Sebastià Junyent i Sans was born in Barcelona in 1865. He was the son of an manufacturer from the carrer del Rec that each year organised the carnival of the Born with the cultural society Societat del Born.
Sebastià Junyent. Library of Catalonia | Portrait of Sebastià Junyent. Pablo Picasso, 1903. Oil on canvas. 73 x 60 cm. MPB 110.018
Sebastià Junyent was one of the representatives of the first generation of modernist painters and led the Association of Catalan Painters and Sculptors of 1904, that grouped together the names of major post modernist artists —Mir, Nonell, Picasso, Junyer i Vidal, Gargallo, Fontbona, Nogués, Pidelaserra, Ysern, and the Oslé brothers, amongst others.
Chlorosis (Around 1899) by Sebastià Junyent, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – MNAC, Barcelona (Google Art Project)
Junyent was friend and protector of the young Picasso, showing special esteem for him during his stay in Barcelona, but his relationship also continued when Picasso had settled in Paris. In 1903 Junyent helped him with the debts of his studio in Barcelona and subsequently he lent him a studio that he had in carrer Bonavista. He was also responsible for the fact that the magazine Joventut (with which he collaborated) published some of Picasso’s drawings during 1904 and 1905.
It is also worth highlighting the fact that Junyent was one of the collectors who bought more works from him, among which La Vie, The Old Jew or The Madman, which were dedicated by Picasso to his friend. William H. Robinson (author of the catalogue Picasso and the Mysteries of Life: La Vie (Cleveland Masterworks)), Teresa Sala and Francesc Fontbona mentioned that in the accounts book of Sebastià Junyent it included the purchase of the work La Vie.
Currently two portraits are known of Junyent done by Picasso, one of them an oil painting from the Blue Period, Portrait of Sebastià Junyent, that is conserved in the Museu Picasso. Junyent also did a portrait of Picasso, precisely in front of the work La Vie and also in blue tones.
La Vie, 1903. Pablo Picasso, 1881–1973. Oil on canvas. 197 x 129 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of the Hanna Fund 1945.24 © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The death of Daniel, the eldest son of of Sebastià Junyent, in 1905 signified a very strong personal blow for the artist who didn’t overcome it and died three years later, in 1908, in Barcelona.
The work La Vie can be seen in the museum, as for the first time it has returned to Barcelona since it left at the beginning of the 20th century, from this October in the exhibition “Journey through the blue: La Vie” organised in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art.
References and links
Picasso i els seus amics catalans by Palau i Fabre, Josep (1917-2008). Aedos. Barcelona, 1971. Page 81
Picasso, amics catalans de joventut by Eduard Vallès i Pallarès. Centre Picasso d’Orta; Museu Picasso. Barcelona, 2009. Page 90
Le nouveau dictionaire Picasso by Pierre Daix. Robert Laffont. París, 2012. Pàg. 798
Diccionario Málaga-Picasso Picasso-Málaga by Rafael Inglada. Editorial Arguval. Màlaga, 2005. page 490-491
Picasso. A biography. Vol 1: 1881-1906 by John Richardson. Alianza Editorial. Madrid, 1995. Page 282
Article in Wikipedia of Sebastià Junyent Sans
Gran Enciclopèdia catalana online Sebastià Junyent i Sans
The other inhabitants of the museum
Blanquita Suárez, variety star
Josefa Ruiz Blasco, Anut Pepa
Léonide Massine, the harlequin
José Ruiz Picasso
María Picasso Blasco
Mª Dolores Ruiz Blasco