Biography

1904. José Roberto Torrent Prats was born on 8 September 1904 in Ciutadella de Menorca to a straightforward family.

Since his childhood he showed great interest in drawing and painting, being taught by Maestro Mollet.

 

The 20s. In his beginnings, he devoted himself to Modernist illustration and humorous drawings, winning several national prizes. He also painted by order. At the age of 21 he called two of his Works as First oil-painting and Frist painting, a woodland scene and a Country House, in which incipient brush strokes stood out.

 

The 30s. Shoe-heel manufacturer in a family run company., Torrent alternated between his work and his artistic vocation  He gained the position as a teacher in the local School of Painting. He worked there for 40 years, up to 1975, despite the bad times of that period..

He loved illustrations, drawing caricatures and graphic-drawing. He also did some colaborations drawing some designs and illustrations for fashion and literary magazines. He won some prizes like the one of  Posters for the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, or the one of the Association of Cartoonists in Madrid. In 1936 he got married to Rita Llopis, Margarita and Rafael´s mother.

There are some drawings form the Spanish Civil War period kept in the Convent of Santa Clara before it was destroyed.

 

The 40s. During the post-war period, Torrent devoted himself to his work and family. In 1942 his first wife died and three years later, in 1945, he got married to Joana Campins, having two children Carlos and Pilar. By the end of the decade, he started painting more seriously, using the Impressionist style. However, he never stopped working in his factory.

He gave his first single exhibition in Menorca which was very successful. Thus he decided to travel to Mallorca where he made contact with painters belonging to the so-called School of Pollensa. He then prepared a successful exhibition in Palma. With  The Falcon he won the 9th Salón de Otoño of Palma in 1950.

 

The 50s. He started to be well-known thanks to his inventions. He made some proposals but he never managed to get one patented. He travelled to Paris and to the North of Spain looking for new topics for his paintings and ways of painting.

He painted  Juan el Loco, ( John the Madman) a fundamental work in which he used an expressionist brushstroke of the landscape linked to the psychological situation of the charácter. He eliminated the shadows, raised the horizon,  cleared the palette of dark colours and reinterpreted the landscapes using a Post-impressionist technique.

 

The 60s. During this decade, Pepe Torrent participated in different competitions in the Balearic Islands, Barcelona and Madrid.  It was the time of the Medals and first prizes (he received up to twenty). He was the most awarded painter of Menorca.

His work reached greatness and the colours and brushstrokes he used made his work easily recognizable thanks to his very personal style.

In 1969 he won the CIUTAT DE PALMA prize with his painting Caserío Mallorquin (Majorcan farmhouse) and the prize CIUTAT DE BARCELONA with The Two Goats.

 

The70s. In 1976 his second wife, Joana Campins, died. He gave up the classes in the Local School of Painting and retired from his family run heel factory. Thus, painting became the most absorbing activity in his life.

During those times  he created his own universe, inventing his own world from an imagery of memories. He used daring colours and formal schematic forms, born from his will to experiment and his search for expression.

He painted Motherhood, in which one can already feel a more intense expresión of his feelings, such as those which link mother to child.

 

The 80s. He began to be honoured and given recognitions for his work.

The publication ”Mestros actuales de la pintura y escultura catalanas” (Present Masters of Catalan Painting and Sculpture) published a volume called Torrent  written by the art critic Joseph M. Garrut, it was the first in depth study of Torrent´s work.

To mark the ocasión of the opening of the Sala de Cultura de Sa Nostra in Ciutadella, the catalogue Aixi de gran (So Big) with written texts by Gabriel Juiià and Joan Elorduy was published.

During the 80s Torrent made a psychological turn in his paintings and purified his imagery and focused on the human figure. The formats became smaller.in order to focus on the individual and his existential drama. His work became intimate, purified, essential, almost schematic, but keeping the figurative ways. The topic of his painting became the greatness of living and the value of human and family relationships. He painted lonely elderly characters in cold or bright sceneries like People.

He also painted very sensitive paintings like Granfather and Son.

On 28 July 1990 in the Casa de Cultura he was given a warm homage by the Council and the town of Ciutadella in recognition of his artistic work.

 

The 90s. Torent died on 13 November in Ciutadella de Menorca.

In December the Primary School Pintor Torrent was opened.

The Consell de Menorca organizad an itinerant exhibition around the island called El darrer Torrent (The Last Torrent) with his latest most expressionistic painting.

 

1996. Torrent´s Home-museum was opened in Ciutadella de Menorca. It is devoted to his life and work and is run by the Asociació d´Amics del Pintor Torrent (Friends of Torrent Association).

 

2002.The City Council of Ciutadella dedicated a monument to his memory with a sculpture made by Pere Pavia, located in the street named after him.

 

2004. The Consell de Menorca declares “L´Any Torrent” (Torrent´s Year) as a homage to the artist, which coincided with the centenary of his birth.

Also, the Council of Ciutadella named him Hijo Ilustre” (illustrious figure). An itinerant exhibition around the island is held/made together with a catalogue with comentaries and another more intimate exhibition called “El món amagat de Torrent” (torrent´s Hidden World).

Here are some extracts, such as the video, for this permanent exhibition.

 

Awards

 

1950 Medal from the Diputacion Provincial de Baleares. IX autumn exhibition of Palma. The Falcon, 1948.

1952 Second prize autumn exhibition, Palma. Hotel Revillie, 1951.

1952 III Spring Competition of Pro Museum of Modern Art in Palma. Honorary mention, Ferrerias.

1954 Silver medal, XIII autumn exhibition of Palma. The Farmhouse 1954.

1956 Second place, autumn exhibition of Palma. The Old People, 1955.

1959 Medal of honour, XIII autumn exhibition of Palma. Mill in Mercadal, 1959.

1960 Medal of honour, XIX autumn exhibition of the Circle of Fine Arts of Palma. The Old Square, 1960 at present in the General Technical office of the Town Hall of Palma de Mallorca.

1960 Second prize, XXXII autumn exhibition of Madrid. Boats, 1960.

1962 First prize for painting, spring exhibition of Mahon.

1963  First prize for painting, spring exhibition of Mahon.

1964 Medal of honour, sring exhibition of Madrid for the totality of his paintings.

1964 Prize of the Ministry for Tourism of Baleares, Palma. Menorcan field, 1964.

1964 Pollensa prize. Island Farm, 1964.

1965 II National Landscape and Culture competition of Baleares, Palma Nova prize. Menorcan Village, 1967.

1967 Finalist for the City of Barcelona prize, at present in the Casa de Cultura in Ciutadella. Menorcan Village, 1967.

1968 I provincial competition, Prize Ciudad de Alcudia Invvicta. Alcudia Town Hall. The Red Belfry, 1967.

1968 Prize CIUDAD DE PALMA, at present in the Casal Solleric in the Town Hall of Palma. Mallorcan Country House, 1968.

1969 Prize CIUDAD DE BARCELONA at present in the National Museum of Art in Catalunya (MNAC), The Goats, 1969.

1976 Prize ANSIBA (Fine Arts Group), Palma, in recognition of his work in fine arts.

1983 Gold Medal ADEBA, Palma

1984 First medal from the Ateneo of Mahon, Street Trade, 1984.