Who is the master of Son Moragues? What was so special about this man that the artist from Palma, Joan Fuster, decided to make a portrait of him? What story is hidden behind this painting?
This beautiful work contains a curious anecdote in which a well-known Austrian aristocrat has a leading role.
In October 1910 it was decided to make Archduke Luis Salvador an illustrious son of Majorca. This honor had to be accompanied by the subsequent portrait that had to be hung in the gallery of illustrious barons of Mallorca. At that time, the archduke was already suffering from an advanced stage of elephantiasis, a strange disease that caused a kind of deformity caused by the progressive increase in some parts of his body. For this reason, despite the insistence of the then mayor of Palma, Lluís Alemany, the aristocrat, aware of his grotesque image, flatly refused to allow himself to be photographed and remembered in this way.
The City Council did not give up and also sent the young painter Joan Fuster to visit the Archduke to try to convince him. Luis Salvador’s arguments were maintained, so that, in response to this, Joan Fuster commented on the damage caused by not being able to portray him and the loss of 500 pesetas that the City Council had promised him as compensation for his work. . To compensate for this situation, the Archduke commissioned Fuster to go to Son Moragues and photograph the owner of the estate there, since in this way he would receive the 500 pesetas that he would have earned from the Town Hall. The result of this peculiar request is the work that concerns us today, in which Reüll, the owner of Son Moragues, appears portrayed in one of the beautiful and bucolic gardens of the estate where the pictorial style of the artistic plenitude of Joan Fuster with modernist influences and greater prominence of color. It should be noted that Fuster did not give up portraying the Archduke and painted a portrait from memory that he finally gave to the aristocrat.
The Portrait of the Master of Son Moragues can currently be seen in the Valldemossa Cartuja art gallery.
MESANA, Lluis (2009) “L’Arxiduc Lluís Salvador i l’Illa d’Or” [Online] https://es.scribd.com/doc/171970048/L-arxiduc-Lluis-Salvador-i-l-Illa- d-Or [Consulted on June 19, 2018]
“Joan Fuster Bonnin” [Online] http://miquelcinema.blogspot.com/2013/09/joan-fuster-bonnin-palma-22-de-maig-de.html [Accessed June 19, 2018].
Aina Ferrero Horrach.