Biography and History

Gabriel Iturri, also known as Gabriel de Iturri or Gabriel de Yturri, was born in Yerba Buena, a small hamlet in Tucumán Province, Argentina, on March 12, 1860. The second son of Genoveva Zurita and Pedro Iturri, the young Iturri was remembered by the Frenchman Paul Groussac, his schoolteacher at the Colegio Nacional de Tucumán, for his talents on stage. The young Iturri performed the lead role of Marcela in a school production of Marcela o cuál de las tres, displaying the vibrant charisma that would later earn him a place in Parisian society.

With the establishment of a new railroad connecting Tucumán and Buenos Aires in 1876, Iturri left home and ventured to Buenos Aires, with the intent of continuing his studies. Five years later, Iturri journeyed to Europe, residing for two years in Lisbon, before arriving in Paris in 1883. As secretary and companion to Robert de Montesquiou, whom he met at an exposition of Delacroix at the École des Beaux Arts in 1885, the pair enjoyed what Montesquiou characterized as "twenty years of incomparable friendship, of permanent and blazing zeal, of fearless and long-sighted devotion, of inalterable and constant faithfulness, that only expired with [Iturri's] death." During these years, Gabriel Iturri added a nobiliary particle to his name, becoming Gabriel de Iturri. This choice may have been prompted by Robert de Montesquiou; in any case, it explains the multiple forms and spellings of his name.

Iturri returned to Tucumán only once after leaving home, in 1890, to see his much beloved mother. Gabriel Iturri died in 1905 from complications related to diabetes.


Montesquiou-Fézensac, Robert de, Le chancelier de fleurs: douze stations d'amitié, Chateaudun: La Maison du Livre par La Société Typographique, 1908.

Páez de la Torre, Carlos, El argentino de oro: una vida de Gabriel Iturri, Buenos Aires: Bajo La Luna, 2011.

Source: From the finding aid for C1419

  • Gabriel Iturri, Letters to His Mother. 1876-1910 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1419

    Gabriel Iturri (1860-1905), an Argentine from the Tucumán province, was secretary and companion to the French aristocrat, poet, and dandy Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921) during the latter part of the 19th century. A colorful figure in Paris of the Belle Époque, Iturri inspired a poem by Paul Verlaine, and was a character study for Marcel Proust. These letters, written to his mother over a quarter-century, document his exceptional life abroad and his place in the history of literature.