ARM - Maria Bolster Show
An artistic innovator, a renowned painter, muralist and teacher, Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871 – 1946) – frequently referred to as the father of Mexican Modern Art - left his beloved Mexico for Los Angeles in 1929. Though this relocation separated the artist from clientele and country, it gave his young daughter access to life-saving medical treatments. The story of her return to health, at the loss of the artist’s esthetic homeland, became the inspiration for Ramos Martinez’ most significant body of work.
These artworks, executed in California during the last sixteen years of his life, conjure a supremely charismatic Mexico; large-scale portraits radiant with the mysterious life force of the subject and landscapes articulated with a sun-drenched geometry. Collectively, these images function as an evocation of the artist’s feeling for his country and a kind of love letter to his only child, Maria Martinez Bolster (1928 – 2015).
From the beginning, Ramos Martinez was recognized as a significant talent. He won a full scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts (Academia de Bellas Artes) in Mexico City at the age of fourteen. Several years later, his work caught the eye of a visiting art aficionado, Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst the mother of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who subsequently funded the artist’s ongoing education in Paris. In Europe, Ramos Martinez studied the innovations of the Impressionist and Post-impressionist masters firsthand. By 1910, in less than a decade, he had won prizes and shown work in the same salons and galleries as Cezanne, Monet and Gauguin.
Despite these European successes, a yearning for country and a love of family compelled Ramos Martinez to return home to Mexico. Commissions were forthcoming. The star student, now a fully formed artist, became Director and chief mentor at the school where he had been mentored. His innovation of an “Aire Libre” (open air) approach to painting transformed the output of generations of Latin American artists including David Alfaro Siqueros, Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot and Rufino Tamayo, among others. Today artwork created by Alfredo Ramos Martinez is included in significant public and private collections internationally.
Louis Stern Fine Arts is the exclusive representative for the estate of Alfredo Ramos Martinez. In association with the Alfredo Ramos Martinez Research Project, the gallery is currently at work on the artist’s catalogue raisonné. The gallery’s authoritative 2009 publication Alfredo Ramos Martinez & Modernismo is available for purchase.