Those who by profession or vocation know well the savage animals, realize that animal painting is a difficult art. Difficult, because it requires the good technique of a draftsman and the deep zoological knowledge of a naturalist. Maybe that’s why there are so few good animalists. Therefore, I would dare to assure that Lalanda could be named as the most perfect in animalistic painting after of course the masters of Altamira.” With these words of Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, the most famous broadcaster of naturalism and environmentalism in Spain, one can get an idea of the importance and significance of the work of Josechu.
Blessed with such gift – magical word which encloses the mystery of those who possess this special and unique quality which generates fascination and distinguishes them from others – Josechu brings animals to life in drawings, paintings and sculptures in a completely self-taught and intuitive way, result of observation and coexistence with nature since childhood. This learning is largely due to the fact of growing up in a country setting – particularly in the “Montes de Toledo” – where his father had a estate called La Salceda, coinciding with all kinds of field workers, and without knowing it, the artist received the first vital lesson: the respect for animals and the delicate balance of nature; becoming, as well defined by Felix Rodríguez de la Fuente, in a perfect hybrid way, a spontaneous and vocational naturalist and painter.
Thus, by observing the work of Josechu, we can hear the gasping of the wild boar downcast, feel the penetrating gaze of a stealthy lynx, walking through the wet field tracking a deer or observe the birds migrating to the marshes.
It is no wonder…
Therefore it Is no wonder that at sixteen he had already published his first drawings in the magazine Caza y Pesca: accompanying a text of his brother Marcial with some illustrations; and his first exhibition eleven years later at the Club de Monteros – urged by Íñigo de Arteaga, the count of Yebes and Jaime de Foxá, count of Rocamartí as well as writer of hunting themes -turned out to be such a success that his whole work was sold out before the opening. Thanks to the impact of this event commissions began to arrive, consolidating him professionally and gave him also the opportunity to meet Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, becoming his collaborator and friend until his death in Alaska. Both had wonderful projects, including television shows such as Fauna, Planeta Azul and El hombre y la Tierra. His photographic memory and incredible ability to materialize on paper each and every story Félix told him, made him the perfect partner and, in addition, one with the capacity of adapting himself to all the TV requirements of the time. The utmost, however, would be the Enciclopedia Salvat de la Fauna, which had meant three years of intense research to gather the information of animals from all over the world.
After this magnificent experience, Josechu travels to London and meets Sir Peter Scott – an ornithologist, preservationist, painter and only son of the famous Antarctic explorer Sir Robert Scott – to whom he expresses his intention to make the Guía de las Anátidas de España, which both publish the following year and Josechu dedicated to him. Besides his drawings, Lalanda painted also all the ducks in watercolor, being still today an irrefutable reference. Josechu´s work caused such interest in England that Scott indulged himself to obtain his first exhibition at the “Sladmore Gallery – London” in 1975. The next year he had an exhibition in Amsterdam, and during the decade of the eighties followed Munich, Chantilly, Birmingham and Las Vegas – just to name a few – obtaining dazzling recognition from the public and specialized critic. In 1984 he was awarded – in recognition of his work by the CIC (Consejo Internacional de la Caza y la Conservación de la Vida Silvestre) with the “Artistic Prize”, being undoubtedly the most prestigious international award for animal and hunting painting.
Parallel to all his artistic activities, Josechu attends work as Environmentalist, at SEO (Sociedad Española de Ornitología, member of BirdLife International), being one of the founders, and is also a distinguished collaborator of ADENA (Asociación para la Defensa de la Naturaleza, renamed as WWF España since 2009).
This overview enables us to imagine a child with a painter´s soul and innate gift, who transformed a simple trace of graphite into an emotional and bucolic atmosphere of his childhood at La Salceda – starting point that marked his destiny – reflecting the fascination he always felt for nature and therefore dedicating his whole life to animalistic art, leaving a great legacy of virtuosity and talent. We would like to take this opportunity to extent his work as well as paying homage to the person and artist.