Archie Gittes

Melrose, Massachusetts, 1903 − Boston, 1991

He studied at the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts, the Museum School of Boston and the School of Fine Arts and Crafts, also in Boston, where he was taught by Charles Hopkinson (1869-1962), a painter who specialised in the portrait genre. Thanks to a scholarship from the Boston school, in 1929 he travelled to Europe, visiting the main museums of France, Italy and London. At the end of this year, he settled in Paris and attended the Colarossi and Grande-Chaumier schools, where he further deepened his study of the figure and the nude.

His works are associated to the classicist tradition, based on realism, reflecting affinities with “return to order” values as a reaction to the Modernist movement. He took part in a collective exhibition of American artists in the Salon d’Automne, Paris (1930). In 1932, Gittes came to Mallorca with his wife, the composer Cicely Foster, sister of the wife of Mallorcan artist Juli Ramis, and for seventeen years he resided in Génova, Palma and Deià. This period on the island – the most productive of his life – includes his activity focussed on the genres of landscape, the portrait and the nude, which made a great impact on the puritanical Mallorca of the post-war era. Nevertheless, he was accepted both by critics and in academic spheres, and he became part of the Mallorcan artistic world.

He exhibited for the first time in Mallorca in 1940, in the Galerías Costa, and later in the Círculo de Bellas Artes (1941) and the Galerías Quint (1946). During his Mallorcan period he was awarded several different prizes from the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Palma: an honourable mention for sculpture at the I Salón de Primavera (1941), first medal in the still life and landscape section at the II Salón de Primavera (1942), first medal in landscape at the Salón de Otoño (1943), first medal in drawing and engraving at the III Salón de Otoño (1944), second medal in the III Salón de las Flores (1945). He returned to Boston in 1948 where he devoted himself to giving classes in the city’s school of fine arts. His links to Mallorca were maintained in subsequent years as a result of his trip to the island in 1967 and the retrospective exhibition organised in the Museu de Mallorca in 1987. His work forms part of the collections and museums such as the Ajuntament de Palma, Museu de Mallorca and “Sa Nostra”, Caixa de Balears, among others.