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EUGENIO CARBONELL MIR El Ricón de Jordi

Introduction

I'm doing this art project about Eugenio Carbonell Mir, because he is my grandgrandfather. Doing this project will mean I will know much more about my family, and all his work of art which I do not know very well. Before starting this project, I have searched for documents and photos of his work, and I have to confess that I have an incredible amount of photos of his family, old documents, photos of most of his sculptures, and I even have some precious pieces of art at home. There aren't many documents about him, so I will try to do my best. This project, will also help me to have a good idea of who is who in my family, because I have always been weak in some aspects of family matters. This project means a lot for me, because I feel very proud of my grandgrandfather work. Taking a look at all of the sources, I'm quit impressed of his work; I have read that he worked with Benlliure (the most famous modernist artist of Valencia) and other famous artist at the time in Italy. I have also noticed the incredible amount of sculptures he has in Valencias Cemetery (I will try to include some of the photos in this project). Another thing that shocked me was to find out that he was also a politician and that he was in the local chamber representing Chelva. So I hope you enjoy this project of my grandgrandfather.

Biography

Eugenio Carbonell Mir was born in Valencia on the 12th February 1871. He was son of Tomás Carbonell Valls and Magdalena Mir Gimeno. He studied in "La Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos" in the years 1887-1888. He is inscribed with number 22; he takes classes of pictorical anatomy, History and theory of fine arts, and also of perspective and landscape. In 1888-1889, he inscribes with number 39, and he dedicates to sculpture. His most famous teachers were José Elias y Gil, Salustino Asenjo, Gonzaló Salvá, Ricardo Franch and Felipe Farinós y Tortosa. In 1890 he goes to Rome and he meets famous artists like Benlliure, Vivó, Garnelo or Villegas. There he formed the group of precious sculptures "Ya te lo devolveré". In 1892 and 1895 he went to the National Exposition and obtained the honorific mention. He married Genoveva Marzal Suay on the 4th February 1898 in the church of "Santos Juanes". She had four daughters: Rosario, Concha, Carmen and Luisa. Luisa was my grandmother; Concha and Carmen died when they were very young; and Rosario, the oldest sister, had 4 children.


His four daughters; the one of the center is my grandmother.

After his period in Rome he establishes with Aurelio Ureña, he made religious wooden sculptures. In this period of time he makes a sculpture of the "Inmaculada" for "la Seo de Urgell", one of the most famous cathedrals of Spain; he also repaired some other things in the cathedral. He had a very strong relationship with the Church. He also made a wooden sculpture that I have at home. This sculpture represents Jesus Christ, as we can see in the photograph. It is a figure that has a lot of light. I find incredible this sculpture, not only for it's incredible expression that gives the figure personality, but also for the details we can observe in the dress. We can see a very nice pattern of flowers in his tunic, the folds are also very well done. I find also very interesting how little weight this figure has. Another figure I liked was the "Inmaculada" which is also made of wood. I like the way he has done the dress, all those patterns and the folds, which makes us think that it is real. I also like the base of the wooden sculpture, which is made of small angels in a very curious cloud. In this two examples we can see that he dominated the technique of wooden sculptures.

        
Wooden Jesus Christ (left). Inmaculada in the "Seu de Urgell" (right).

In 1902 he wins the prize of a very important event in Valencia "La Batalla de Flores" (it is a feast where there is a cart show); he makes an incredible cart made of wood and very curved. After, he leaves his association with sculptor Ureña because there is not enough work for the two of them. He establishes in Spartero street 4, where he works with stone. Here he will make sculptures for the Regional Exposition of 1909. He will also work in funeral sculptures, If you go to the cemetery you will be able to see a lot of sculptures.

        
Familiar Pantheon of Gómez-Reig (left). Familiar Pantheon of Tarín (right).
The funeral sculpture was very important at the beginning of the 20th century. The most important artists who made funeral sculptures were Mariano Benlliure (who was the most popular artist of Valencia), Eugenio Carbonell(my grandgrandfather) and Luis Benedito Vives. Before known artists like Caladí, Aixa or Gilabert, had done a very religious sculpture and not very modernist; but Benlliure, Carbonell and Vives made a much more modernist sculpture. It was mostly demanded by the bourgeoisie and rich people. These sculptures were always religious, and the usual figures used were Angels. As we can see in the photograph, he used as inspiration his beautiful daughters. I liked the pantheon of the Gomez-Reig family, where we can see an angel opening a cave pulling from a bronze ring. In this particular case is his daughter Rosario, and we can see how similar they are; it is very curious, because in most of his funeral sculptures, he uses his daughters and wife as models. If we take off the wings of the angel we would think she is a nice girl. It is really nice, because of the great expression of the face. Although it is in a cemetery it has a cheerful look which makes you feel familiar with this angel. I also find incredible the way he has done the folds of the tunic, we can see that he really dominates sculpture. I also like Tarín's family pantheon. It shows us a precious sculpture of an angel pointing at the tomb, who is incredibly white and which contrasts with the greyish stone of the cross. It is made of marble so it is a really smooth sculpture, which is a quality I like in sculpture. I have only written about two sculptures but there are many more in Valencia's Cemetery.

