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The noble art of portrait

Gonzalo Goytisolo thinks of himself as an art mercenary. “In the world of contemporary creation, where the trend is constant renovation, I devote myself to the most backward of the current genres, the portrait on request”. But his portraits of businessmen, politicians and middle-class families from Barcelona are, apart from a dignified income source, a necessary witness of a society and a time

G

onzalo Goytisolo (Barcelona, 1966) has found a niche for portrait. He is a talented and reputed painter, who has exhibited in some of the galleries with the longest tradition and renown of Barcelona like Sala Parés or Fundación Vila Casas. He has a long and solid career as a figurative artist which includes spectacular city landscapes and portraits, many portraits.

Gonzalo Goytisolo thinks of himself as an art mercenary. “In the world of contemporary creation, where the trend is constant renovation, I devote myself to the most backward of the current genres, the portrait on request”. But his portraits of businessmen, politicians and middle-class families from Barcelona are, apart from a dignified income source, a necessary witness of a society and a time. His palette has depicted such prominent politicians as José Montilla, Celestino Corbacho or Jorge Fernández Díaz with his family, businessmen like Josep Vilarasau, Ricard Fornesa or Juan Rosell and writers like Juan Marsé, Pere Gimferrer or Juan Goytisolo.

Son of Luis, nephew of Juan and José Agustín, Gonzalo belongs to one of the most remarkable sagas of Hispanic letters. The formidable and influential literary agent Carmen Balcells entrusted him with a portrait in 1994. “Out of affection”, says Gonzalo. He took a few photos of her sitting on a table in the agency. She had very little time for the session and her knees had started hurting by then. What he did was sitting her on a table that happened to be the same as the one where she used to climb and dance for her family when she was little. And now the table was used to cover her initially wavering legs. “These things happen”, admits the painter, who used to prepare “scenographies” and settings to photograph his portrayed characters, but lately he prefers reality to take him by surprise.

Goytisolo mentions some names, like Marcos Palazzi, Xavier Rodés, Xevi Solà, Josep Segú, the Santilari brothers; friends and colleagues of his generation. He believes that there is a mighty powerful Barcelona brand, but this brand needs support and promotion. Actually, there are many representatives of a new realism that should be promoted and exported.