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CHIKITO - used to be Cafe Alameda: meeting place of the Rinconcillo
11 March 1915 was the date on which Lorca, aged 16, officially joined the Centro Artístico y Literario de Granada and started to attend the discussions of the Rinconcillo. Among a group of artists, writers and intellectuals, Lorca was at that time its only musician - for it was as an aspiring musician he was then known; his literary inclinations first came to light two years later - after the death of his music teacher, Antonio Segura.
The discussion forum El rinconcillo arose out of a controversy over the "facile and worn-out Orientalist cliché" that prevailed among a section of Granada's intellectual and social elite (the same cliché that had inspired Villaespesa's acclaimed work). The criticism was most strongly worded by Constantin Ruiz Carnero (editor and later director of El Defensor de Granada) who spoke of "pettiness, an atmosphere of petty lies, pious deceit and conventionality of forms". Between May and October 1915 the Centre published a monthly magazine called Granada to promote its aesthetic views. The editors and their friends met every night in the Cafe Alameda - today Chikito - in a corner under the stairs, and thus el rinconcillo was born.
Angel Barrios portrayed by Manuel Angles Ortiz
With the Trio Iberia (guitar, lute and bandurria) he toured Europe
Manuel Angles Ortiz - self portrait
went to Paris to join the Spanish School of Painters with Picasso and Miró
With Constantino Ruiz Carnero, photographed at the Huerta de San Vicente
Like Lorca, Ruiz Carnero was a victim of the Nationalist repression in Granada
Federico with his brother Paco (Francisco)
Francisco graduated in 1922, won a scholarship to study in France in 1925-6, was awarded his Doctorate in Law in 1927, and entered the Diplomatic Corps in 1931.
Without a doubt, the leading member of El Rinconcillo was FRANCISCO (PAQUITO) SORIANO LAPRESA (1893-1934), a kind of Spanish Oscar Wilde. He was tall, excessively fat, due to a hereditary illness that affected many of his family. He had long, straight black hair, thick, sensuous lips and a palid complexion. He was a Doctor of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Granada. He passed the entry exams to the Consular Corps, but never applied for a job. He taught at the Escuela de Estudios Arabes in Granada. In the early 20s, the Rinconcillo had a project to set up a library on property he owned in La Zubia dedicated to Abentofail and other Arabic poets of Granada. He lived with his family in a second floor flat at Puentezuelas 9, where he had a magnificent library, which included a large section of erotic and pornographic books. He was said to practice sadomasochism. He was President of the Music Conservatory and a member of PSOE, organising the Cultural Section of the Casa del Pueblo. Lorca dedicated the chapter of Impresiones y paisajes titled Jardines to him, calling him an exotic and admirable spirit. Around 1918-19 he was interested in Lorca’s sister and believed that Lorca opposed the relationship. He married Concha Higaldo Rodríguez, a cheerful and good-humoured girl who liked to wear outrageous costumes and behaved in a exageratedly mannered way. They made a scandalous and exotic couple. (Source for this section is Ian Gibson.)
MELCHOR FERNANDEZ ALMAGRO (1893-1966) was from a cultured liberal family. He was influenced by Angel Ganivet and interested in local history. He was co-director of the bulletin of the Centro Artístico dedicated to Zorrilla in 1917 that included Fantasia Simbólica, Lorca’s first published work. He was a close friend of Lorca’s family and did all he could to encourage Lorca’s literary inclinations. He was a post office civil service and got posted (pun) to Madrid in 1919, where he acted as a cort of cultural “St John the Baptist” for Lorca, who moved to Madrid shortly afterwards. He was also a journalist and newspaper critic, writing for the conservative-monarchist La Epoca until 1927, then moving to the liberal La voz, a move which Lorca heartily approved of.
ANTONIO GALLEGO BURIN (1895-1961) was Mayor of Granada under Franco’s dictatureship from 1938-1951 and later Director General of Fine Arts at the University. He has written possibly the best guide to Granada. He was also editor of the magazine where Lorca’s first published poem Crisantemos blancos appeared.
JOSE FERNANDEZ-MONTESINOS LUSTAU (1897-1962) was the founder of the magazine Granada. In 1922 he went to Hamburg and in 1927 he published there an anthology of contemporary Spanish poetry providing an introduction and notes in German. On Lorca, he wrote that the poet lacked a formal cultural education and that this was noticable in the poems. Later he went to Berkely, USA. His brother, Manolo, who married Concha in 1929, and as Mayor of Granada was executed three days before Lorca, was an occasional participant in El Rinconcillo.
ISMAEL GONZALEZ DE LA SERNA (1898-1968) was a painter, a Bohemian, who designed the cover of Impresiones y Paisajes. He moved to Madrid and then to Paris.
MANUEL (ANGELES) ORTIZ (1895-1984) was also a painter, illegitimate son of Isabel Angeles Ortiz Gallardo, whose name he used, and a very close friend of Lorca’s. One day they saw two gypsies in the street who had been very badly beaten up by the Guardia Civil. They were in such a bad state that Manuel fainted and had to be brought here to the Café Alameda to be brought round. In 1919 he married a gypsy, Francisca, who died in 1922, after giving birth to a daughter, Isabel Clara. She was Lorca’s goddaughter and he dedicated to her the poems Primera Página and Canción China en Europa. After the death of Francisca he went to Paris to join the Spanish School of Painters with Picasso and Miró. He made the decorations and the puppets for Falla’s Retablo de Maese Pedro.
HERMENEGILDO LANZ (1893-1949) was an artist who helped Lorca and Falla with their puppet theatre for children, and also made decorations and puppet heads for Falla’s Retablo. In 1927 he was responsible for the decorations and figures for El Gran Teatro del Mundo by Calderón, put on by Antonio Gallego Burín in the Plaza de los Aljibes during Corpus.
ANGEL BARRIOS FERNANDEZ (1882-1964) was, like Lorca, a pupil of Antonio Segura Mesa. His father, Antonio Barrios, was a flamenco singer, El Polinario, who ran a tavern which is today the Museum Angel Barrios, and was then a meeting place for artists visiting the Alhambra. Apart from being a flamenco singer he had two more qualities that were unusual in an innkeeper: he was an art-lover and he didn’t water down the wine. Angel played the piano, the violin and the guitar and also composed a little. With the Trio Iberia (guitar, lute and bandurria) he toured Europe, performing before King Edward VII of England.
FRANCISCO GARCIA LORCA (1902-1976) participated in El Rinconcillo. He graduated in 1922, just before his brother, and in 1925-6 had a scholarship to study in France. In 1927 he was awarded his Doctorate in Law. In 1931 he entered the Diplomatic Corps, on the outbreak of the Civil War he was in Cairo. In 1939 hw went into exile in New York, where Fernando de los Ríos was Ambassador of the Republic. In 1942 he married Fernando’s daughter, Laura. Until 1966 he was Professor of Spanish Literature and published various works of literary criticism.
In El Rinconcillo Lorca was considered the only musician among a group of writers and artists until he surprised them with his first literary works and the publication of Impresiones y Paisajes in 1918.