Awards & Collections
1888 - Exposición Universal de Barcelona. Silver medal
1898 - Exposición General de Bellas Artes, Barcelona. Queen Regent’s Extraordinary Award
1911 - Special Award from His Majesty the King of Spain
Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Barcelona
Biblioteca Museo Víctor Balaguer, Vilanova i la Geltrú
Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville
Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco – Casa Lis, Salamanca
On December 4, 1856, Josep María Tamburini was born to a wealthy family in Barcelona. From a very young age he discovered his propensity for drawing, possibly due to family relations with the Masriera painters, and enrolled in the Academia de Bellas Artes de la Llotja (Academy of Fine Arts la Llotja). In 1870, to escape an outbreak of Yellow Fever, he moved to Olot, a city in the Catalan interior where several other artists had converged such as Joaquim Vayreda, Modest Urgell, Josep Lluís Pellicer and Antoni Caba, who would be his master of painting at the Llotja.
In the mid-1870s Tamburini travelled between Paris, Rome, and Naples. In the French capital he worked for Léon Bonnat, official society portraitist of the Second Republic. In Rome he frequented the Accademia Chigi and met post-Fortuny artists who would have a certain impact on his style. He alternated his stays in the eternal city with sojourns in Naples where he was influenced above all by Domenico Morelli, as he appreciated the new chromatism and emotional scenes, and Gioacchino Toma, through whom he recovered his realistic and evocative approach.
In 1882 he initiated his participation in the collective exhibitions in the Sala Parés, a collaboration that would intensify in the 1890s and would always receive a good response from the critics and the public of Barcelona, who apart from drawing and colour, valued his stylistic evolution. The following year he began his collaboration in L’Avenç, where he was an art critic and published some poems.
The changes at the end of the century, which manifested themselves in the arts by way of the development of Modernism, saw Tamburini fully receptive to recovering and interpreting elements of different styles. Thus, in his language he combines Catalan academic and genre realism, French Symbolism and English Pre-Raphaelitism, all fundamental components for the development of the movement that was very successful in Catalonia. In particular, the critic Alexandre Cirici associates his style with the 'white wing' of Modernism, along with Joan Brull, Alexandre de Riquer and Joan Llimona, as opposed to the 'black wing' which included, among others, Isidre Nonell and Joaquim Mir.
It is from 1896, with the III Exposición de Bellas Artes (Third Exhibition of Fine Arts), that Tamburini marked a real change towards idealism: his allegorical paintings show, both in scenery and in general intonation, the will to stimulate the sensitivity of the public using dull chromatic resources, misty atmospheres, and wild luxuriance.
At the beginning of the century, Tamburini joined the Sociedad Artística y Literaria de Cataluña (Artistic and Literary Society of Catalonia) (1900-1926), born under the impulse of Modest Urgell and which united several artists of Can Parés. In 1902, he became a member of the Academia de Bellas Artes (Academy of Fine Arts). His graphic collaboration with La Ilustración Artística (1902-1917) and other illustrated magazines demonstrates his significant pictorial production, which was internationalised with exhibitions in Munich, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. In his later years, the artist focused on the realisation of portraits and landscapes, also dedicating himself to drawing and watercolour.
Tamburini died in 1932, a year in which, due to political tensions preceding the Spanish Civil War, his works already seemed outdated and far from the public’s interests. Known and recognized in his time, the figure of the artist has since suffered an undeserved neglect, despite the attempts at recovery that have taken place in the past decades.