Oswaldo Guayasamin

Born in 1919 - Ecuador


Oswaldo Guayasamín (July 6, 1919 – March 10, 1999) was an Ecuadorian master painter and sculptor of Quechua and Mestizo heritage.

Guayasamín was born in Quito, to a native father and a Mestiza mother, both of Quechua descent. His family was poor and his father worked as a carpenter for most of his life. He later worked as a taxi and truck driver. He was the first child of ten children in his family. When he was young, he enjoyed drawing caricatures of his teachers and the children that he played with. He showed an early love for art. He created a Pan-American art of human and social inequalities which achieved international recognition.

He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Quito as a painter and sculptor. He also studied architecture there. He held his first exhibition when he was 23, in 1942. While he was attending college, his best friend died during a demonstration in Quito. This incident would later inspire one of his paintings, "Los Niños Muertos" (The Dead Children). This event also helped him to form his vision about the people and the society that he lived in.

Guayasamín won the first prize at the Ecuadorian Salón Nacional de Acuarelistas y Dibujantes in 1948. He also won the first prize at the Third Hispano-American Biennial of Art in Barcelona, Spain, in 1955. In 1957, at the Fourth Biennial of São Paulo, he was named the best South American painter.

Guayasamín met Jose Clemente Orozco while traveling in the United States of America and Mexico from 1942 to 1943. They traveled together to many of the diverse countries in South America. They visited Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and other countries. Through these travels he observed the indigenous lifestyle and poverty that appeared in his paintings.

In 1988, he painted a very controversial mural depicting the history of Ecuador. The Congress of Ecuador asked him to do so. However, the United States Government criticized him because the one of the paintings showed a man in a Nazi helmet with the lettering "CIA" on it.

The artist's last exhibits were inaugurated by him personally in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, and in the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires in 1995. In Quito, Guayasamín built a museum that features his work. Guayasamín's images capture the political oppression, racism, poverty, Latin America lifestyle, and class division found in much of South America.

Guayasamín dedicated his life to painting, sculpting, collecting; however, he was an ardent supporter of the communist Cuban Revolution in general and Fidel Castro in particular. He was given a prize for "an entire life of work for peace" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. His death on March 10, 1999 was marked by a day of national strikes by the indigenous people (whom he spent his life supporting) and other sectors of society, and was considered a great loss to Ecuador. He is still lauded as a national treasure.

In 2002, three years after his death, Guayasamín's masterwork, La Capilla del Hombre ("The Chapel of Man"), was completed and opened to the public. The Chapel is meant to document not only man's cruelty to man but also the potential for greatness within humanity. It is co-located with Guayasamín's home in the hills overlooking Quito.

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Obra gráfica - Galería Benot, Cádiz
Guayasamin - Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba
Of Rage And Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín - Molaa Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín - Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
Oswaldo Guayasamin - Kópavogur Art Museum - Gerðarsafn, Kópavogur
De Furia y Redención: El Arte de/ Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín - Florida Atlantic University School of the Arts , Boca Raton, FL
Of Rage and Redemption- The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín - AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC
Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín - Cohen Memorial Hall , Nashville, TN
Descubriendo a Guayasamín - Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo
Oswaldo Guaysamin - Klostergalerie Zehdenick - Kulturlandschaft Brandenburg Nord e.V., Zehdenick
Guayasamín - MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile, Santiago
Oswaldo Guayasamín - Centro Nacional de la Cultura, San José
Guayasamín: El nuevo mundo - MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile, Santiago
Guayasamín en Lima - Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI, Lima


Grandes Maestros Latinoamericanos Del S. Xx. Colección Mac Panamá - MAC Museo de Arte Contemporána, Panama City
Wild Heart: Art Exhibition of German Neo-Expressionism Since the 1960s - China Art Museum, Shanghai
Imágenes Incorformistas. De Juan Gris A Karel Appel . Colección Beulas-Sarrate - C/ Doctor Artero, s/n, Huesca
Solidaridad Y Resistencia. La Historia Del Mssa - Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago
Intersections - Molaa Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
LA to LA - the Sayago & Pardon Latin American Art Collection - LA Artcore, Los Angeles, CA
Latitudes: Mestres Latino-americanos na Coleção FEMSA - Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo
Latitudes: maestros latinoamericanos en la colección FEMSA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - MNBA, Buenos Aires
Obra Gráfica - N2 galeria, Barcelona
Transeuntes – América Latina - Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo
Artists of the Americas - AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC
Arte en Iberoamérica 1820-1980 - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
20° Bienal de São Paulo - Bienal de Sao Paulo, São Paulo
Colección Leopoldo Rodríguez Alcalde. Grabado Contemporáneo - Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander, Santander
Latin American Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of John and Barbara Duncan - The Americas Society Art Gallery, New York City, NY
Latin-American Paintings by Pettoruti, Guayasamin and Camino Brent - Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO

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