Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 97 x 106 cm
Signed: lower right: F. Beltran Masses
Estate of the artist; his wife Sra. Irene Narezo de Beltran; her heirs, by descent, Barcelona; Private collection, Los Angeles.
Federico Beltran Masses – Enigma y sensualidad, Edición Fundación Caja Castellón-Bancaja, 2007; Federico Beltran Masses: un pintor en la corte de Hollywood, Museu Diocesà, Barcelona, 2011, ills., p.120.
Possibly Exposition d’œuvres F. Beltran Masses, Chez Trotti, Paris, 21 May – 14 June, 1931, no. 16; Possibly Paintings by Federico Beltran Masses, New Burlington galleries, London, 1938, no. 72; Federico Beltran Masses, Blue Nights and Libertine Legends, Stair Sainty Gallery, London, Oct-Nov 2012, ills., no. 16, pp.120-123.
Beltran’s second painting set in an imagined tropical forest contrasts dramatically with the earlier painting from 1925. While the latter portrays a nude of clearly European heritage, the female protagonists here seem to be of Hispano-Caribbean heritage and exhibit an obvious sensuality which is absent in the 1925 painting. The ‘orgy of opulent fruit above tall ephemera palms which shoot out like rockets’ seen here is pure fantasy. Pushing aside a curtain of tropical foliage, one blood red lipped nude gazes down at another, who lies horizontal with an ecstatic expression on her face. Though one of her breasts is exposed, a mass of bananas, mango, guava and topical fruit cover her, perhaps a loose reference to Josephine Baker who since 1925 had enjoyed an astonishingly successful career in Paris. An art critic in 1920 claimed that ‘Beltran paints his canvases like a director organising a gala spectacle’ and the image painted here is as sexually charged as any of Baker’s burlesques shows.
 Federico Garcia Sanchiz, ‘Federico Beltran Le Divin’ as found in F. Paillart, Sur l’œuvre de Beltran Massés, Paris, 1924, p. 19, translation our own.
L’Arte mondiale alla Esposizione di Venezia MCMXX, Francesco Sapori, Istituto Italiano d’Arti Grafiche, Bergamo, 1920, p. 47.