In October 1899, just over two months before his death, 27-year-old Henri Evenepoel was excited and elated: the Ghent Museum had decided to buy his Spaniard in Paris, a portrait of his friend, the 35-year-old Spanish painter Francisco Iturrino. A short while before that, the canvas had been shown to the public for the first time at the Ghent Salon. It was a great success. The critics called the painting 'characteristic of contemporary Belgian art' and 'an almost perfect masterpiece'. It was the magnificent result of five years of painterly research into the essentials of the powerful and dramatic full-length portrait. Here, the artist has deliberately left the background open, so that it sets off the figure of the tall man in a black cape and black suit. Evenepoel painted the figure first and filled in the background later. The effect is somewhat like that of a man 'pasted' onto the canvas. Evenepoel developed a preference for a palette of ochre and burnt sienna on a trip to Algeria. For this work, Evenepoel used his sketch of the Moulin Rouge.
SizeH: 217 cm
MediumOil on canvas