SORIANO JUAN

GUADALAJARA MEXICO [1920 - 2006]

Juan Soriano was a Mexican artist known for his paintings, sculptures and theater work. He was a child prodigy whose career began early as did his fame with various writers authoring works about him. He exhibited in the United States and Europe as well as major venues in Mexico such as the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. His monumental sculptures can be found in various parts of Mexico and in Europe as well. Recognitions of his work include Mexico’s National Art Prize, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and membership in France’s Legion of Honour.

Classified as part of the second wave of the Mexican muralism movement, Soriano’s work include painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic works, illustrations, tapestries and set and costume design for works such as those by Eugène Ionesco, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Quevedo, Juan Ibáñez and others. His work was highly prized by various writers including Octavio Paz, Carlos Pellicer and Elena Ponatowska, with art critic Luis Cardoza y Aragón quoted as saying he was “ a poet, profound painter of visual parables.” Soriano did not believe that art should be political or solemn and Jesús Reyes Ferreira was an early influence on his work. His painting styled did change almost abruptly in the mid 1950s, marked by works such as La Carrera de bicicletas, Apolo y las muas and Peces luminosos, along with a portrait of María Zambrano, showing probably influence from painter Roberto Matta . In the 1960s, he experimented briefly with abstract painting. He was a noted portrait painter with a style that Teresa del Conde called “always legible and at the same time strangely problematic.” Much of his very early work was portraits either by choice or by commission and similar to that of Julio Castellanos and Federico Cantú . One notable series of portraits were those of model and novelist Lupe Marín in the 1960s. Soriano stated that he did not believe that painted was an exact reflection of time or the artists, but rather a “form of intuition that goes beyond conscious life.”

From 1951 to 1953 he was in Rome where he worked on ceramics with Chileans Piero and Andrea Cacella and in the 1960s began to create works in bronze as well.

His graphic work is lessor known but he began creating them in 1944 and continued until 2001. In 1975, he received a commission to do graphic work at the Bramsen et Colt workshop in Paris, which caused him to divide his time between this city and Mexico City. One notable series are interpretations of works by Juan Rulfo.

In 2003, he worked on tapestry design with a theme of death for the Gobelinos Workshop in Guadalajara.