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The Visual Arts in the Dominican Republic
Modern Art Gallery (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

Over the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the century, the Dominican art transcends the boundaries of national, international projects through the presentation of individual and collective of artists of all ages.

Through the implementation of the Ten-Year Plan for Cultural Development, the Ministry of Culture encourages the development of the sector, by strengthening the resources that make up this sector and the development of plans and projects in the short, medium and long term.

With the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 2000 the Department of Fine Arts meets a new structure geared towards academic excellence through the review and updating of educational provision through new curricula.

The presence of public higher education institutions and private plans offering degrees in specific areas of the arts, have motivated and increased the influx of students into these new educational offerings.

The private sector, alongside the officer continues to support the development of the arts by encouraging regular artists through the creation of prizes and contests, many of them already institutionalized.

Chronology (drawing, painting and sculpture)

Between 1795 and 1822 the internal situation in Santo Domingo leads to migration of artists to other latitudes. Among migrants are then Juan de Mata Tejada, born in Santiago de los Caballeros in 1790 and died in Cuba in 1835, he was the introducer of lithography in Dominican Republic.

In 1823 Simon de Portes migrates, painter, miniaturist, who ends up in exile in Mexico.

In 1805 reached Santo Domingo the painter and engraver Jean Baptiste Hippolyte Garnerey, briefly putting his art.

In 1809 Teodoro Chasseriau was born in Samaná at very young age emigrate with his family. In 1832 Chasseriau enshrined as one of the great figures of nineteenth-century art. An Ingres' disciple , one of his paintings was selected from the Hundred Masterpieces from the Louvre Museum. He died in 1856.

Among the Dominican painters of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was the most renowned Francisco Velazquez.

Born in Santo Domingo and devoted to painting, was noted for his portraits. His fame was such that he was invited by the Emperor of Haiti, Henry (Christopher King) to do various jobs in his palace.

Between 1822 and 1844 in art emphasized Domingo Santo Domingo Echevarria. Born in the late eighteenth century, is considered the first writer and cartoonist. Without school, is remembered as a good faces, coming to paint images of saints. He died in 1849.

Other prominent painters of this period are Baltazar Morcelo, who in 1837 painted the church of Higuey, Juan Moscoso, and de Brye, possibly the last Frenchman, a prominent portrait painter, and Epifanio Billini, painter and photographer.

Around 1860 are set out in the capital on Swiss painter Shalchi who painted theater curtains of Santo Domingo, the painter from Madrid and Gregorio Ramil.

On 1 August 1860 opened the Academy of Santo Domingo Elementary School of Arts and Sciences, directed by J. M. Caraballo.

After the victory in the struggle against Spain in 1865, a nationalist movement emerged that extends to almost every aspect of Dominican life. Contempt against the Spanish created the exaltation of the Dominican emerging Indianism.

Birth as a Republic in 1844, flourishing arts and letters. In the painting stands Dominican Alejandro Bonilla (1820-1901), who produces the largest number of paintings on Dominicans themes , representing the Creole.

In 1868 Bonilla emigrated to Caracas, establishing an art school under the protection of Venezuelan President Falcon.

In 1874 Santo Domingo returns to set up a workshop in his home and dedicated to teaching painting classes. His extensive output includes pictorial themes alluding to national monuments disappeared, giving them also historical value.

In 1883 reached Santo Domingo on painter Juan Fernandez Corredor y Cruz, School of Madrid, later founding a kind of drawing and painting through the Friends of Teaching Society. For 1884 comes Cordiglia painter photographer, who opens a drawing course. That same year the school holds its first exhibition.

The arrival of Corredor coincides with the publication of the first Dominican illustrated magazine, the Scientific and Practical Knowledge in April 1883, founded by Dr. G. de la Fuente and José Joaquín Pérez, in which the artist works.

On February 27, 1885 Corredor place in the halls of the Society of the Friends of the Country an exhibition of works by his pupils, the most prominent being awarded by a jury, by painters S. D. Levy, Alejandro Bonilla and Francisco Aybar. Corredor in 1886 left the country and was replaced by his disciple Felipe de los Santos.

Other magazines recorded emerging rich: "El Lápiz" (The pencil), by the cartoonist J. C. Perez, "The Album", inspired by Cesar Nicolas Penson and photographs of our historic ruins taken by Julio Pou.

He subsequently published "La Cuna de Améerica" (The Cradle of America), in 1903, "Blanco y Negro" (Black and White) in 1908 and later, "Renacimiento" (Renaissance), "La Opinión" (The Opinion), "Sangre Nueva" (New Blood), "Bahoruco" and "Cosmopolita" (Cosmopolitan).

