Jose Arburu y Morell (1864-1889)

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In the Garden

Colonial Cuban painter Jose Arburu y Morell was born in Havana and attended the San Alejandro School. He was a magnificent portrait painter, and was renowned for his use of color and natural poses and settings. At San Alejandro, Arburu studied under the great Miguel Melero and became one of his best pupils.

Arburu studied abroad in Spain where he attended school at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. During this time he was an apprentice to Manuel Dominguez. Together they would decorate the Palacio de Murga de los marqueses de Linares.

It has been said that other than painter Guillermo Collazo, no other Cuban painter has ever matched Arburu’s talent and style of texture and natural light. Many have suspected that Arburu used the plein air (outdoors) method of painting on sight in the open with natural light. His travels to Spain certainly make this a possibility.

Much of his European influence can be seen in his oil painting “Campesina Entre Las Flores” (1885). 


Campesina Entre Las Flores


Arburu spent much of his early career as an apprentice to Melero, but finally gained recognition when he won an award for his famous painting “La Primera Misa En America de los Marqueses de Linares.”

Similarly, there is a Spanish artist also named Jose Morell who lived from 1889-1949. His work was mainly in advertising and he created highly artistic travel posters in a futuristic style. Though the artists share similar names, their style is drastically different and could never be mistaken for the other.

Arburu died in Paris, and today his work is housed all over Cuba, and perhaps some of his paintings are still in existence in Madrid or Paris, and are otherwise unauthenticated. Could you own a valuable piece of art from Jose Arburu Y Morell? Contact us. Our team of experts would be glad to help you authenticate a piece from this little known Cuban master.