santasusagna y Mirasierras, two samples that we should not put into comparison but that we should put at the forefront of our commentary. Two paintings in which nothing anodyne or lacking in expression can

 

be noted. They search for beauty in different ways. Both speak directly to the soul, calling upon ones intelligence and good taste, sensitivity and harmony, that always govern in those works of art in which the artists know the ground on which they are treading and they step on it with solidity,

without ever giving way to extravagance. There is refinement even amongst the nudes. Their is purity in the faces and perfect vision in terms of chromatic harmonies..."

                                                                                                                           

  -September 1955:


Juan Martínez de Úbeda, (Poet and Art Critic for the magazine "Linares"):

"... Mirasierras, in the prime of his youth is already a master, and his position surprises us, because generally the young people of today dedicate themselves to dreaming without creating, destroying without contributing to that 'something' that sooner or later genius's bring. In Mirasierras we have a painter with a large body of work. This work that stands behind him shares a part of the glorious, the old and the new, in that of today. He is part of a tendency that is frankly too in accordance to be called "modern", without catalogueing him amongst those who try to hide their impotence under the mask of a type of modernism that is neither abstract nor surrealist, and is not worth the effort of being considered seriously. We are seduced by his aesthetic creed, by his ambition, because of what he searches for in the current mists of our time. His painting, "desnudo de las zapatillas rojas" - 1st prize in the XIII National Competition - constitutes a summary of the pictorial work of Juan Mirasierras: it was, if you remember, a naked adolescent, a painting that is indisputable in its nobility, for its good humour, its simplicity, for the delicate expression of innocence which he has been able to encourage in the model. In all of Mirasierras's works of art there is good humour, nobility, an angelic quality and it certainly is brave subject matter - like in that nude - his paintbrush is the perfect artist's assistant that see's with "a purity of vision". Mirasierras, because that's just how it is, fills his surroundings with a poetic essence, and the work that comes from his creative hands is full of that essence, of that poetry that he gives it, not of today or yesterday, but of eternity. What we

have seen of Mirasierras is fused with an inexplicable tenderness. And this is the personality: to live for the work of art, to be a bit like a God in the creation of each hour."

 

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- November 1974, Galeria de Arte de la C.A.P (Benidorm). Aula Adsuára, (Castellón):

Gonzalo Puerto, en "Mediterráneo" - Castellón:

"... The painter, Juan Mirasierras, dominates the art of drawing admirably and this allows him to work within and give structure to any given theme; he knows how to deal with the human figure with singular mastery. He is an artist that is tidy in his drawing, showing no signs of stridency, he has great sensitivity and a deep technical knowledge. His painting is exquisite, serene and holds a beautiful lyricism to which he adds a marvellous sense of light and the exact correctness of the valuation of tones. There is harmony in his work, delicate tenderness and strength in unison; a clarity of ideas and solidity in the composition. He is a painter with personality, neat and irreproachable, who demands a lot whilst fleeing from being pigeonholed and from being forced to specialise. He attempts to deal with all subjects and succeeds with mastery..."


"Chirlandaio, (Art Critic from the magazine "Obra" - Castellón):

"...A renowned painter, we should recognise the fact that Juan Mirasierras gives honour to the fame he has acquired. He is eminently figurative in his painting, the nudes, the landscapes, the compositions, the paintings of figures. With each one he confers a different treatment and chromatic, always allowing one to see a reflection of his stamp and his personality in the background..."  

E. Trillo de Cáceres, - Benidorm:

"...Juan Mirasierras is a born painter, who is able to reach down into the depths. To see what others don't see and then to able to capture it. This is a gift of only a chosen few..."

- March 1976, Galería de la Obra Social y Cultural de la Caja de Ahorros de Asturias:

J.M. Janssens-Van de Velde, (wrote in the daily newspaper "La Nueva España" - Oviedo):

"...Mirasierras did not doubt in putting effort into consolidating and deepening his knowledge of Asturias. For a long period of time this was his only work; not only did he enjoy this but he also suffered somewhat. Indeed, as it is known, we are talking about a painter that dominates the technique or, one could say, the 'trade' to perfection. We are also dealing with a true artist, which implies that he is very demanding of himself when it comes to painting. He applies the ideal treatment that is required by the subject to each one of his paintings. This artistic rigour, this eagerness to explore in depth, becomes a patent of all the artwork of Juan Mirasierras..."