Comparation of Rosario and the angel.

In 1911, with the help of Cortina, a famous modernist architect, he constructs an incredible house in Benimamet called by my family "el Chalet de Benimamet". This house had many sculptures and had arabic influences; it had a big garden with very aromatic flowers; it had many arcs, and he used a lot of tiles. This style, of a lot of tiles remembers me Gaudi style, and as we can see in the photo, they are very similar. It also had a kitchen full of devils and witches which made it very impressive. But unfortunately, this house was destroyed in the 1970s, so I have to thank my mother for the descriptions of this precious house.


A modernist bench very similar to Gaudi's style.


The house with an arabic style.

After the exposition of 1909, he was called by the bishop D. Juan José Lopez Fenollera from "la Seo de Urgell", and he made good works of art like the sketches of "La Custodia", "Barca de San Pedro", and the images of "la Purísima" (which are in the particular chapel in the Church of Barcelona). In 1916, he moves to Jesus street. It is at this time when he has more petitions and he becomes very prosperous. He makes a lot of pantheons for the cemetery and sculptures for modernist architects of the period. It is in this period when he makes his best funeral sculptures, most of them are angels, and it is very common in this time for him to include a small cave which makes the tomb very mysterious, we can appreciate this detail in the pantheons of Doménech, Gómez-Reig (described above), or Gonzalez Ferrer. It is in this period when his sculptures have many modernist characteristics; he used many beautiful flowers in his pantheons like in Fabregats pantheon (below in the photograph), Miralles-Cuñat, Pascual-Lluesma or Lorenzo.


Fabregats Pantheon with the detail of the flowers.

In 1916 he becomes a teacher in the academy of "Bellas Artes de San Carlos"; he was teacher till his retirement (when he was 70 years old). He was teacher of Old Painting and of Clothes (as we can see in many of his sculptures he is very good at doing the folds of the tunics and dresses). From 1923 to 1925 he is designated politician of Chelva (I was really impressed when I knew it). From 1925 to 1933, in a period of dictatorship in Spain, his funeral sculptures will have less creativity; in this period he makes pantheons for other cities like in the cemeteries of Villafranca del Panadés, Alcoy, Ávila, and other towns of the Valencian Community.


Document of acceptation in Fine Arts Academy.

In 1932 he is named academic, and occupies the vacant left by D. Luis Gilabert Ponce; and he donates a bust of his daughter Luisa (who was my grandmother) called "la Filla del Artista".


His masterpiece: a sculpture of my grandmother.

You can see it today in the museum PioV (the first sculpture you see in the third floor), and you will see a really nice sculpture. This sculpture is his masterpiece. Every time I look at this bust I'm really impressed. It's made of marble and this makes it extremely smooth. It remembers me to Canova's style; who did so smooth sculptures. We can see his ondulated hair which gives me a sense of liberty. I also admire how the face has been done, and it seems incredible how can he do so smooth nose and eyes (which are not very detailed and gives the sculpture even more simplicity). The bust has a triangular form.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War destroys many of his pieces of art. This fact affects him a lot. In 1944 he dies in his house and with his family.

Conclusion

This has been a very important project for me. When I decided to do this project about my grandgrandfather I thought I would not be able to join enough information. So I would like to start this conclusion by thanking my family, for giving me all the information I needed. Without this sources, I wouldn't be able to do this project. I also would like to say that it has been a fantastic experience to do this project, not only because I know more about family matters, but because I have studied an artist who I feel very near. I remember other projects which I did about Donatello or Lichtenstein; I can open a book and start talking about them, but doing this project about my grandgrandfather is much more than just opening a book; in those projects I just cared of writing about the artists pieces of art, but in this project I have given also a lot of importance to his personal life. It has been the most personal project I have ever done. Now that I have studied in detail this artist, I can see that he was a really good artist who should have been much more famous, just look at the sculpture of my grandmother, but unfortunately he was eclipsed by another fantastic artist of the Valencian Community: Mariano Benlliure. I am also very unhappy for the things that have happened to my grandgrandfather sculptures and pieces of arts. What about that incredible house in Benimamet? It is a shame that it was destroyed. I'm sure that nowadays it would be a Valencian Patrimony. Although many of his pieces of art have been destroyed, my family still has many of this precious sculptures, and you can find also some good sculpture in the cemetery. I also liked that he was very united to his family, as we know, many of his models were of his family, and his most famous sculpture was from my grandmother. I would like to end this project saying I have enjoyed doing this project of a person who before I knew almost nothing and now I feel familiar with him.

Bibliography

Rodrigo, C. (1997) "El Escultor Valenciano Eugenio Carbonell Mir", Departamentos de Historia del Arte Universitat de Valencia.
Giner, S. (mimeo) "Eugenio Carbonell Mir"

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