Below Ronda, by Clark Hulings

A Fortified Town Goes to Auction

My father first traveled to Andalusia in 1960. He had lived in Spain as a child, but did not venture to the Southern part of the country until near the end of his multi-year European sojourn, when he drove the entire length of the Iberian Peninsula, and spent a few months exploring the Costa del Sol and the mountainous interiors to it’s North. Having discovered the rich source material there, he was hooked, and I spent a good deal of my childhood roaming dusty Andalusian villages with my mother while he painted and gathered subject matter.

The 9th Century, moorish Old Town of Ronda sits on a mountaintop about an hour and a half east of Málaga. It is one of Spain’s oldest towns. As you can imagine from this painting, no matter how you approach it is tough-going, and this horseman might have the best strategy for reaching it, even today. As with hilltop villages all over the world, Ronda has a more easily accessible New Town adjacent to it, reachable by bridge across a magnificent gorge.

Here’s what my father had to say about this work: “This picture, composed on different levels, is a side view of the town of Ronda. Only a few houses of the town are visible, perched on the edge of a cliff. They are the nice houses of substantial citizens. Way down below is a shantytown of rude shacks made from scavenged materials, and a few steps down from them is a stream.

“Ronda is built on a mesa and one can easily see the protection it offered in ancient times against marauders. To me it offered a fine composition.

“The signs on the posts warn against trespassing. What little the people have they mean to keep – including their right to privacy.”

If you find yourself in Southern Spain, Ronda is well-worth a visit. This painting has been in a private collection since it left my father’s studio in 1984. on July 29 it will be on the auction block at the Coeur d’Alene Auction in Reno, Nevada.

Elizabeth Hulings

Do You Know About the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists?

A portion of net proceeds of the Clark Hulings Estate are donated to CHF, to enable working artists like Clark to build self-sustaining businesses.

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