Baca Flor, Carlos (c. 1865–1941)

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Baca Flor, Carlos (c. 1865–1941)

Carlos Baca Flor (b. ca. 1865; d. 20 February 1941), Peruvian artist. Born in Islay, formerly Peruvian now Chilean territory, Baca Flor moved with his family to Santiago, Chile, in 1871. At age fifteen he entered the School of Fine Arts in Santiago, where he studied with Cosme San Martín and the Italian Giovanni Mochi. Awarded the Prix de Rome in 1887, he declined the prize rather than renounce his Peruvian citizenship. He moved to Lima shortly thereafter, where the government granted him a fellowship to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Three years later he went to Paris to study with Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens at the Julian Academy. He never returned to Peru.

For many years Baca Flor lived in extreme poverty, but his luck changed when he obtained first prize at the Salon des Artistes in 1907. Soon afterward, banker John Pierpont Morgan commissioned him to do his portrait. Subsequently, he obtained portrait commissions from major personalities in the financial world. He painted one hundred and fifty portraits, among them that of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII. In 1926 he was elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris.

Baca Flor died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, considering himself a Peruvian although he had spent only eight years in his native country. His impeccable technique, at times brilliant composition, and the amazing realism of his portraits are recognized even by those who perceive his academic style as anachronistic.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Juan E. Ríos, La pintura contemporánea en el Perú (1946), pp. 25-27.

Additional Bibliography

Jochamowitz, Alberto. Baca-Flor, hombre singular; su vida, su carácter, su arte. Lima, Peru: Imprenta Torres Aguirre, 1941.

                                          Marta Garsd