When it comes to portrait paintings, one of Michael’s favorite series of works are of a young gypsy girl crying by artist Juan Arroyo.
Michael first came across Arroyo’s mysteriously somber paintings, while he was researching another oil painting of a crying girl by an unknown artist in the collection, which originally came from an art gallery in New York City.
Struck by the beauty of Juan Arroyo’s paintings and intrigued by how the model grows older in each successive portrait, Michael spent the next couple of years looking for an opportunity to buy one of the paintings for himself.
After an exhaustive search, he discovered an unframed portrait of the girl on eBay and was finally able to add Arroyo’s work to his private collection.
Because there are so many artists who share the same name, Michael didn’t know anything about the painter or the girl in the picture up until recently. But a chance encounter with a listing on a Canadian classified ads website lead to the discovery of not only another Juan Arroyo painting, but also to information about the artist on the back of the frame.
According to the artist’s statement, Juan Arroyo studied art in Argentina, Holland and Spain. In addition to being a part of The Michael Aaron Gallagher Collection, his work has also been exhibited in southern Spain and is a part of several private collections.
“The paintings of Juan Arroyo reflect the artist’s love of the beauty of Nature. This is the reoccurring theme in all his works,” the statement reads. “His special gifts for the use of color and his drawing talents are nowhere more evident than in his white Andalucian villages. And he proves that it is not necessary for us to live with the gypsies to capture the very essence of their feelings and way of life. His portraits too show his mastery of his art — color and line once again producing the means of self-expression for this artist.”
Diana Davy, who once knew the artist, recalls that he was originally from Córdoba, Spain.
“He gave me a portrait of me he executed in pastels, which I love. It was like a photograph at the time,” Davy said. “The Melia Hotel in Torremolinos had an exhibition of his works at that time, including one he did of the actress Jane Seymour whilst she was staying in Marbella.”
Although Michael still does not know the story behind Arroyo’s crying gypsy girl series of paintings, he hopes to one day add more of Juan Arroyo’s portraits of the same girl to his collection.