Joaquim Vayreda

A Great Catalan Landscape Painter of the 19th Century

Born in Girona on May 23rd 1843 into a family which had fled Olot due to the first Carlist War, Joaquim Vayreda i Vila was one of the most important Catalan landscape painters of the 19th century. 

After studying art under Ramon Martí i Alsina in Barcelona, he returned to Olot in La Garrotxa and in 1868 founded the Centre Artístic d'Olot, which became the centre of the celebrated Olot School of Painters.

He made many visits to Paris throughout his early career and his landscapes were clearly influenced by the French Barbizon school and his later work evolved towards Impressionism.

Politically, Joaquim Vayreda was a committed Catalanist. He founded Centre Catalanista d'Olot in 1887 and spoke at the first Catalanist Assembly in 1892 at which the Bases de Manresa were passed.

Joaquim Vayreda died in Olot on October 31st 1894 and in 1921, the Vayreda family donated the majority of his work to the Barcelona Museum

Today most of his paintings can be seen at the Museu Nacional de Catalunya (MNAC) on Montjuïc although other works can be seen at the Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer in Vilanova i La Geltrú or the Museu de Montserrat and I'm fairly certain I've seen Vayreda paintings in the Museum of Olot.

The oil painting below, L'espantaocells (The Scarecrow), is a good example of his work. It was painting between 1883 and 1885 and is on display at MNAC.

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