Who is Capuletti?

José Manuel Capuletti
Nationality: Spanish
Art Movement: Magic Realism

This month’s artist is a fairly unknown one. In fact, I’ll place a bet that you probably haven’t heard of him before- José Manuel Capuletti.

I stumbled across some of his paintings on Wikiart and was immediately intrigued. He has the style of Dali (in fact he was a student of Dali’s) but he has a lighter, less complex (dare I say, less morbid?) feel to his art. While sometimes looking and immersing yourself in Dali can feel like a bad acid trip – Capuletti feels more like you’re watching the comedy channel.

I am captivated by his works. There is virtually no information about him at all on the internet that I could find. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.. but somehow this Spanish painter has found his works collected by some very prestigious people including the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Arthur Rubenstein and King Juan Carlos of Spain. He was also reportedly Ayn Rand’s favourite artist – beating out stiff completion from Vemeer, Rembrant and even Dali himself. Ayn is said to have commented on Capuletti as being “a man who is in love with life, with this earth.”

From what I can gather and stitch together from snippets available on the web, Capuletti was born in Valladolid, Spain in 1925. He became fascinated with art quite early on and after school he worked as a stage decoration designer for a Ballet group that toured Europe. This is where he met his future wife, María del Pilar López Fernández (Pilar) who he married in Paris in 1951.

Pilar features heavily in Capuletti’s art – she is often depicted with a brunette pixie haircut with her back to the viewer.

Capuletti has the passionate intensity of Spain, the elegance of France, and the joyous, benevolent freedom of America.

- Ayn Rand

The majority of Capuletti’s art gives off an imaginative yet serene vibe – the people and animals depicted in his art are very much in harmony with the landscape they find themselves in. Even when presented with some surprising surrealist items in the landscape, the items somehow feel like they are meant to be part of the scene. Nothing is forced, there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek and you can possibly read all sorts of allegory and iconography into the art if you look hard enough – but I personally think that Capuletti was just having fun. I think life amused him and therefore art amused him. He saw a happier, lighter, less tortured side of surrealism than Dali and this feeds into the bright colours and simple shapes that make up his work.

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about this lesser known artist like I did. View his art and appreciate the lighter side of life. Peace out.

Ps. If you’re an amateur art collector, it may be worthwhile keeping an eye out for Capulettis work when it comes up. His oil’s generally sell for less than EU 10,000. While his watercolours are less than EU $1500. Which I think is a great price for an artist with an impressive collector list like Capuletti has.