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MEXICO [1897-1957]

Alfonso Michel was a Mexican painter, contemporary with the Mexican muralism movement, but whose artistry made him a forerunner to the Generación de la Ruptura that followed.


When Michel returned to Mexico from Europe in 1930, he began his art career, painting a mural at the Salón de Artes Plásticas at the Universidad de Guadalajara in 1932. However, shortly after to work as an extra in a film then and returned to his family’s hacienda in Colima. In 1936 he met Inés Amor, who encouraged him to have a more formal attitude towards his profession. In 1942, he returned to his vocation, moving to Mexico City to paint. He held his first individual show shortly thereafter at the age of 45, with the Galería de Arte Mexicano. He also appeared at an important collective show called Mexican Painting at the Knoedler Gallery in New York in 1946. His most active period as an artist was from this time until his death in 1957; however, the interruption of his career and his health kept his production down to only about 100 pieces.

Despite this, Michel is the most important artist from the state of Colima, according to the University of Colima . He was an early member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana. Long after his death, the Museo de Arte Moderno held a retrospective and tribute to the artist in 1991, assembling the largest collection of his works for a showing. The University of Colima established a pinacotheca named after the artist called the Pinacoteca Universitaria Alfonso Michel, located in the center of the Colima, Colima city of Colima in a complex of former mansions. It was established in 1996 and has a collection of over 1,000 works by artists such as Rafael Coronel, Carlos Mérida, José Luis Cuevas, Sofía Bassi, Alberto Gironella, Federico Cantú, Marcos Huerta and Juan Manuel de la Rosa along with other Colima artists such as Gabriel de la Mora, Rafael Mesina, Gil Garea, Jorge Chávez Carrilo and Gabriel Portillo del Toro. His home state established the Alfonso Michel Cultural Festival which takes place in October in various locations in the state, particularly the city of Colima, Armería, Coquimatlán and Manzanillo . Guadalajara holds a biennial named after the painter as well, the Bienal de Pintura de Occidente Alfonso Michel at the former monastery of Del Carmen

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