J. Barry Greene Gitano Family, Sacromonte, Granada: “A Halt In The Path” 1920s SOLD P589

Not only divinely picturesque but impeccably 1920s, this painting is of a Gitano family, the boy and the young woman on their donkey, the old man seated on a rock holding the reins, the boy cradling a rooster, on the heights of the Sacromonte, Granada’s gypsy barrio, affording a view of the Alhambra and the Albayzin in the distance. Painted in the first full flood of inspiration, at the height of his powers, by a young American painter turned loose in Europe to paint after the first World War, this large canvas is unapologetically romantic and bursting with life, and a clear singing light. We also would like to draw your attention to the spectacular gilded frame. A painting that transforms any space it inhabits. Painting measures; 38″ x 52″ canvas, 45″ x 58″ frame.

J. Barry Greene (1895-1966) was born in New York City , and received his education there.  While still a schoolboy, he was given an art scholarship to the Ethical Culture Society. He also received scholarships to The National Academy, Student Art League, and the New York School of Fine and Applied Design. He had been studying art for 7 years when World War I broke out, and he served in the Intelligence Division doing camouflage work.

After the war, he returned to his art studies and was awarded a Pulitzer traveling art scholarship from the National Academy to study in Paris. Upon completing his studies abroad, he came back to the United States, and he held his first one-man show in one of New York’s 57th street galleries.In the succeeding years, he continued to travel in Europe, and he continued to study in Paris, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Among the many prizes and honorary mentions he was awarded were the John Simon-Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the Medal of Honor at the Allied Artists of America exhibition in 1942.

Sacromonte is a neighbourhood of Granada, in Spain. It derives its name from the nearby Sacromonte Abbey, which was founded in 1600 on the hill of Valparaiso outside the old city, and is built over catacombs (originally mine workings of Roman date). The slopes of the hill form the traditional gitano quarter of the city; and on the Sunday following the 1st February each year, are also the location of the Fiesta of San Cecilio, when large crowds gather to celebrate the city’s first bishop and Granada’s patron saint, Caecilius of Elvira (San Cecilio). The fiesta and abbey act as key instruments for the preservation, propagation and dissemination of the pious legend of Saint Caecilius, by which the city of Granada in the 17th century sought to redefine its historic identity, replacing its Moorish past with fabricated (or re-discovered) accounts of Christian origins. The Morisco population of Granada had been expelled to other parts of Spain following the Morisco Revolt of 1568 (except for those few trusted Moriscos who had served in the royal forces, and who were permitted to remain in the old Moorish quarter of Albaicin adjacent to Valparaiso). By the 19th century, the area had become home to a substantial Gitano community, who built their homes in caves excavated from the soft rock of the hillside. The area became famous for Flamenco music and dancing, but major floods and forced evacuations in the 1960s left the neighborhood population dramatically reduced. Since the early 1990s, however, the area has slowly become developed as a tourist attraction, and as a centre of Gitano culture.