Burning Fields at San Bernardo – Chile
by Enrique Kirk Swinburn

SOLD

  • Country of origin: Chile

  • Medium: Oil on board

  • Signed: Signed lower left and titled verso

  • Dated: c. 1900

  • Condition: Very good original condition

  • Size: 12.00" x 18.00" (30.5cm x 45.7cm)

  • Framed Size: 18.00" x 24.00" (45.7cm x 61.0cm)

  • Provenance: Private UK collection

  • Literature: Enrique Swinburn Kirk was one of Chile's most famous painters of his time - he worked initially in Santiago and later from his farm in Chillan. His paintings move from being very precise to sometimes being very loose in their brushwork. Today his works are held in the major museums in Chile and in important private collections. The artist never travelled or exhibited outside his home country and is therefore not widely known outside South America.

Artwork Biography

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Enrique Swinburn Kirk was born on October 2, 1859 in Santiago, Chile.

From a very young age he showed interest in drawing landscapes, however, after finishing his secondary studies he entered the University of Chile to study mathematics. His real interest remained the arts and in 1880 he joined the School of Fine Arts in Santiago. There he was a student of Juan Mochi, Onofre Jarpa, Pedro Lira and Thomas Somerscales.

He participated in the official salons in Chile where he won various prizes and, although the artist never left the country, his paintings were exhibited at the Continental Exhibition in Buenos Aires (in 1882, 1884 and 1887), the Universal Exhibition in Paris (1889) and the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition (1901), being awarded in all these instances.

Swinburn devoted himself mainly to landscape painting, showing a preference for mountainous areas and marine environments. His works are characterized by the careful work of the atmospheres and the luminosity, being able to appreciate in them seasonal changes and different moments of the day, nuances that he achieved with a chromatic palette of regulated tones, through the use of grays and pastel colors. His brushwork oscillated during his career, being, at times, rigorous and detailed and, on other occasions, fast and gestural. He has been considered by the theorist Ricardo Bindis (1930-2015) as a romantic painter.

The evolution of artistic languages towards impressionism made him move away from painting and the city, moving to his farm in Chillán. In this place he became enchanted with nature again, for which he resumes his artistic production. In 1916 he decided to return to Santiago, where he held two individual exhibitions, which were well received by the public and critics.

Along with his artistic career, Enrique Swinburn was the private secretary of Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (1831-1886), who was mayor of the city of Santiago, parliamentarian, writer and historian. He also served as editor of columns on art and chronicles referring to his excursions to the foothills of Chile. These impressions and reflections were published in newspapers such as El Ferrocarril, among others. A lover of poetry, he also dedicated himself to writing about it.

Among Enrique Swinburn's disciples are Manuel Aspillaga and Rafael Valdés.

The artist passed away on October 22, 1929 in Santiago, Chile.

Awards, contests and distinctions

1901 Buffalo Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, United States.

1889 Honorable Mention, Universal Exposition of Paris, Paris, France.

1889 Edwards Contest Landscape Award, Official Hall, Santiago, Chile.

1888 Honorable Mention General Exhibition, Official Hall, Santiago, Chile.

1888 First Medal, Official Hall, Santiago, Chile.

1887 Special Award of Concepción, Concepción, Chile.

1887 Second Medal, Official Hall, Santiago.

1887 Second Continental Exhibition Medal of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1884 Third Continental Exhibition Medal of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1884 Third Medal, Official Hall, Santiago, Chile.

1882 First Continental Exhibition Medal of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.