Thursday, January 24, 2013
I imagine many other people have had this experience: you pick up a book or catalogue or even catch sight of a single image and find yourself immediately wondering if the artist may have been gay. It's like art gaydar. To my shame, I had never heard of Gregorio Prieto (1897-1992) until the other day when I picked up a very scruffy looking 1940s publication showing just a handful of his paintings and drawings. The drawings with their simple lines, reminiscent of Cocteau and their mythological and homoerotic flavour made me want to know more. Turning a few more pages and I discover he is the painter of a very famous portrait of Lorca. I'm sure there are people reading this amazed at my ignorance but more information hasn't been very forthcoming. The book I have tells me only the dry facts of a Spanish artist, who travelled extensively, particularly in Greece and Southern Europe, who studied in Paris where he "attracted the attention" of a group who frankly read like a Who's Who of Gay Paris in the 20s and 30s. Come the Civil War in Spain he found refuge in England and lived here for about a decade. He has a Wikipedia entry, but not a long one, and all in Spanish which I think suggests he was living with the gay poet Luis Cernuda, but this is based only on a slightly wonky Google translation. There are a good number of images of his work online but precious little detail about his life. So, this is not exactly a call for help but if anyone does know any more about his life, or where I can find a decent account of him, I'd love to hear about it. In the meantime, this is a selection of my favourite drawings from my book.