The sculptor Francisco Durrio was one of the first Spanish artists to settle in Paris, around 1884-1885, initiating a trend that most of the principal practitioners of Spanish modernity would follow. Durrio was close friends with Paul Gauguin, which placed him in an ideal position to observe the attitude of breaking away from the traditional academic divisions in art. This influenced his approach to his work in precious metals and ceramics, his artistic range of ideas owing a clear debt to the French artist; in the works, he merged symbolism with an evident decorative sensitivity and a desire to fuse great art with the minor arts or crafts. The value given to precious metal work as an artistic endeavour existed in the Paris of the time thanks to the work of the gold and silversmiths connected to Art Nouveau, such as René Lalique, and artists like Alphonse Mucha, whom Durrio studied with. His contribution to the process was based on the expansion of the repertory of subjects regarding oriental and Symbolist themes, as well as work on a wide range of supports (rings, buckles, pendants and brooches). Another major achievement for Durrio was his ability to define the metamorphosis and transformation of the forms, which is what turns these pieces into outstanding examples of sculpture work.
Carmen Fernández Aparicio