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Francisco Fortuny Masagué

  • Spanish-born Francisco Fortuny migrated to Buenos Aires in 1887. His most renowned work was done as illustrator in printed magazines such as [i]Caras y Caretas[/i].
  • Francisco
  • Fortuny Masagué
  • 02-01-1864
  • Tarragona (ES)
  • 23-07-1943
  • Buenos Aires (AR)
  • PainterIllustratorGraphic Artist
  • Spanish-born Francisco Fortuny migrated to Buenos Aires in 1887. His most renowned work was done as illustrator in printed magazines such as Caras y Caretas.

    Word Count: 24

  • Portrait of Francisco Fortuny, Caras y Caretas, no. 1 239, 1 July 1922.
  • Spanish-born Francisco Fortuny received his artistic training as a painter in the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. When he migrated to Buenos Aires in 1887, his background enabled him to become a historical painter dedicated to the depiction of Argentina’s national past. He was employed in the graphic workshop of La Prensa and in the Compañía Sudamericana de Billetes de Banco. However, his most renowned work was his illustrations for magazines such as Caras y Caretas, El Sud Americano, P.B.T., Vida Moderna, Papel y Tinta, Pulgarcito and Plus Ultra. He collaborated with many illustrated magazines of the time, but the work he is most recognised for is the work he did for Caras y Caretas between 1898 and 1939.
    Like other fellow Spanish illustrators, such as José María Cao, Fortuny encountered an active and prolific cultural scene dominated by a public press. This was eloquently described by a critic in 1908: “Spanish illustrators are legion today in Buenos Aires, and it is necessary to note in their praise that the feverish commercial life of this metropolis is not the most appropriate medium for these magic pencils” (Gras 2018, 58).
    Fortuny's illustrations covered a wide range of topics, from portraits and satirical caricatures to historical events. His attention to Argentine imaginary and motives certainly contributed to the acriollamiento of the Catalan artist, which signified that he was becoming more identified with Argentina than with his Spanish homeland. For example, in Una escena de la Revolución de Mayo, a coloured frame of art nouveau flowers made by fellow artist Ramón de Castro Rivera contrasts with Fortuny’s drawing depicting historical characters from the May Revolution with the Cabildo in the background in the manner of costumbrism or tipos y costumbres. The overall image creates a sense of modernity even though a traditional topic is represented. This illustration can be seen alongside others such as La locomoción en el siglo XX, which through a dynamic composition shows how outdated the traditional past was in the city of Buenos Aires entering the twentieth century. Modern means of transportation – a car, a tram and a bicycle – are shown rapidly and triumphantly going forth as an older horse-drawn carriage lies defeated on the ground.
    In this way, Fortuny actively contributed to the creation of an imaginary about Argentina, depicting both its past and present, and its progress into the future.

    Word Count: 401

  • Francisco Fortuny and Ramón de Castro Rivera, "Una escena de la Revolución de Mayo." Caras y Caretas, no. 34, 25 May 1899.
    Francisco Fortuny, "La locomoción del siglo XX." Caras y Caretas, no. 34, 25 May 1899.
  • Gras Valero, Irene. “Entre la modernidad y la preservación de la memoria: Las Ilustraciones del artista catalán Francisco Fortuny (1864–1942) en las revistas de Buenos Aires.” Panamí, no. 9, 2019, pp. 57–68, doi: Accessed 26 March 2021.

    Gras Valero, Irene and Cristina Rodríguez-Samaniego. “La Prolífica trayectoria del pintor e ilustrador catalán Francisco Fortuny (1864–1942) en Buenos Aires.” Investigación – Creación artística, special issue of Index, Revista De Arte contemporáneo, no. 9, 2020, pp. 28–40, doi: Accessed 26 March 2021.

    Szir, Sandra. “Figuraciones urbanas. Caras y Caretas, 1900.” Dinámica de una ciudad: Buenos Aires 1810–2010, coordinated by Alfredo E. Lattes, Dirección General de Estadística y Censos, 2010, pp. 453–479. Academia, Accessed 21 April 2021.

    Word Count: 124

  • Milena Gallipoli
  • Barcelona, Spain (1872); Buenos Aires, Argentina (1887)

  • Caras y Caretas, Calle Bolivar 578 to 586, Buenos Aires (editorial office).

  • Buenos Aires
  • Milena Gallipoli. "Francisco Fortuny Masagué." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 12-05-2021.
  • Caras y Caretas
    Buenos Aires

    Caras y Caretas was one of the widest read magazines in Buenos Aires. A collective venture, run largely by exiles, it renewed the public press through an attractive layout.

    Word Count: 29

    José Maria Cao
    CartoonistIllustratorGraphic Artist
    Buenos Aires

    “Master of the pencil and the pen”, Galician artist José María Cao became one of the most relevant illustrators of Buenos Aires press by the beginning of the twentieth century.

    Word Count: 31