Tangier Image
Gustavo Bacarisas


c. 1937

Gouache on Canvas

‘Tangier’ is one of five lunettes painted by Gustavo Bacarisas in 1937. The commissioned pieces were designed to decorate the dining room of the Cecil Hotel in Main Street. Of the five, four form part of the HMGoG’s Art Collection: ‘Tangier’, Aracena’, ‘Castellar’ and ‘Jimena’. At the time Bacarisas and his wife, fellow artist Elsa, were in Gibraltar having returned from Spain to escape the outbreak of the Civil War. Bacarisas was 65 years old and taking on a commission of this size at his late age is testament to his will and artistic strength. The finished works were displayed in the Hotel three meters up from the floor and must have been a magnificent sight. Tangier was a landscape the artist knew well, having been their often. He depicts a view of buildings, stretching out into the mountains in the background, losing their detail and focus as they reach further away from sight. The bright characters in the foreground, dressed in traditional Moroccan attire are arranged in three groupings, each going about commonplace everyday activities: women and their children probably coming from market with a ceramic water jug, flowers and fruit; the men huddled, deep in conversation. The contrast of colour between the fairly muted buildings, sky and mountains and the characters make them stand out almost as in relief. Since then these figures have become the subject of street art murals around Gibraltar. The initiative pays tribute to Bacarisas, promoting his works by taking his art out of the Gallery and onto the street to be appreciated in a different way. Their 'Pop Art' quality making them modern and accessible in their life size form.

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