In 1890 he conducted the largest art exhibition in terms of number of exhibitors in the Hall's artistic Literary Society Friends of the Country, integrating all the movements that failed to develop in its own time: primitivism, classicism, romanticism, impressionism, according to the sensitivity of each artist.

By 1893 stands out in foreign lands Adriana Billini, daughter of Dominican artist Epifanio Billini. In 1907 he was professor of the School of Fine Arts in Havana, outlined in the National Exhibition.

One of the most remarkable painters of his day was Luis Desangles(1861-1940). Born in Santo Domingo, received his first lessons in painting from León Cordero.

He was Director of the Public Municipal Drawing School in 1890. He tought disciples such as Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta, Leopoldo Miguel Navarro, among others.

Banished by Ulises Heureaux, travels to Puerto Rico and later by the United States, where his oil paintings are celebrated. He returned to Santo Domingo in 1904 and was appointed Consul of the Republic in Santiago de Cuba, where he settled definitively until his death.

Paint customs in Santo Domingo appears with Luis Desangles, as well as the first impressionist touch. For passion and was a frequent portrait needs, especially the portraits of Presidents of the Republic. Also reflected in painting the ruins of national monuments.

Born in 1862 in the city of Santo Domingo Leopoldo Miguel Navarro. Civil Engineer, Professor of Mathematics at the Professional Institute, and Director of the Ecole Normale de Santo Domingo in 1893, installed in 1894 an Academy of Painting and Drawing. Between 1896 and 1905 he traveled to Europe to build up their knowledge of art and mathematics. Makes watercolor expression.

Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta (1870-1933), painter, violinist, sculptor, photographer, was a Corredor's student, prevails in his classicism, sometimes interrupted by romanticism.

In 1908 he founded with his government protection Academy of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, which he directed until his death. Apart from the Academy, his study was the seat of art of his time.

Arturo Grullon was born in 1869 in Santiago de los Caballeros, one of the most notable disciples Corredor. For their skills is sent to Paris to study painting in 1886. In France his work is exhibited at the Paris Motor Show 1890.

Manuel Maria Sanabia, another Corredor's disciple born in Santo Domingo and Juan Ramon Fiallo Cabral, Salomon Levy, Abelardo Piñeyro, pharmacist and musician, Juan Francisco Hernández, Emilio Bernal y Arquimedes de la Concha stand out as painters of the late nineteenth.

Other artist added is Ramon Frade, Puerto Rican, who replaced Jose. C. Perez, for drawing and engraving on the pen in 1891 and Manuel Pueyo, Spanish painter and musician.

In March 1901 the University Friends of the Country performed as part of a busy Floral Games art exhibit. By this time highlighting Arturo Grullon, Adriana Billini Desangles, Luis Julio Pou, Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta, Leopoldo M. Navarro, Carlos F. Ramirez, watercolorist and illustrator, Juan B. Gomez, painter Eliseo Roques, Ramon Mella, photographer and cartoonist, and Pedro M. Escoboza, draftsman and printmaker.

In addition to sculpture highlights Rodriguez Urdaneta, Angel Francisco González Perdomo y Lamarche, Carlos Ramírez Guerra, watercolorist, draftsman and portraitist.

In general, between 1844 and 1916 the schools, movements and tendencies in art manifested through the production of still lifes, landscapes, portraits and historical scenes, dominated by naturalism, neoclassicism and romanticism.

The educational work of Juan B. Santiago Gomez, began with the opening in the city of an Academy of Painting and Drawing in 1920, gives as his disciple Yoryi Morel.

Enrique García Godoy, also author of important works of art, so long and fruitful teaching, on which stands his nephew Dario Suró García Godoy, participates in 1907 at the Exhibition of that year. In his School of Painting in La Vega, actively encouraged his art.

Between 1916 and 1924 productions are geared towards realism, impressionism, art nouveau and manners.

By 1930 in Santo Domingo emerged Celeste Woss y Ricart, and Juan B. Santiago Gomez, standing out as artists and teachers. Woss y Ricart studying in the U.S. and Europe. Founded his Academy of Painting and Drawing, forming the foundation of the artists who later would form the National School of Fine Arts.

Octavio Jorge Morel Tavarez (Yoryi) presented in 1932 in Santo Domingo, noted for his paintings of the romantic years of manners, becomes Director of the Academy of Santiago and founded his own academy.

Jaime Antonio Gonzalez Colson was born in Puerto Plata in 1901. He studied in Madrid at the San Fernando Academy, having as teachers Cecilio Pla y Julio Romero de Torres.

In 1936 he received the award of honor from the American Prints contest in Mexico, and the first prize of the Sixth Biennial Dominican and first prize in the VII Biennale drawing.