 

J. Villa Pastur, (Art Critic of the daily newspaper "La Voz de Asturias" - Oviedo):

"It is a frequent result that renowned painters upon confronting themselves with our landscapes, which are so heavily tinged with colour due to the abundance of vegetation and because of their special geological structure, they find themselves subjugated by them; by the beauty contained within them, and the pictorial challenges that they offer. These difficulties derive from the dense atmosphere and by the constant shifts and changes of light. Consequently, there are quite a few artists that have failed in their desire to carry over these landscapes onto their canvasses. Others, as has happened with Castor Plasencia or with Robles towards the end of the last century, or more currently with Alvaro Delgado, Martínez Novillo, Agustín Río, Arjona, etc..., have overcome the challenge successfully. Amongst these last few names we must also mention, from now onwards, the name of Juan Mirasierras.

Mirasierras is a painter - a good painter - that we discovered a few years ago. He pleased us then, in his way of doing things, his solid professional anchorage and his peculiar vision of our subjects. Since that time Mirasierras has traveled around our province several times, accustoming his eye to the constant climatic characteristics of its colourful geography. The fruit of these journeys are the paintings that he has shown us, precise in capturing the "Asturian atmosphere", and accurate in the condensed and dynamic description of the many expressive elements that shape its geography. According to our taste, his most ingenious discoveries come in the form of the 'pure landscapes' - the valleys, crags, cliffs... - due to the nimble execution with which they are carried out, the expressiveness achieved by skilled use of semi-tones and by the allusive formal content of the brush marks that are always exact in terms of substance. There can be no room for doubt that Juan Mirasierras has known how "to look" and to capture the most expressive and significant ingredients of our region with authentic pictorial veracity.

 

José Antonio Cepeda, on "Radio Asturias" - Oviedo:

"... Asturias pictorially understood through its landscapes and people. Mirasierras's painting

immediately brings us to reflect upon the plurality of the Asturian land that possesses certain qualities - telluric as well as human - that the painter, without having been born in Asturias, has penetrated to the essence which by its pure strength obliges the locals of each place to fall into a dream with what they are already accustomed to seeing. This diversity of Asturias interpreted by Juan Mirasierras can be seen as a platform upon which by seperating himself from an aesthetic concept it leads to suggestions of all kinds. For example, to cultural suggestions... He has made us think and ask ourselves: have we reached the point at which it is time to look deeper into a key subject, such as that as the bonds that culturally unite a people? Do such bonds exist in Asturias? Through his painting Mirasierras makes us reflect upon such a matter..."

 

José Antonio Cepeda, (Art Critic, written in the newspaper "Región" - Oviedo):

On speaking of Mirasierras, I said on a previous occasion that he excites the spectator through the difficult method of his use of light, colour and the drawing in itself... His paintings continue to enthral us. In terms of landscape painting they pulsate with all the imponderable richness of Asturias, that expresses itself from the Cantabric Sea to the peaks of Pontón and Tarna, from Pajares to Ventana, from Leitariegos and the Garganta which are key areas of the Three Oscos.

The shades of green that Mirasierras uses can be juicy or dry, with tones of blue or purple, between silver and gold... And the sea, that sea which is never monotonous nor samely, that possesses a series of facets turning it into something completely original thanks to Mirasierras's hand and palette. Is Asturias like this? Asturias, in being plural, can be seen in many ways.

And within this the painter creates and recreates himself until he gives one to understand the precise intellectual concept in some cases and the emotional in others. Because Juan Mirasierras knows that to produce a formally intelectual painting does not suffice in presenting everything held within the thoughts of the painter...

Alvaro Delgado said to me that Asturias is black, and it is possible that he is not wrong if we look deeply into his subjective interpretation. But there is more, much more to be found in an Asturias that has hidden aesthetic surprises in each and every twist of the path. And Juan Mirasierras understands it in this way, in offering us an Asturias that is both literary and human in El Fontan, or demandingly pictorial in the case of the so-called mountain of Luarca. But it is appropriate to add another point when referring to Mirasierras: the fact that he touches deeply upon the figures that are caught up in his landscapes. Figures that contain great human characteristics, figures that are engrossed or in movement, that also belong to an Asturias that is difficult to define psychologically..."


Luis Suárez, in the daily newspaper "Región" - Oviedo:

"... Apart from the rare exception, the Asturias of the blurred and nostalgic blue summits, that of the violet dusks and the browned autumnal forests that serve to counterbalance the lush green of the meadowlands and the geometric architecture of the grey-brown raised granaries, have been a closed shop for the painters of this region... Amongst the others, only from time to time, one or other artist from beyond Pajares that was captured by the beauty of Asturias has made battle with his palette and paintbrushes, having mastered himself uptil the point at which he was able to become imbued with the atmosphere, with the beauty and the chromaticism of the landscape, and in this way was able to conquer it. Juan Mirasierras belongs to this stock. His painting, a product of that difficult mastery of which we have spoken, is without doubt, Asturias... All art criticism has coincided in judging the marvellous quality of the works of Mirasierras..."


