For a long time, my only impression of Santiago Rusiñol was of the painting Interior of a Café (images above, second down), which is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I liked the painting, with its odd emotional and visual tone and interesting use of value relationahips, but I didn’t follow up on the artist for some time. I only later discovered that it was not the most representational example of Rusiñol’s work.
Santiago Rusiñol i Prats was a painter from Catalonia, one of the autonomous communities of Spain, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though he painted a number of portraits and interiors, he is most associated with his landscapes, and in particular, his views of gardens.
These range from brilliantly sunlit, bringing to mind the garden scenes of Sorolla, to dark, muted and emotionally atmospheric, moving into the realm of symbolism.
You will sometimes see Rusiñol confusingly described as a “modernist”. Though he associated with, and was apparently influential on, Pablo Picasso, the term in this case does not refer to the 20th century Modernism of Paris, but to the turn of the century Modernisme movement, centered in Barcelona, and Modernista artists and architects (like Gaudí) who were more closely associated with Art Nouveau.