Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kristian Krekovic and Bill Lewis

Bill Lewis as King Jaime I Chapter 35

I’m making a pause in recounting Helen’s wedding preparations to tell you about something curious that happened a couple of years before I arrived in Mallorca.

You may have read in my earlier posts entitled Vancouver Flashback about Bill Lewis, my first guitar teacher who had been giving lessons and working on guitar construction and repairs for George Bowden in his Mediterranean shop in Vancouver. And how one year Bill came over to Palma de Mallorca to help out in George’s guitar factory, located at the time in the Pueblo Español.

During that time, Bill was introduced to Kristian Krekovic, the Croatian portrait painter.

Krekovic was born in Bosnia in 1901 and after studying in both Vienna and Paris and living for a time with his wife in Peru, he settled in 1960 in Mallorca and became interested in Spanish art.

There he set about painting a large work depicting King Jaime I (James I) of Aragón (The Conqueror) showing his landing in Mallorca at Santa Ponsa in 1229, where together with his fleet of 155 ships he conquered the island, driving out the Moors.

As Krekovic was primarily a portrait painter he needed a model with strong facial features, preferably bearded, to represent King Jaime seated on a rock as he gazed out to sea.

Bill Lewis
I don’t know how they met, but Bill Lewis, Canadian, was the model and became the face of King Jaime I of Aragón.

Here he is in this now famous painting, with the artist standing beside it.

painting of Jaime I by Krekovic
For a long time the painting hung in the Palma city hall – the Ayuntamiento, where I was to see it after my arrival in Mallorca but I believe it has been moved to the Hotel Marina Rey Don Jaime in Santa Ponsa (Mallorca).

There is now a city park and a museum devoted to Kristian Krekovic, who passed away in 1985 in Palma de Mallorca.

Here is another of Krekovic's paintings depicting Mallorquin women in their native costumes:

Mallorquin women in costume - Krekovic
Photo credits of Krekovic's works go to:
The Croatian History Net.
Photo of Bill Lewis thanks to his daughter, Lyra Lewis, to whom I am most grateful.

Next: Cognac Gulch


Anonymous said...
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Jason said...

I like your travel blog here. I have one as well which I hope to be a good resource for those looking to go on vacation. I'd like to exchange links with you and help spread some traffic around.

Please let me know if this is possible.


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