J. Villa Pastur, ( Art Critic from the daily newspaper "La Voz de Asturias" - Oviedo):

"... oil-paintings, tempera, wax, pastels and watercolours... Juan Mirasierras is a painter with a wide vocabulary within his trade who handles all the different fields of painting with wonderful grace. His landscapes have the atmosphere and colour of fluidity in construction and precision in their substance... The presence of the human form, which is admirably immersed in the modelled unity of the composition, heighten the singular spiritual values of those landscapes. In the compositions the drawing skills of the painter are revealed in the apparent syncopated fullness of the forms, and in the solidity with which the figures appear to be 'planted', so much in their movements as in their resting poses. His sense of chromatics can be seen in all of his paintings, tempered with the environmental determinisms that are imposed by the chosen settings, and by the organic necessities of the scenes that are represented. He is a painter in excess of the word 'good', rich in professional resources, who handles his art with great skill, with solid and efficient ways of producing what he does: an excellent painter..."

 

-In April 1976: Galería de Arte de la C.A.A (Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés):

Pepe Galiana, in "La Voz de Avilés" - Avilés:

" ...The works of Mirasierras are that of an artist with robust technical consistency, a practitioner in the art of painting in its multiple and joyous paths... A series of works representing a period in painting that in an exemplary fashion was addicted to the figurative movement, with a poetic depth and touched with qualities. The paintings of Mirasierras do not carry the labels of someone that searches for a modernism that is already a bit outmoded and that in so many confused opportunities

has resulted in sterile attempts. In being faithful to himself he follows a line which is seemingly directed towards aims that are well rooted in the grounds of art, his works glow with feeling that goes beyond the depth of his paintings... Lastly, we highlight with authentic delight the satisfying success of those six watercolours, that make up an overture within this exhibition. These rustic paintings that possess a strong nerve, learned and lively elaborations, really do serve as a lesson inpainting..."

 

- In April 1977, Galería d'Art Decostyle (Gante - Belgium):


Kontakt - Deze Week, (Gante - Belgium):

"... The work of Juan Mirasierras, possessing a great technical command as well as a command of the trade itself, stands out as that of a traditional painter with a link to the people. He is attracted by characters in rural settings and by the type of people one can find on the street. His works seems to us to give praise to the generally forgotten beauty that one can find in the everyday life of common people. Also, in his landscapes, when he brings himself close to nature, the presence of mankind is an important part of the painting..."

 

- In November - December 1978, Galería de Arte Rembrant - Madrid:

The painter, Mirasierras, from Madrid who is exhibiting work in the "Sala Rembrant" – absent from exhibitions in Madrid for now just over twenty-five years - is one of the few artists that has risen silently up the stairway to success - Interest from royalty, mentions and Honour Awards - commissions from Heads of State - public figures and collectors, etc... fame at an international level that, with humility and modesty. he has gradually arrived at through the message behind his painting.

The path to fame is long and winding and it is no bed of roses: those that show themselves to possess talent witness the way in which all of their creations disappear without a trace amongst anonymity and collectors.

There are many that hear the calling and few that are chosen!!. There can be no doubt that this phrase is applicable to the world of art.

It is impossible to decipher in a few words and in an exact way the work of Mirasierras: it is sufficient to say that his paintings seek to represent the world and that the world is represented in his paintings.

The Gallery, in paying tribute to this painter, publicly acclaims his criterion supported by many others of renowned stature in the world of art.

 

José Camón Aznar, (Art Critic, Professor in Literature Theory & the Arts of the University of Salamanca) - Madrid:

"In 1949, on commenting upon the work of Juan Mirasierras, I wrote that it demonstrated great technique, touched with tones that reflect in a truthful and realist way, the true nature of things. His work has established itself throughout the course of his artistic production, becoming increasingly strengthened in the realism of its figures and in the expressiveness of its tonal values. His art, that has become increasingly solid, has become incorporated into the traditions of the school of Spanish painting. And it is this expressiveness and adjustment of the tones he uses that gives his art its authentic personality..."

 

Antonio Cobos, (Art Critic, Senior Member of A.E.C.A - The Spanish Association of Art Critics), wrote in the daily newspaper "Ya" - Madrid:

"The convincing and conscientious painter from Madrid, Juan Mirasierras, after more than twenty years of having distanced himself from the exhibiting world of Madrid, presents an extensive and varied collection of his work.

And it is a joy to be able to confirm that his painting style of 'yesterday', sincere and irreproachable as it was, has been maintained in its pristine freshness in his latest works of art.

