Eduardo Léon Garrido (1856-1949)
Eduardo León Garrido was born in Madrid in 1856. He falls within the Group of Spaniards in Paris, as he warns in his style, with clear influences of Impressionism, somewhat reminiscent of Manet. He was the eldest son of Luis Garrido Fernandez, an official at the Ministry of Finance. His father would have liked him to embrace an administrative career but Eduardo León moved towards the artistic career. Trained in the Escuela Superior de Madrid, he painted his first work « the theft of the Sabine women », at only eighteen years old. Then he entered the Studio of Vicente Palmaroli (1834-1896). He will always consider the latter as his true teacher.
In 1875, at the age of 19, he arrived in Paris to continue his studies with a scholarship from the city of Madrid. The same year he exhibited for the first time at the Salon where he presented a « Saint Jerome ». Very quickly he appears to be noticed by the famous merchant of the Rue Chaptal, Adolphe Goupil, for who he worked a few years. Notice that Vincent van Gogh worked for Goupil & Cie from 1869 till 1876 (his brother Theo entered in 1873.
From 1876 on Garrido exhibits portraits and stylish, contemporary scenes. Catalogues indicates that he changed his dealer for the gallery Borniche around 1880. During the years 1882-1894 he did not expose anymore at the Salon (except once, in 1887, with the portrait of his friend, the painter Bréauté) . However, he painted a lot to feed the gallery of his dealer and a few galleries in Madrid. During that period he had also some student : Anne Blanche Dillaye (1851-1931), the american painter, studied with him from 1885 till 1887.
From 1892 onwards it is the merchant Félix Gérard (one of the first dealers of work by Manet and Courbet), of the Rue Lafitte, which concludes with him an exclusive contract. He probably imposed to the artist to paint a different style. This sealed a radical departure from his 1880-1890 period, during which he painted the streets of Paris, café terraces, newspaper kiosks, and was likened to very fashionable Belle-Époque artists. From 1892 onwards, Garrido painted almost solely gallant scenes in the 18th century style, in keeping with current tastes and clients’ demands.
Meanwhile, Garrido left Paris. In 1888 he established a studio on the banks of the Marne at La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire (Val-de-Marne near Paris). He married there in 1892 one of its models, Leonie Beck, and in 1893 their first child, Louis- Edouard, was born.
He is quickly integrated into local life and became an art teacher in the Philotechnic Association of La Varenne. From 1895 onwards he presented new works at the Salon des Artistes Français and in 1914, he obtained the French citizenship, while two of his son went into battle (World War I). He continued painting, mainly landscapes, portraits of family members (children, granddaughter Odile born in 1923) and flowers. At the end of his life and because of poor eyesight he painted exclusively flower bouquets.
In 1939, Eduardo León and his wife Leonie arrive at Caen. They settled with their son, Louis- Edouard, who resided there. Eduardo Leon Garrido died there in 1949. He is buried in the family burial at the cemetery Venoix in Caen.
Some of his paintings can be seen in the Museo del Prado (Madrid), the Museo Carmen Thyssen (Málaga), the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Argentina), Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and private collections such as the Bellver Collection in Sevilla.
In the Musée Charles Léandre in Condé-sur-Noireau there is a permanent exposition of works by Eduardo León offered by his granddaughter Odile.