Son of Federico de Madrazo y Kentz. Because of his ability and training with his father, Federico, in the Real Academia de S Fernando in Madrid and with Leon Cogniet in Paris, he seemed destined to continue the family tradition of academic painting. However, due to the influence of the Belgian Alfred Stevens, of his brother-in-law, Mariano Jose Bernardo Fortuny y Marsal, and the Parisian environment, he exchanged dry historical painting for the preciousness of the tableautin, the small, intimate genre painting. He lived in Paris and New York and became so remote from Spanish artistic life that he and Fortuny y Marsal were the only Spanish artists not to participate in any national exhibition, and because of this the Spanish state never directly acquired their works. In 1882, with Giuseppe De Nittis, Stevens and the gallery owner Georges Petit, he co-founded the Exposition Internationale de Peinture, designed to promote foreign artists in Paris. Madrazo Garreta most characteristic works are the female portrait and the witty and elegant genre painting, with soft, delicate tones and suggestive poses. The influence of the Rococo and of Japanese art is reflected in his painting, which expresses an exquisite aristocratic or bourgeois ideal, the illusion of a refined, sensual and superficial life. Consequently, his works are also described as representing the Parisian seraglio. American collectors paid high prices for his paintings, for example Alexander Turney Stewart bought Lady with a Parrot; Carnival Festival (1878) was purchased by L. Wolfe; and Girls at the Window (1875) was bought by J. W. Vanderbilt, the last two now being in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His portraits were better received in Spain although because of collectors such as Ramen de Errazu (d 1909), the Museo del Prado has a good number of his paintings (e.g. After the Bath).
Pool in the Alcazar of Seville (nn02)
c 1872 Oil on canvas,23 5/8 x 35 1/2'' Cason del Buen Retiro Museo del Prado,Madrid