During "Trujillo's Era" Dominican art is enriched by the contributions of artists that arrived to Santo Domingo after the European political situation, including Jose Vela Zanetti Spanish and Hebrew George Hausdorf, in 1939.

To these artists are added the return of Dominicans as Jaime Colson and Rafael Diaz Niese, art critic, as Pedro René Contin Aybar.

Between 1930 and 1939 the realism of manners, rationalist realism, impressionism and post impressionism highlighted in the productions of local artists.

In 1940 was created the Department of Fine Arts,born with the National School of Fine Arts. In 1942 he conducted the first National Visual Arts Biennial.

The artistic production of native and foreign authors is transformed with the mutual contributions, especially learning opportunities for nationals. George Hausdorf exposes in 1946 oil, tempera and etchings.

Vela Zanetti becomes prominent muralist. Other highlights include foreign Fernández Granell, who stated in the National Gallery of Fine Arts in 1945, when he visits the country, the painter Lee Mézquita Hispanic.

During the period 1940-1950 is dominated by flows of expressionism, surrealism and neo-realism. In the decade after it cubism, geometric and abstract expressionism, highlighted in the productions.

Besides George Hausdorf and Jose Vela Zanetti, other foreign artists living in the country and appointed professors in the School of Fine Arts were Jose Gausachs, Joseph Fulop, Antonio Prats Ventos and the sculptor and designer Manolo Pascual.

The contribution of these teachers results in the formation of prominent national artists such as Clara Ledesma, Gilberto Hernandez Ortega, Eligio Pichardo, Marianela Jimenez, Paul Giudicelli, Nidia Serra, Domingo Liz, Felix Disla Guillen, Mariano Eckert, Juan Plutarco Andujar, Guillermo Pérez, Dionisio Pichardo, including painters, sculptors and Mario Cruz and Antonio Gaspar Toribio.

In this group you have joined: Leopoldo Perez, Jose Rincon Mora, Candido Bido, Damaris Defillo, Hilario Denis, Ada Balcácer, Aquiles Azar, Soucy de Pellerano, Angel Haché, Ramon Oviedo, Jose Cesteros, Thimo Pimentel, José Rotellini, Leon Bosch and Elsa Nuñez, among others, who have evolved their own expressions.

Following these José Manuel Glass Mejia, Luis Martinez Richiez, Antonio Prats Ventós, Rhadamés Mejia, Julio Susana, Mario Gaspar Cruz, Domingo Liz, Anthony Toribio, among others.

In the middle of that decade, in 1964, is held the first Art Contest Leon Jimenes Enterprises in Santiago City.

In 1966 was founded in that city Friordano Group and its main members painters Daniel Henriquez, Danilo de los Santos (Danicel) and Orlando Menicucci.

Two years later was founded in Santo Domingo Project Group composed by Ada Balcácer, Domingo Liz, Mario Cruz and Fernando Peña, among others, open the road to contemporary art in the Dominican Republic.

During the period 1960-1970 predominate in the works of artists tendencies toward social realism, mural art, posters, collage, the use of elements such as waste materials.

In 1968 the University Action Pro Education and Culture (APEC) opened a School of Art. In 1971 the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) opened a Department of Arts and are open private academies.

Suspended since 1963 and resumed the XII National Biennial of Art in 1972.

In 1976 opened the Gallery of Modern Art (GAM), today the Museum of Modern Art (MAM). Born this year's Circle of artists, later formalized in 1977 as Dominican College of Art (CODAP).

During the decade 1970-1980 the productions of local artists feature an art of transition reflect predominance expressionism, surrealism, facilities, mobile, penetrable environments and performances.

In 1981,resumed the Art Contest Enterprises Leon Jimenes, suspended since 1972, leading to opening its ninth edition.

In 1985 the Dominican College of Art (CODAP) organized the First Latin American Symposium of Sculpture.

Predominate during the period 1980-1990 the major formats, multidisciplinary art, installations, mobile sculptures, reliefs and sculptures in ceramics, with trends toward surrealism, expressionism, abstraction and hyper-realism.

Since 1990 the National Visual Arts Biennial renamed National Biennial of Visual Arts, held during this year's version XVII. In 1992 are held the First Biennial Marginal and First Painting Biennial of Caribbean and Central America.

In 1993 the first calls were made to the National Plastic Arts Prize and the Maria Ugarte Award for young painters, the latter sponsored by the Hispanic Cultural Center and the Embassy of Spain. That same year was founded the School of Plastic Arts of the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU).

Over the last decade of the twentieth century productions national plastic artists are characterized by the presence of a multidisciplinary art, with the predominance of group projects, strengthening of the graphic design, figurative and abstract.

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