Painted in 1929, the present work not only ranks as one of the artist's great late portraits, but became embedded in the Spanish national conscience when for twenty-five years it graced the face of the country's 100 Pesetas note.
The sitter was María Teresa Lopez González. Born in Argentina, María Teresa moved with her family to Julio Romero de Torres's native Córdoba after World War I. There she first sat for the painter aged just 14 years old, and became the artist's favourite model. In the autumn of 1929 Romero de Torres completed three of his most important works La Chiquita Piconera, Bodegas Cruz Conde and the present work. Showing María Teresa resting her arms on a copper cauldron it was Fuensanta that was most widely praised, and championed as a quintessential rendition of Andalousian beauty.
Ironically, as María Teresa's simple elegance was popularised after World War II through the dissemination of the image on the currency, the whereabouts of the painting itself became increasingly shrouded in mystery. Known over many years simply through an old photograph, its location was unknown until recently. Its rediscovery therefore marks an exciting event.
Oil and tempera on canvas
Julio Romero de Torres
Seville, Exposición Iberoamericana de Sevilla, 1930 (Romero de Torres was honoured with a special retrospective of his work in the Iberoamerican fair, where a selection of his best canvases were displayed in a pavilion dedicated to his work.)
100 by 80cm., 39¼ by 31½in.
Salon Witcomb, Buenos Aires
Purchased by the present owner in 1994