November 14, 1919: Birth of Blasco Mentor in Barcelona.
He studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona.
1933 and 1934: Mentor obtains the silver medal from the School of Fine Arts, an award also obtained by Pablo Picasso and Antoni Clavé.
From 1936 to 1939 Mentor enlisted in the Spanish Republican armies.
1939: Sentenced to death by the Franco regime, he leaves Spain and takes refuge in France. There he met another Spanish refugee, Neige, and settled with her in Solliès-Toucas in the Var. She will become his companion and his muse and they will share their life between the Parisian workshop (now disappeared) of the impasse de la Granges -aux -Belles, and the construction of the house-workshop “Casa Nieves” on the heights. from the village of Solliès-Toucas.
From the end of the war, Mentor’s notoriety grew and he became a key figure in the Paris school by participating in numerous exhibitions in galleries and art fairs.
1953: he obtains in Paris, the drawing prize and the Critics’ prize.
1966: all of his work is crowned with the prestigious “Grand Prix des Peintres Témoins de leur Temps”.
1968: He is named “out of competition” at the Critics’ Prize with a special mention awarded unanimously for the realization of a mural of 400 M2 at the youth center “Guy Moquet” in La Courneuve (93) on the theme of the conquest of happiness.
That same year, the town of Saint Denis (93) acquired his 3mx3m work “Bombardment in Vietnam”, which the painter had presented at the “Salon des Peintres Témoins de leur Temps”. It will become a major piece of the city’s Museum of Art and History.
1974: Mentor inaugurates the Artcurial international art center in Paris.
1976: He receives the seal of the city of Milan for the realization of a fresco of 250 M2 “Mercury and Abundance” at the Castiglione Palace for the union of Tourism and Labor of Milan: it is the largest fresco Europe at the time of its realization.
From 1977, Mentor’s work has been present around the world. Exhibitions take place in France but also in Italy, Spain, Ivory Coast and Japan.
1987: Mentor is made Chevalier des Arts et Lettres.
1990: Minister of Culture Jack Lang presents him with the Poster Art Prize for his exhibition “les concertistes” at the Galerie Guigné in Paris.
2000: Blasco Mentor and Neige donate their house-workshop, a true artistic creation, and a large collection of works to the town of Solliès-Toucas.
2003: Blasco Mentor passes away at the age of 83.
2007: On the death of his wife Snow, a posthumous legacy completes the Mentor endowment with an exceptional collection of more than 450 works; paintings, sculptures, drawings, works of art …
2011: Creation of the “Univers Mentor” endowment fund to promote Mentor’s work.
Mentor, a destiny, a commitment, a life dedicated to art
A 15-year-old Barcelona Fine Arts silver medalist, Blasco Mentor was very talented in painting at an early age. Like Picasso, another famous Catalan, he began a remarkable and promising journey and could have known the same notoriety: fate had decided otherwise …
Throughout his life, Blasco Mentor has always been a committed artist. At 19 he was condemned in absentia by the Francist regime, having rallied the Republican troops in the fight against the dictatorship. He must flee Spain, cross the Pyrenees illegally and join the influx of Spanish refugees in France.
In the Gurs internment camp he experiences cold, hunger, and disease. In hiding, he then joined the south of France where a small village welcomed Spanish refugees. This small village is Solliès-Toucas, and it is in this setting of green hills crossed by the Gapeau river that his life will take a decisive turn. Neige, a Spanish refugee like him, will take him in, take care of him and become his muse and his lifelong companion. Together they will experience difficult times because the artist is sorely lacking in money at these beginnings. Together they will engage with the resistance, together again they will develop the project of an extraordinary house-workshop which, day after day, stone after stone will become the unique testimony of their love and of the artist’s imagination.
he world that Mentor has created, filled with chimeras, music, marvelous gardens, inaccessible and sensual muses, parody birds, takes shape at casa Nieves: the house of Snow. With the growing notoriety of the artist, who now divides his time between his Parisian studio and his Toucassin haven, exhibitions and commissions are pouring in and the project has grown; the garden is filled with sculptures (another “entertainment” for Mentor), the workshops are being built. He is now an accomplished and recognized artist who takes refuge in his wonderful garden to imagine, paint and draw musicians, muses, bullfighting scenes, circuses, colorful landscapes and many other subjects.
Despite adversity and the vagaries of history, Blasco Mentor’s talent has always enabled him to transcend hardship with a daring palette, confident design and limitless imagination. Always inventive and in constant research, his work nonetheless rests on solid foundations, ancient and of great Spanish tradition. It is this blend of strength and sensitivity that touches us and preserves all of its modernity in his work.
After his death his work gradually fell into oblivion. But it’s up to us to bring it to life again, and through our eyes it re-enchants our lives.
In 2000 and 2007 two bequests endowed the town hall of Solliès-Toucas with the property “la casa Nieves” with the furniture, objects and archives it contains, as well as a set of more than 450 works (paintings, drawings, sculptures). , lithographs, works of art …)
The “univers Mentor” endowment fund (created in 2011), the municipality of Solliès-Toucas and the association “the friends of the work of Blasco Mentor” (created in 2018), are now working to promote the work. de Mentor, the restoration of the casa Nieves and the project of a future museum in the town.
For “the friends of the work of Blasco Mentor”
November 2, 2020