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Carreño, Mario (1913–1999)

Carreño, Mario (1913–1999)

Mario Carreño (b. 24 June 1913; d. 20 December 1999), Cuban-born painter. Born in Havana, Carreño trained at the Academy of San Alejandro in Havana, the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, and the École des Arts Appliqués in Paris. During the 1920s he worked as a political cartoonist for Revista de Havana and Diario de la Marina, both in Cuba. In the 1930s Carreño lived in Spain, where he designed revolutionary posters (1932–1935). After meeting the Mexican muralists in 1936, he returned to Paris, where he met the surrealist Oscar Domínguez and Pablo Picasso (1937). His paintings from the late 1930s combined traditional European painting techniques with the influence of the school of Paris and classical Picasso.

At the outbreak of World War II Carreño fled first to Italy, then to New York City, returning to Cuba in 1941. Influenced by David Alfaro Siqueiros, he experimented with industrial paint, a medium he had tried in the late 1930s (Cane Cutters, 1943). In 1946 he was appointed professor of painting at the New York School for Social Research and in the late 1940s turned to a late cubist vocabulary with distinctively Afro-Cuban themes (Caribbean Enchantment, 1949). He moved to Chile in 1957 at the urging of his friend, poet Pablo Neruda. For a brief period he worked on an abstract geometric style. In the late 1950s Carreño began to paint surrealist petrified and fragmented human figures in volcanic landscapes.

In the 1960s he collaborated with Chilean architects in the design of three-dimensional murals. The most distinguished examples are a freestanding, double-faced wall designed with glazed bricks for the Central Plaza of the University of Concepción (1962); an exterior wall for the Saint Ignatius Loyola School in Santiago (1960); and a freestanding wall and pool monument designed for the United Nations Regional Building, also in Santiago (1963–1964). Carreñ work ranks among the most sought-after from Latin America in the international art market. In 1982 he won the National Prize for Art in Chile and was recognized for his great contributions in the country. He died in Chile in 1999, leaving behind his wife from a second marriage and two daughters.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


José Gómez Sicre, Carreño (1947).

Marta Traba et al., eds., Museum of Modern Art of Latin America: Selections from the Permanent Collection (1985), pp. 172-173.

Eva Cockroft, "The United States and Socially Concerned Latin American Art: 1920–1970," in Luis Cancel et al., The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920–1970 (1989), pp. 195-199.

Additional Bibliography

Ernesto, Saul. Artes Visuales 20 años 1970–1990. Santiago: Ministerio de Educación, 1991.

Pérez, Alberto. La soledad en dos pintores chilenos. Santiago: Editorial Fértil Provincia, 1992.

                                        Marta Garsd

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