Pedro Fraile’s Spanish daydreams are the real thing

Wren Wertin
Special to the Daily"Untitled"/Oil on canvas

Born in Spain in 1952, Fraile studied at La Escuela De Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. He’s had multiple exhibitions around the world, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he made his Vail connection.

Patti and John Cogswell, owners of the gallery, were in Spain visiting their daughter who was attending the University of Segovia, just outside of Madrid.

“We went to the Prado of course,” said Patti. “They pride themselves on their local artists. Right outside the Prado, they allow them to exhibit some Saturdays. So we were wandering around looking at everything, and that’s where we found Pedro.”

Because the couple had recently driven through the southern hills of the country, the subjects and colors on Fraile’s canvasses took their senses by storm. With his bold brush strokes and obvious affection for his country, his work captured the world the Cogswells had just seen.

“There’s a lot of countryside there,” said Patti. “Vistas as far as you can see, rows of flowers and fields, the women bent over in the big straw hat – everything in Spain has such antiquity and feeling in it.”

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Patti compares the light of Spain to the light of New Mexico, ever-present and always changing. Fraile paints Spain as it is now, not 100 years ago. But it has that magic, bucolic feel you find in some of Van Gogh’s and Monet’s work, though his style is all his own.

“A country that doesn’t love, and hasn’t feeling for art and the artist is a country without soul,” states a book about Fraile and his work. The artist’s canvasses reiterate the claim.

The Cogswells invited the Frailes to Vail often, but didn’t think they would actually come for a while.

“We’re so excited to have them,” said Patti.

In addition to Spain, Fraile has had exhibits in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Tokyo and Montreal. And now Vail. Fraile will be at Cogswell Gallery today from 4-8 p.m., Saturday from 3-8 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call the gallery at 476-1769.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

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