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Born in 1945 in Valencia, Spain, Jose Mateu San Hilario, “Royo”, began demonstrating his artistic talent early. At the age of nine his father - a prominent physician and avid art enthusiast - employed private tutors to instruct him in drawing, painting and sculpture. When Royo turned 14 he entered the San Carlos Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Valencia. Upon turning 18, he continued his artistic studies privately with Aldolfo Ferrer Amblat, Chairman of Art Studies at the San Carlos Academy. He also visited the major museums in Europe at this time to study the famous masters - Velasquez, Goya, Renoir, Monet and Sorolla among others.

During the mid 1960s and early 1970s, Royo added more dimensions to his skills creating theatre sets and doing graphic illustration and restoration work. He also participated in several competitions gaining major distinctions. In 1968 he began to exhibit in Spain, specifically prestigious galleries in Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona. With positive receptions of his works in Madrid, Royo received commissions to paint the royal portraits of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Subsequent commissions included painting the Judges of the High Magistrature and the Court of Justice as well as prominent political and society figures.

At the age of 25, Royo began feeling a growing desire to paint the land of his birth; to convey the light, the colour and the intensity of Valencia and the Mediterranean. This meant a new focus and change of style in his work; he needed to perfect new ways to capture the light, the shadow and to work on classical composition styles. Through the 1980s, Royo perfected his style of painting the Mediterranean and exhibited abroad, notably in London, Brussels, Copenhagen and Paris. He also participated in the International Geneva Art Fair.

Beginning in 1989 and continuing until today we see the development of Royo’s “mature style”. His dramatic usage of colour and “texturing” capture his subject matter with unique flair. Parallels can be drawn to the work of the European masters; for example, in Royo’s “homage to the female form”, we see the distinct influence of Renoir. It is the similar, almost portrait-like treatment of the female model, caught in a serene, contemplative moment, with surrounding “bursts” of colour from the floral landscapes where we see the Renoir in Royo’s work. In fact, critics have concluded: “If the artwork of Renoir were blended with that of the Valencian painters you would arrive at canvases approaching the uniqueness of the impressive work of “Royo”.

Impressive parallels can also be drawn between Royo’s work and that of the Spanish master, Joaquin Sorolla. Both were born in Valencia, both were classically trained, both “matured” into styles of painting capturing the dramatic visual essence of their homeland - Valencia and the Mediterranean Sea. They have both been described as “painters of the light”; some have said, “of the Light of the South”, that is, the southern coast of Spain. It is the overwhelming influence of Sorolla blended with his own style that make Royo’s masterful treatment of the Mediterranean subjects both haunting and mysterious, yet full of raw power at the same time.

The sweeping brush strokes, bold swaths of colour, and heavy impasto capture the eye and draw one inward until that final absolute moment of awareness that one is actually there in the scene feeling the light and heat of the sun, the salt and sea spray, and hearing the crashing surf. Royo conveys not merely image, but mood and atmosphere as well. This is rare in today’s art world; hence the connoisseur is compelled to compare with the old masters. Thus, the appeal of Royo’s work for today’s collector becomes obvious.

Royo is a "living master" - the definitive artist of Mediterranean Post-Impressionism. Born in 1945, Royo discovered his calling as a child prodigy in his home city of Valencia, Spain and was tutored by the finest art professors in the city. At age 14, he entered the renowned San Carlos Royal Academy of Fine Art. Royo completed his education by visiting the greatest museums around the world, absorbing and studying the works of the classic masters such as Velasquez, Goya, Renoir, Monet, Sorolla, among many others. In his advanced studies, he excelled in the painting styles and techniques of the 18th and 19th century masters and thus received a co mmission for restoration work on the Palace of Maquis of Dos Aguas.

During the mid-60's-early 70's, Royo added more dimensions to his skills creating theatre sets and doing graphic illustration and restoration work. He also participated in esteemed competitions gaining major distinctions. By the time he was 23, he began to exhibit in prestigious galleries in Spain. He then moved on to exhibit throughout the world, such as in London, Tokyo, Lisbon, Geneva, Brussels, Birmingham, Osaka, Nagoya, and many others. At age 28, he received commissions to paint the royal portraits of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia; subsequently, receiving commissions to paint the judges of the High Magistrature and the Court of Justice, as well as prominent political and society figures.

In 1995, Royo's work was introduced into the United States. He has quickly become one of the most sought after and well recognized artists in the country. A collection of his work has toured in museums throughout Europe and the United States and is scheduled for exhibition in Geneva in 2004, which will give the work a significant exhibition history.

Royo is a Classicist, with an avant-garde brushstroke; an Expressionist with a profound knowledge of drawing; a Romantic with an impassioned flair. As a man, he has become one of the greatest artists of our time. He has become a Master

Royo signing pencil drawings at a gallery showing in 2005