Discovering Carlos Ruano Llopis while enjoying Taco Tuesday

bullfighter painting by Carlos Ruano Llopis


I was picking up some Mexican food the other day, enjoying a “Taco Tuesday,” so to speak, when I noticed this painting in the restaurant and decided to take a picture, because I liked it. To be honest, I didn’t take a close look at it, and assumed it was a reproduction, but as I look closely at the photograph, it does appear to have a canvas surface, I can see the texture … but it still might be some sort of giclĂ©e print on canvas too.

At any rate, as I’m looking at the picture on my computer now, I focused in on the signature, wanting to see if I could figure out who the artist is. I took a couple guesses, the first being “C. Ruallo Slojail,” but that didn’t get me anywhere. Then I took an extremely long shot and did a Google image search for “bullfighter painting,” knowing there would probably be hundreds if not thousands of results, but I actually found a match! The first match led to this, which said “signature looks to read Ruallo can’t make out the last name.” Then another match led to this, which told me the artist is Carlos Ruano Llopis and that he passed away in the 1950s. Both of those auction listings referred to the painting as an “original,” but maybe the posts don’t know the difference between “original” as in “unique” versus an “original” image that has been reproduced. Who knows? But this brings up the question – who is Carlos Ruano Llopis?

bullfighter painting by Carlos Ruano Llopis
A bullfighter painting by Carlos Ruano Llopis, as seen hanging in a Mexican restaurant in Nutley, NJ.

I’m finding a few things, but certainly open up the invitation that if anyone out there knows more, feel free to share info in the comments section below. I had an interesting experience with something like this where I asked “who is Arrigo Ghedini” when researching a painting I saw in an antiques store in Asbury Park, and next thing I know I’m getting emails from people who collected his work over the years, including a gentleman who met him on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach in 1968, and then even hearing from Arrigo Ghedini’s children and grandchildren! So if there’s people out there with personal stories about Carlos Ruano Llopis, I’d love to hear from you.

At any rate, I’m getting off track here. What I have learned is that Carlos Ruano Llopis looked like this, and that the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a photograph of him here. Llopis was born on April 10th, 1878, and lived until 1950. He studied art at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos in Valencia, and in 1909 was awarded the gold medal at a regional exhibition which brought a scholarship to study in Italy. In 1930 he opened a studio in Madrid but decided four years later to move to Mexico, and lived there until he passed in Mexico City on September 2nd, 1950. It seems he also wrote several books and “directed movie sequences” in Hollywood … sounds like a very interesting guy!

There is a Spanish version of a Wikipedia page for him here, and using a browser translation, you can get it in English.

Who would have ever thought that picking up some Mexican food to go would provide me a window into the life and work of an interesting artist like this?

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