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JOAN VIVES LLULL. 1901- 1982 Mallorca and Menorca. Between two loves
At the beginning of the 20th century, Menorcan painting was alien to the new trends in art and Impressionism was just beginning to be appreciated.
It can be said that Joan Vives Llull was the first modern painter in Menorca. Modernity is understood as the search for new paths beyond academicism.
Vives Llull came from a modest family, with no artistic tradition. But he had three things: a talent for drawing, a love of landscape and a curiosity for knowledge. But his family did not support him in his desire to become a painter. One day he was amazed by the work of Anglada Camarasa, which he discovered in a magazine and, knowing that he had settled in Mallorca, he decided to visit him. He went to spend fifteen days there and spent five years there (1925-1930).
He wrote: “In Mallorca a new world opened up to me, as luminous as ours in Menorca, but with a hallucinating and balanced nature, blinding to the gaze of an aspiring apprentice painter”.
In Mallorca he exhibited for the first time in 1929 in a group exhibition at the Salón de Otoño. With success. In 1930 he returned to Menorca to take over the antiques business that his parents had set up for him.
From that moment on he began to triumph on his island and maintained contact with the group of painters from Anglada Camarasa’s circle (what has come to be known as the Escola de Pollença). He also brought to Menorca paintings by Anglada, Cittadini, Meifrén, Puget and Gelabert…
Until the 1970s he continued to hold important exhibitions with great success both in Menorca and Mallorca. He even exhibited in La Coruña and the Kandinsky Gallery in Madrid.
In 1979 Bennàssar Galleries dedicated a tribute to him.
His painting is characterised by its authenticity. He is a painter of easel and plein air work, in the open air. His notes of the port of Maó, with a post-impressionist character, are delightful. With a very impastoed painting and a sure brushstroke, he delicately captures the lights and colours in an elegant way. When he was in Menorca, a rather flat island, he missed the verticality of the Mallorcan landscape, with its cliffs and deep valleys, which led him to become interested in painting clouds on a tiny horizon.
He died in 1982 and received numerous tributes and acknowledgements as one of Menorca’s great painters.
Juan Elorduy, July 2022