In 1898, José‚ met Constance
Harding whilst she was spending the winter
in Italy with her mother. Her father was a
had recently died. She was 23 years younger than José,
who was 41 at the time but it did not take him long
to propose marriage. They met in Assisi, where
José had previously stayed with the ‘blue nuns’ and
painted the mother superior – a tremendous feat in
those times. They met again at Albano in the Roman
it was here that she at last agreed to marry him in
January of the year 1900, and leave England.
The marriage lasted for 17 years, until his death,
and during that time they had five children.
Theirs was a large household, for as well as the five
children, there were also staff and a governess; José
was fortunate in having no financial worries, unlike
his fellow artists. He sold his paintings easily,
for high prices. He had a regular contract with the
art dealer van Baerle in Berlin. Van Baerle was a
and had an agreement whith José to provide him
with one painting per month, but of course with his
meticulous attention to the detail in his paintings
he was never able to maintain that rate.
He also sold abroad to other countries; he had a client
who was a private collector in St.Petersburg, and in
London he sold through the Tooth Gallery. Arthur Tooth
was a friend of his, and José named one of his sons
after him. He also sold in the United States, and amongst
the people who bought there, was William Randolph Hearst
the publisher. When Hearst died, contemporary newspapers
reproduced photographs of his house, and from
these we have learnt that there was a painting by José
Gallegos in his bedroom.
José Gallegos’ studio in Rome
Today, his paintings can be found in galleries in Germany,
Russia, North and South America, and even in the Modern
Art Gallery of Madrid. Strangely, he rarely exhibited
in Rome, and very few of his pictures were sold there.
He once had a painting disfigured in an exhibition in
Rome, through he believed, the jealousy of fellow Italian
painters, and consequently he never exhibited there
He was awarded gold medals medals at a number of exhibitions,
notably in Venice and at the International Art exhibition
of Berlin in 1891, where the gold medal was awarded
by William II the German Kaiser.
José Gallegos y Arnosa with his children