Caroman 1931

Caroman in Paris, 1931

Caroman (born Adrián Caroman, 1898-1944) was a Brunanter painter, widely considered to be the best of the 20th century.


Early lifeEdit

Caroman was born to a Jewish Barzuna family on a farm in rural Cape Cross Parish. His ancestors had left Spain in the early 1500s, during the time of the inquisition and had since resided in Cape Cross.

Early on, his father hoped for him to continue running the family farm, or perhaps even working in his uncle's packing business in Brezonde. However, young Adrian wanted to become an artist. After frequent arguing he left his home at the age of 17. He moved to Cape Cross in 1915 and moved in with a cousin, working as a busboy at a local cafe to help pay the rent.

Painting careerEdit

The Black Widow

The Black Widow, 1935

Around 1918, he began sketching people and selling his work for 2 Thalers. People recognized his talent and he was soon getting more clients. His first "real" painting was that of a local couple; he managed to make 15 Th. from it. One of his earliest clients was mob wife Fabiana Capello, and some say he had even deeper connections with the mob (he was a personal friend to Mario Montesini).

By the early 1920s, his style became more cubist, and this gained him even more attention from the art community. In 1926-27, his artistic style became even more modern; it was influenced by Art Deco and streamlined shapes and was painted in bright colors. In By 1930 he was making about 250 Thalers per painting, which was quite significant. He participated in various exhibition throughout Europe, mostly in France and Italy.

In 1935 he painted what is his most famous work, The Black Widow. It was a portrait of a widow (Lucretia van Gallen) who always dressed in black, since her husband's death in the 1920s. He later experimented with drugs (and other art forms) and he produced his rarest work in 1937, a taxidermied cat which he painted in various colored striped.

WWII and deathEdit

When Germany invaded Brunant, Caroman went into hiding, since his prominence could compromise him and since he was also a Jew. He stayed at the house of "the Black Widow" with her and her daughter. Here he began to make paintings with hidden messages aimed at assisting the Underground Revolution.

On several occasions the Nazis searched the house but could not find anyone. In 1944, the Nazis got ahold of one of his paintings and were looking for him. On July 28, 1944 the SS stormed the house and killed all the occupants, including Caroman. His body was lost and was never recovered, but after the war a gravestone was erected in the local cemetery in his memory.


In 1954 a plaque was erected outside the Black Widow's house to make the place where he died. In 1971, Lucretia's son donated the house to the city, who turned it into the Caroman Museum. This museum has some of his most rarest and most valuable works. A smaller portion of his art, but including some of his early work can be found in the National Museum of Art, which has 15 pieces by Caroman. Selected other pieces can be found at the Museu nas Arts Barzuna and other art museums worldwide, including MoMA in New York.

Caroman Primary School in Cape Cross is named after him.

Caroman paintings have gotten very valuable over the years, with many being worth hundreds of thousands of Euros. In 2007, his Portrait of a Gypsy (A Jitana) fetched a massive 1,230,000€ at auction.


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