Categorised as a fully rounded painter many years ago, Mirasierras's creations, that are charming and humanistic, are fully in line with the aesthetic concepts of an independent artist, who is anxious to capture the concrete and real ups and downs of man as we know him: a goal that has forced him towards figurative expression through the marginalization of an esoteric approach. Juan Mirasierras is like an inexhaustible spring, in terms of subject matter, he focuses on everyday people and the live nature that surrounds him, and this is also the case when diving into the interior of the people that are captured in the canvasses of this great portrait painter, just as when he confronts the infinite, in his deeply serene landscapes, Mirasierras searches for the timelessness that is to be found in work that is well executed..."

 

Conchita de Kindelán - Madrid:

"... After several years of not exhibiting in Madrid, this great artist now shows us his work. Described in these terms by the critics, his well-deserved prizes and years of study and dedication. He has mastered the art of drawing and the use of colour, that he mixes and softens with great knowledge. He knows how to handle the palette knife and paintbrush, being amongst those that possess all the techniques and secrets. A realist who is free from affectation, he handles what his eyes see and his spirit senses with simplicity, putting in notes of great quality. Gouaches, watercolours, oil pastel, all of which spring from his hand with mastery and spontaneity. His figures, landscapes and portraits, a vast and complete range of subjects, give credit to his experience and personality, already incorporating his work into the fine tradition of Spanish painting..."

 

In 1978, J.M. Janssens-van de Velde, comments:

After a voluntary ostracim lasting several years, during which he has attended to orders made from within and outside of the borders, now Juan Mirasierras has taken the correct decision to take a break from this path and fully dedicate himself to preparing his reappearance as an exhibitor.

...His painting has a specific hallmark, very much so “sui generis”. Standing apart from any particular School or trend, he is at the same time undoubtedly modern, contemporary and yet, on he other hand, he searches for his roots in the depths of the age-old Spanish pictorial feeling.

...He flees from being pigeonholed, tackling the most diverse subjects and genres. … just by simply looking at his paintings, it is perfectly clear that what Mirasierras firmly believes in is in the essence of painting itself, and that he loves painting above everything else, his work being that of a painter that devotes himself completely with fervour, partly mystic, partly sensuous, to the pure joy of painting. If this is not so, let the public say!”


Juan Mirasierras Retrospectiva - 28 Noviembre 1989 – 15 Enero 1990


It is both truly surprising and amazing that even these days there can still exist artists that are capable of guarding their aesthetic convictions with the upmost implacability. Both for his technical ability and for the Love of Art – at a time when the air being breathed in the art circuit is estranged in all senses of the word, and the world of art criticism has had to invent a jargon 'sui generis' in order to be able to comment on supposed pictorial creations that are unintelligible and when many painters, as gifted as they are fearful, set themselves to concealing the fine drawing in their work that was gifted to them by the gods themselves.

One of the most significant cases of incorruptibility is that of the unique artist, Juan Mirasierras, who has known how to keep the freshness in his refined painting throughout his most recent work.

We once said at a previous exhibition that this exquisite artist was searching for immortality in his painting, through the simplistic 'Dorian' path of producing “well-made art”. Now twenty years later after that exhibition we must make a point of the fact that the sense of timelessness in Mirasierras's work is “a given” that has been made above and beyond his own deliberations and intentions.

Juan Mirasierras, a naturally gifted, cultured and hypersensitive man, has also been a seamless artist with tenacious mettle, always prepared to occupy positions of pre-eminence in each and every piece of his artistic work in which he has chosen to integrate himself with throughout his life.

Emphatic proof of this can be found in the fact that when he dedicated himself to portraiture painting using plates of ivory he was considered to be the first and foremost of the 20th century, within the category of “portrait miniatures” belonging to Spain. In addition to this, he was later proclaimed to be the most important artist in Europe within the field of “enamel portraiture”.

However, these smallholdings of art were mild feats for an artist with the expressive and technical ability of Juan Mirasierras. Due to this he ventured into the great field of painting, having his signature work categorized with unusual alacrity, as being that of a sensitive landscapist, a convincing and truthful painter of interiors and scenes relating to local customs.

Above all he is recognised as a splendid portrait painter capable of capturing the beauty of the feminine spirit on canvas as well as the innocent tenderness of children.

All of the artistic creation of this exceptional artist was inspired in relationship to the human condition, this being the very reason for his portrait painting. For this same reason he shows leadership through close human typography; and when this is not the case, he at least acts as a counterpoint.

During the 1960's and 70's Mirasierras painted portraits of some of the most important members of Spanish high society. He has painted hundreds of important portraits; during a time in which other artists such as Agustín Segura, Mosquera and Carrilero also shined.

Juan Mirasierras, it is clear from his limpid and smooth style of painting he took into account that eternal lesson of simplicity and veracity, imparted to us by the greatest painter that the world has ever known: Don Diego de Silva y Velázquez.

Antonio Cobos

Crítico de arte, Decano de A.E.C.A


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