León Barrenechea Pérez (Irún, 1892-France, ?) studied drawing at the School of Arts and Crafts of Bilbao, and sculpture in Madrid, at Agustín Querol"s workshop, where he remained for a period of six years. In the 1910s, he took part in successive National Exhibitions of Fine Arts and Decoration, obtaining a number of medals and honorary distinctions. In 1912 he took part in a national contest held by the Madrid Circle of Fine Arts, in which he won second prize, whilst he was also awarded the second prize in an international sculpture festival held in Monaco. He was soon to become associated with public and monumental sculpture, including the monument to Sarasate in Pamplona, erected in 1918, whilst the monuments in San Sebastian dedicated to queen María Cristina and to the French who had died during the First World War, were also created around this time. Always based on a realist style, his work also encompassed other genres and subjects, such as religious sculpture, whilst the most original aspect of his artistic work focussed on the sculpture of Basque customs and people. When the Civil War broke out, he went into exile in France, where he took refuge for some time at the Benedictine abbey of Belloc, near Bayonne. He spent his later life in French territory.The work of León Barrenechea made an important contribution to the discrete panorama of sculpture in Guipuzcoa in the first quarter of the 20th century. The artist is represented in a number of collections and museums, including the works at the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastian. His public sculpture decorates the streets and squares of cities such as San Sebastian, Eibar, Pamplona and Madrid.
Sources of information:
Municipal Archive of Pamplona. LAGO, S., «Artistas jóvenes: El escultor León Barrenechea», La Esfera: ilustración Mundial, nº 82, 24 de julio de 1915, s.p. ALTADILL, J., «Los monumentos a Navarro-Villoslada y Sarasate. El mausoleo de Gayarre», Boletín de la Comisión de Monumentos Históricos y Artísticos de Navarra, Tomo 9, nº 36, 1918, pp. 265-69. «El acto de hoy. El monumento a Sarasate», Diario de Navarra, 22 de septiembre de 1918. «Inauguración solemne del monumento a Sarasate», Diario de Navarra, 23 de septiembre de 1918. «El busto de Eslava sustituirá al de Sarasate», Diario de Navarra, 24 de enero de 1964. PLAZAOLA, J., «La escuela vasca de escultura», Arte Vasco, San Sebastián, Erein, 1982, p. 202. MOLINS MUGUETA, J. L y URRICELQUI PACHO, I. J., Artistas en homenaje a Sarasate. Álbum de Roma 1882, Pamplona, Ayuntamiento de Pamplona, 2009.