Soriano, Juan (1920–2006)

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Soriano, Juan (1920–2006)

Juan Soriano (b. 18 August 1920; d. February 2006), Mexican painter and sculptor. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, he studied with Roberto Montenegro and Jesús (Chucho) Reyes Ferreira. In 1934, Soriano participated in the first one-person show of his paintings in the Guadalajara Museum. He left Guadalajara for Mexico City in 1935 and became affiliated with the Primary School of Art, where he later taught, and the Group of Revolutionary Writers and Artists (LEAR). In the 1950s, Soriano was at the forefront of the Mexican avant-garde movement. He lived for several periods in Rome: 1951–1952, 1956, and 1970–1974. Beginning in 1975 he lived in both Paris and Mexico City.

While Soriano has, throughout his career, associated with all of the great Latin American artists of his time, he has never been identified as a member of a particular group or school. His lyrical and idiosyncratic style does not lend itself easily to classification. He possesses a distinct quality of "Mexican-ness," which is graphically reflected in his works of the 1940s. Since the 1950s his work has reflected a more international scope. With Rufino Tamayo, Soriano has had a major impact on the internationalization of Mexican art, and his own work has been exhibited internationally since the 1970s. In 1991, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City presented a major retrospective exhibition of his work. In 1994, he was commissioned to create the sculpture centerpiece for Mexico City's Plaza Loreto. That same year, a retrospective of his photographs traveled throughout the United States, with stops in Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. In 1997, the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid mounted a major retrospective of his work. In 2000, in honor of his eightieth birthday, he created ten sculptures for the Plaza de la Constitución in Mexico City. In 2004, the French government awarded him membership in the Legion of Honor. He was eighty-five years old when he died in February 2006 in Mexico City.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Billeter, Erika, ed. Images of Mexico (1988).

Fernández, Justino, and Diego de Mesa. Juan Soriano. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1976.

Fuentes, Carlos, and Teresa Del Conde. Juan Soriano y su obra (1984).

González-Esteva, Orlando, Juan Soriano, and Pierre Schnieder. Enigma, Old Friend: The Drawings of Juan Soriano. Madrid: Ave de Paraíso Ediciones, 2000.

Paz, Octavio, and Edward J. Sullivan. Juan Soriano: Retratos y esculturas (1991).

Poniatowska, Elena. Juan Soriano, niño de mil años. México: Plaza Janes, 1998.

                                     Clayton Kirking