Archive for September 22, 2012

Artist of the moment……Francisco Zuniga….

The artist was born on December 26 in Costa Rica in the year 1912. Zuniga studied the printmaking as well as drawing and painting at the School of Fine Arts in San Jose, Costa Rica. After this he went on to study sculpture and working with stone at La Esmeralda in Mexico City. He went on to teach at this institution until retirement in 1970. This institution is also known as the National School of Sculpture and Painting of Costa Rica.

His father ran a studio that produced sculptures for the local churches and convents around San Jose, Costa Rica. This is what got him excited about the world of sculture at a young age.

He worked with watercolor, pastels, crayons, charcoal, onyx, and marble. He mainly worked with the female figure.

Mexico City proved to be a grand destination for the artist. Due to its sheer size and amount of people good art and fantastic artists such as the muralists like Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and  Jose Orozco. When Zuniga moved to Mexico he was able to work with the painter  Manual Lozano.

A great clip showing  a great deal of art made by Zuniga. You can get a good feeling as to how much the artist loved painting and sculpting the female figure. For his sculptures he used bronze or carved them in onyx.

Over his long career the artist finished many public commissions. From 1960 on he mainly worked in his studio producing prints and sculptures and very prolific pace. From an artistic standpoint Zuniga reminds me of Mary Cassatt and Elizabeth Catlett. Catlett was born in America but moved to Mexico and was very important in getting those workers in the fields to better themselves by learning to read.  In order to show the emotional connection between the subjects in his paintings on many occasionally, Zuniga tends to exaggerate certain bodyparts like the arms and hands.

He seemed to specialize on painting the local women and seems to have used a stereotype in that nearly every women had arms far larger than normal. Maybe to emphasize their importance to the world and the idea that they were pouring all of their hard work in order to improve their community. I will go deeper into some Mexican muralists because they were very important in uniting the country for a certain cause. In a time before many people were even able to listen to radio, many people were able to view the originals murals or see a print that the artists had produced.

I also enjoy his design of his models on his working surfaces. In many works no horizon line exists and the subject seems very peaceful in their poses, very relaxed and seemingly floating in space.  Rather than drawing a face in profile and twisting the body to get a Reubens like feeling, the artist many times worked with the entire figure in a three quarters position. Its great to see a different approach being used with the figure. I find his renderings of the eyes to be the most impressive part of his figure paintings.

The artist passed away in 1998.

Average price ranges: Charcoals from $3,000 to $10,000. Bronzes less than $1,000 up to $411,000. Marbles up to $75,000. Crayon works from $5,000 to $15,000. Lithographs from $1,000.  Drawings from $5,000 to $15,000. Watercolor from $4,000 to $15,000.

Francisco Zuniga is part of museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

Try a figure painting or drawing today!