El Mercat de les Flors (The Flower Market), Barcelona

Apr 18, 2017

“El Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona”, 2017, oil on linen, 50x60cm

The Mercat de les Flors is a municipal theater in Barcelona, Spain. It was opened in 1983 in the former Palace of Agriculture, which was constructed on the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1929 in Montjuic and which later housed the central flower market.

Painting Barcelona

When painting Barcelona, it seems natural to populate the pictures with human activity because that is what I encounter daily. I think of this painting as a tableau vivant, or living picture, depicting a place and a moment. Imagine a theatrical set  which contains a scene being depicted and then is frozen, that is what I had in mind while painting it. Through painting,  I try to capture some of the energy and life of the city, which contains contrasts: The old and the new, the timeless and the ephemeral, the exotic and the commonplace, the organic and the inorganic, all existing side by side. Painting  is a way for me to reconcile these dualities and harmonize them.

The painting takes place on a Sunday, late afternoon, in spring. The people in the picture are enjoying the last part of the weekend, coming and going, doing the little ordinary  things anybody anywhere might do on a Sunday. There’s beauty in that as I see it, and even mystery, the rhythm of life, a sort of dance.


Painting Life

When I go out to paint or sketch, each time more I feel inspired and genuinely connected to and moved by what I experience.  This might be a building, such as the Mercat de les Flors on Montjuic, or a sky, or the sea, or some mountains, but it is also a person out taking her dog for a walk, or a couple sitting together on a bench. I have to paint all this, here, in and around Barcelona.  It’s the best way I know  to really answer to it.

Thank you for your time.


Robert (Bob) Froh

Field Sketch for "Mercat de les Flors", 2017, ink and pencil on paper (from sketchbook), 15x20cm

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