Darío de Regoyos y Valdés was born in Ribadesella (Asturias) in 1857 and died in Barcelona in 1913. He spent his childhood and youth in Madrid, where he began his artistic training under Carlos de Haes (1826-1898), enrolling in his basic Landscape course in 1877 where he was taught landscape drawing.
Regoyos's interest in foreign lands and art movements abroad led him to Brussels in 1879, where he stayed with friends, the musicians Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Fernández Arbós. On a recommendation from Carlos de Haes, Regoyos established contact in Brussels with the Belgian painter Joseph Quinaux (1822-1895), who became his most important teacher. Regoyos took painting lessons in the elder artist's studio for two years. During this time he also registered at the École Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he attended courses in the class entitled Dessin d'Après la TÃªte Antique under Joseph van Sevendonck.
Regoyos trained as a painter in Belgium where he remained for lengthy periods until the 1890s. In 1881, he joined L'Essor, a society of artists who subsequently founded the unique and now highly regarded group Les XX in 1883. Regoyos was the only non-Belgian artist in the group. Ten years later the group felt it had achieved its goal of gaining "acceptance for free art in Belgium" and disbanded soon afterwards.
Regoyos's style was the product of continuous interaction with artist-friends, including Pissarro, Whistler, Seurat, Signac, Ensor, and Van Rysselberghe, and with the poet Émile Verhaeren, with whom he collaborated on the publication of La España Negra and with whom he travelled through Spain, France and Italy.
Regoyos's oeuvre spans several different phases. The first covers his years in Belgium, during which he mainly produced portraits. The second phase is characterised by philosophical and pre-Symbolist elements and falls under the label of the España Negra series. The third, in which his style and use of colour show strong affinities with Impressionism, is the best known. Regoyos showed his work primarily at group exhibitions that aimed to promote the freedom of art. He exhibited in France (often at the Indépendants in Paris and the Galerie Durand-Ruel), Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Mexico and Argentina.
Exhibitions followed in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and San Sebastian. At the various editions of the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes he was frequently relegated to the so-called "Sala del Crimen" for being considered an "Impressionist". RegoyosÂ´s death aged 56 meant that he was unable to see how his dedicated efforts to promote the cause of a free painting, liberated from academic tradition, began to be understood. His work was honoured at an exhibition at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid eight years after his death.
Juan San Nicolás