The piece of the month of July 2013


José María Muruzábal del Solar
PhD in Art History


View of Lecumberri, c. 1930-1935
Oil on linocut, 60 x 102 cm
Private collection

The present work is an original by the well-known Navarrese painter Enrique Zubiri Gortari, born in Valcarlos on August 31, 1868 and died in Pamplona on December 20, 1943. He studied in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and in Paris. After that, he trained in the art world at the School of Arts and Crafts of Pamplona, under the teaching of Eduardo Carceller. Later, he attended the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where he completed his artistic programs of study . He carried out a multiple work, always within the world of art and culture of Navarre: partner of the local press as a draftsman and art critic; official portraitist of the city for nearly forty years; member of municipal and provincial juries, to the point of having successfully proposed to the Provincial Council the granting of scholarships to the painters Basiano, Crispín and Briñol; and, above all, professor of drawing at the School of Fine Arts and Crafts of Pamplona from 1895 to 1941. He taught at this school for 45 years, training the vast majority of Navarrese artists of the 20th century.

A Basque speaker in the dialect of his area, western Bajonavarro, he wrote in his mother tongue language in a style similar to that of painting, realistic, poetically inspired, natural. He used a rich lexicon, faithful transcript of popular speech; 29 articles have been collected from "Manezaundi", the name he used to sign his work, among which there is an equal inclination for historical sketches (Huarte de San Juan, Martín de Azpilicueta, Dechepare), descriptions of landscapes and popular scenes, stories and reports. Politically, he was a Basque nationalist, being a member of the first board board of directors of the Basque Center of Pamplona, constituted in June 1910.

He was a man of solid culture, with a rich inner world, elegant and an observer of detail, qualities that, apart from his ability to delimit lines and volumes, can be seen in his artistic work, especially in his portraits. Ángel Irigaray describes him thus in his article of Príncipe de Viana "His figure was noble, always dapper in his attire, with hat and cane, with fine and attractive conversation, as befitted his extensive culture; an impenitent mutilator, but not through his fault, since his only love was unfortunate". On August 27, 1979 a street was dedicated to him by the Pamplona City Council in the Iturrama neighborhood, near the Pío XII artery.

Enrique Zubiri painting in Valcarlos 

Enrique Zubiri painting in Valcarlos

The work by this artist, "Vista de Lecumberri", is in a prestigious private collection in Navarre. It has been exhibited in two public exhibitions: Maestros de la pintura navarra del siglo XIX y XX (May and June 2000 in Pamplona, Galería Carlos Ciriza) and Arte navarro en una colección pamplonesa (November 2013 to January 2014 in Pamplona, conference room Monumento a los Caídos). The painting is signed, on the lower left, with one of the artist's usual signatures "E. Zubiri" in red (reproduced in the photo). This is a landscape with a clearly traditional taste, heir to the romantic and realist forms inherited by Enrique Zubiri from the 19th century.

View of Lecumberri

View of Lecumberri
Enrique Zubiri


The painting shows the village of Lecumberri in Navarre in a longitudinal view in the middle ground, with the village's farmhouse clearly visible. The entire foreground of the painting is occupied by the surrounding meadows, with their usual range of very varied greens, crossed by a row of trees between which a small stream seems to run. Behind the village, the mountains crowning the north of the town can be glimpsed, as well as an excellent atmospheric study with its skies and clouds. It is an elaborate landscape, worked with care and taste, the kind of landscape that is the work of official document and the palette of a true artist, clear, luminous and serene.

View of Lecumberri. Detail of the signature

View of Lecumberri. Detail of the signature
Enrique Zubiri

The Navarrese press spoke thus of the landscapes of our artist in the last of his exhibitions, undoubtedly works similar to the one we present in these lines "the landscape gives him the opportunity to reveal his temperament, his soul without lying, without being arbitrary, but rather truthful and loyal to nature, the painter shows his own personality by reproducing it, nature, through his temperament.... No, there is no monotony in Zubiri's landscapes, if they are observed carefully. And it is precisely in this suggestion that his greatest merit lies. Green meadows and violet notes. But with such evident, though perhaps subtle varieties, that they result in a signature, an exquisiteness and a variety and a truth that only people like him, an excellent painter, can see and express. And enveloping the line, the colour, everything, the soul! The soul of the landscape, of the beloved land, which in the end is identified with the artist..."(Diario de Navarra, 24 January 1943).

-GARCÍA ESTEBAN, J., "Enrique Zubiri, pintor nacido hace 116 años en Valcarlos" in Diario de Navarra, 22 September 1984.
-IRIGARAY, A., "La obra literaria de Enrique Zubiri", Príncipe de Viana, nº 108-109 (1967), pp. 277-281.
-LARUMBE HUERTA, T., "Enrique Zubiri "Manezaundi", a discreet elegance" in Navarrese Painters I, Pamplona, CAMP, 1981.
-MANTEROLA, P. AND PAREDES, C., Navarrese Art (1850 - 1940), Pamplona, Government of Navarre, 1991. Panorama Collection, no. 18.
-SATRÚSTEGUI, J., "Enrique Zubiri, Menezaundi. The man and the writer", Príncipe de Viana, no. 108-109 (1967). pp. 283-288.