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Alejandro Obregon Oil Painting, Biography - Spanish-born Colombian Painter Alejandro Obregon
[Spanish-born Colombian Painter and Muralist, 1920-1992]


Obregon took birth in 1920 in Barcelona, Spain, the son of a Catalan mother and Colombian father. Maximum time of his childhood was spent in 1939 at places Barranquilla, Colombia and Liverpool, England, he got study of fine arts in Boston for one year and then returned back to Barcelona to serve for four years as Vice Consul of Colombia. In 1948, Obregón was named as the Director of the School of Fine Arts in Santafé de Bogotá. He, as a director lasted barely a year, but the insiative of change he gave birth, got firm. The very next year, he displaced to Paris, France and exhibited work through entire France, Germany and Switzerland. He then moved to Alba, near Avignon in France, where he stayed till 1955. A portrait painting from the same year, Still Life in Yellow, reflects that his personal style at that time was fully developed.

Obregón is surely a painter. His contents are generally divided horizontally into dual areas of distinct pictorial size or value, but of equal visual intensity. Other elements go against them. Color plays a vital role in integrating the his ingenious design, first in geometric way and then in controlled expressionism.

The historian Eugenio Barney of Columbia refers to "periods" in Obregón's work, specialized by predominant colors. At the same time his portrait painting and custom oil paintings reflects the influence of Pablo Picasso, equally that of the Englishman Graham Sutherland, although these are only signs of departure. Thanks to his vigorous creativity, due to which his known were greatly impressed, Obregón got a pictographic system of his very own invention, marked by his personal formal and colourful symbols. In the 1960s this system got such excellance which was difficult to overtake. It was identified at the Ninth São Paulo Biennial, where Obregón presented Colombia in a pavilion of himself and was awarded for the Latin America the Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho Grand Prize.

For a period of four consecutive decades, Obregón incorporated a repertory of themes into his portrait painting that transcend literary reference and are Colombian in character by mistake. From his still lifes of the 1950s to his sky landscape, the buildings and the sea of Cartagena de Indias, during his last years he worked there, Obregón's work is usually multifaceted. He depicts his feeling for the beautiful wildlife and geography of Colombia, his passion of family and for women. His subjects gives feeling of the viewer of loyalty, friendship, memory and at lastly of the wonder of life, however insignificant it may look in terms of the cosmos.

Yet Obregon is a Colombian artist still most closely identified with the spirit of artistic renewal manifested in his country in1950s. It was the time when Obregon, Fernando Botero, Ramirez Villamizar Enrique Grau, and Edgar Negret, began to known as the "Big Five" of Colombian art. At distinct times through his entire career, Like the works of Diego Rivera, Obregon also launched works related to violence specially political since 1948 in Colombia. Estudiante Muerto, awarded the national prize at the 1956 for Colombia, Guggenheim International Exhibition, refers to a group of portrait paintings and custom oil paintings commemorating students and famous leaders who lost their lives during this period of social unrest. In 1956, Obregon's, Cattle Drowning in the Magdalena River, has been awarded first prize in Houston, Texas at the Gulf Caribbean Competition, ­an exhibition that also contained works by the "Big Five".

Color always has been a necessary role in his work, both on an affective level and also as a unifying element of composition. This portrait painting , which contains elegiac and dramatic tone, in which an altar-like table depicts as a stage setting for death, is showed by dominantly the red color in the geometrically articulated composition.

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Alejandro Obregon in Museums and Web Sites (Click on link to view image)

Alejandro Obregon in Wikipedia

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