Pierre Daura: Modernist in the Mountains

Saturday, March 15 – Sunday, June 22, 2014

In 1998, the Museum received a gift of 36 paintings by Pierre Daura. The works were given by the artist’s daughter Martha Daura.

Pedro Francisco Daura y Garcia (1896-1976) was born in Minorca, Spain and raised in Barcelona. He studied in Paris and in later years spent his summers in France. But from 1939 until his death in 1976, he lived in the Shenandoah Valley near Lexington, Virginia. The paintings the Museum selected focus on his work done in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Daura’s paintings from this region often depict sites and scenes from life near his home. In some images, he works in an Impressionist style while in others he utilizes a Cubistic approach. His reflective character is evident in these analytic and exuberant paintings.

Daura as a young man studied in Barcelona at the School of Fine Arts with Pablo Picasso’s father, Jose Ruiz Blasco. In 1910, at the age of 14, he rented a studio with fellow artists and sold work in his first exhibition. At the age of 18, he went to Paris with a letter of introduction from his godfather, cellist Pablo Casals.

Daura exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1922 and 1926.  His rejection from the Salon in 1928 was the catalyst for Daura joining other artists such as Jean Helion, Ernest Engel-Rozier, Alfred Aberdam and Joaquin Torres-Garcia in a highly acclaimed exhibition entitled “Cinq peintres refuses par le jury du Salon” at the Galerie Marck.  At this time that Daura met and married an American art student, Louise Blair.

Daura made his first trip to Virginia to visit his wife’s family in the mid-1930s. In 1937, Daura joined the Republican army in Spain as a volunteer fighting against the forces of Franco. He served and was wounded at the battle of Teruel and went to France to recuperate. Refusing to return to Spain after the war, the family until 1939, when WWII prompted their move to Virginia.

For the remainder of his life, Daura lived in Rockbridge Baths near Lexington. Daura was active as an artist and teacher. He taught at Lynchburg College and Randolph Macon Woman’s College.

This exhibition is organized by the Asheville Art Museum.


We’d like to thank the Daura Foundation for their generous support of this exhibition.

View selected works in the exhibition »