Bullfight Museum in Alcazar de San Juan

Beaming with Pride

In my main blog, I presented the first sketches from my recent painting trip (October 2013) through a few locations in the centre of the Spain. The first planned destination was the city of Toledo, but looking at the map, I decided to visit first Alcazar de San Juan, a town in the province of Ciudad Real in the autonomous community of Castille-La Mancha. What had prompted me in fact to make the detour was the presence of nearby lagoons and birds, which I eventually didn’t even see! Nevertheless, I spent two wonderful days in Alcazar de San Juan.
The city even has a service area for our Boomobile – extremely unusual for Spain – right next to the beautiful local arena. This arena is truly a beauty, and deeply reflects the love that the locals (at least some of them) feel for the art of bullfighting. I say “art” in full awareness of what I’m saying, because this arena is not only the place where the bullfights take place, but is also the home of a fascinating bullfighting museum which I had the immense pleasure of visiting. Here is a first sketch:
An immense emotion was awaiting me inside the Museum. Normally, I’m not an artist who is boasting about my professional successes, or experiencing intense emotions when my paintings are purchased, in original, reproductions or copyrights. I am happy, yes, but it normally boils down to this: Without wanting to seem esoteric, for me the most important thing in painting is the process, the fact of painting. What some Eastern philosophies described as:
“… the important thing is the path and not the goal…”
But when suddenly, in the Museum, I found myself face to face with one of my bullfighting paintings, the emotion was overwhelming! No, the painting was not hung on the wall: it was printed within an international magazine of bullfighting. In fact, the bullfighting Museum of Alcázar de San Juan has “6toros6” as their subscribed magazine which I mentioned in a recent post and in which there were, last year and this year, 2 of my bullfighting paintings on posters announcing the Hoyo del Pinares bullfighting festivities. Kevin had the extreme kindness (and patience!) to browse through the gigantic stack of issues dating back several years and eventually found the one from last year. Here I am, with it in my arms and beaming with pride!
There were several men in the Museum, some sitting at the bar, others watching a bullfight on the TV or playing cards. I did something that I have never done in my entire artist life before: I took the magazine and went to show it to three men sitting at a table, telling them, with a huge smile, that it was me who had painted the picture of the poster. Kevin, who knows my aversion against any advertising of my art and self-compliments, could not believe his eyes! This is when I realised how deep the impact was on me. Why exactly, I don’t know… probably the place itself, it was such an homage to bullfight.. the memory of earlier times too, when bullfighting was such a target of so much hatred.. somehow it made feel as if I was myself part of the Spanish culture and traditions.. and THIS was huge!
A few moments later one of these three men stood up and went to talk to an another man sitting at the bar. This last one then came up to me, introduced himself as Felix, the boss of the Museum, and asked me:
“You have other bullfight paintings?”
“Yes, many!”
“You want to exhibit here?”
I did not hesitate a second and accepted. Me, who has been refusing to do exhibitions for many years already. Really, I couldn’t believe hearing myself saying yes!
So, here we go: I should in principle exhibit in the bullfighting Museum of Alcázar de San Juan in March or April 2014 (I have forgotten the exact date!) during the town festivities! I will soon contact Felix to confirm (I ordered for this purpose a greeting card with the reproduction of the sketch above) and will keep you informed…

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