Gaspar Montes Iturrios (1901-1998)

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Gaspar Montes Iturrios may be considered one of the leading landscape painters of the Basque country. He belong to the Escuela del Bidasoa (Bidasoa School), which focused on landscape painting around the local Bidasoa river, the last ten kilometres of which forms the international boundary between France and Spain, and which flows through the east of the city of Irun.

Montes Iturrios left his home city of Irun in 1922 for Madrid, where he took lessons from José Maria Lopez Mezquite (1883–1954) and Don Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor (1875–1960). After two years in Paris, he returned to Irun in 1926 and established his own studio. Between 1929 and 1932, he spent time in Madrid and Aranjuez, and took part in numerous exhibitions (Bilbao, San Sebastián, Tolosa, Madrid, Bayonne, Pau), designed decorative schemes for theatres, became a newspaper illustrator, and founded a free drawing class at the academy in Beraun.

The civil war of 1936 forced him to leave the country. He crossed the border into the French Basque country, first to Hendaye, and then to Sare, where he provided the Ihartze Artea villa  Ihartze Artet with frescoes. Having returned to Irun in 1937, he married Maria Iribarren, who bore him two children. It was at this time that he began collaborating with the Union des Artistes Verriers d’Irun (Irun Glass-Painters’ Union), designing windows for them. A particularly striking commission is the glazing of Abando station in Bilbao of 1948.

Works by Montes Iturrios can be found in museums in San Sebastián (Museo San Telmo), Bilbao (Museo de Bellas Artes), Zaragossa, Murcia, Vailladolid, Seville, etc.


Gaspar Montes Iturrios, exhibition catalogue, Museo San Telmo, San Sebastian, 2002.