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Alfredo Roque Gameiro

Portuguese watercolor painter

Brief biography

Alfredo Roque Gameiro was born on April 4, 1864, in Minde, a small town 90 miles North of Lisbon, Portugal.  He studied at the Lisbon Fine Arts Academy, where he was a pupil of Manuel de Macedo (1839-1915), J Simões de Almeida and Henrique Casanova.  He also frequented the Leipzig School of Arts and Crafts, on a scholarship from the Portuguese government, where he studied litography under Ludwig Nieper (1826-1906).  Upon his return to Portugal, in 1886, he directed the offices of the Companhia Nacional Editora and in 1894 was appointed a teacher at the Escola Industrial do Príncipe Real.  Roque Gameiro died in Lisbon on August 5, 1935.

It is generally agreed that Roque Gameiro was one of Portugal’s greatest watercolor painters ever.  He created a true Portuguese tradition in the art.  Some scholars go as far as to state that Portuguese watercolor painting can be divided into before Roque Gameiro and after Roque Gameiro.  "He left us an admirable collection of works, comparable to that of the best European watercolor painters of his time" (F. de Pamplona, Dicionário de Pintores e Escultores).

Roque Gameiro is particularly known for his seascapes, which he painted during many excursions along the Portuguese shore.  As A. L. Vieira put it, Roque Gameiro "belongs to the school of wayfaring artists, who choose as their work studio the fields and the beaches, the valleys and the mountains" (preface to Lisboa Velha).  Equally important are his cityscapes, many of which are collected in Lisboa Velha, a volume of both artistic and historical value.  Other areas of work include the portrait and book illustrations.  (See Selected works and Where to see it.)

The value of Roque Gameiro’s work was first officially recognized in 1891, when he was awarded a bronze medal at the Portuguese Artists Guild’s First Exhibition.   Since then, he received a large number of prizes, including the gold medal at the Salon de Paris (1900), the grand prix at the Rio de Janeiro International Exhibition (1908) and the medal of honor at the Barcelona International Exhibition (1924).

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