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José Gutiérrez Solana (Madrid, 1886-1945)

The Hairdresser

ca. 1937


India ink and pencil on paper, 32 x 26 cm


Signed at the lower left corner “J. Solana”

Solana produced this drawing during his time of exile in Paris during the Spanish Civil War. Depressed and far from his familiar surroundings, the artist found it difficult to devise new themes and even to embark on new drawings and paintings.

It was probably for this reason that he returned to earlier motifs, which his excellent visual memory allowed him to repeat with slight variations. This drawing is a new interpretation of The cheap Hairdresser that he painted in 1918 and again in Paris in 1937. There is also another drawing of the subject of 1918 and an etching of around 1932-33.

Lola the Hairdresser is a recurring subject in Solana’s artistic universe, reappearing on numerous occasions in his descriptive texts on Madrid, as do the wicker and wooden mannequins that are to be seen in this image. These mannequins formed part of Solana’s visual repertoire and he used them again in the unique and magnificent Self-portrait that he painted in 1943 following his return to Spain.

The image in this drawing, seemingly frozen in time, conveys the reality of dignified but old and unattractive women, set among the mannequins that fill the composition. In the silent, tranquil atmosphere created here the living beings and objects seem to become one and the same.

This drawing may date from after the painted version and have been made as a record of it. It is executed in India ink and uses a hard, precise line to outline all the elements in the manner of a photograph. It lacks the narrative sense found in the other depictions of this subject.

María José Salazar