Juan Soriano

Guadalajara, Jalisco, 1920 - Mexico City, 2006

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Juan Soriano was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1920. At the age of fourteen he participated in his first group exhibition while participating in the studio of the artist Francisco Rodríguez. Lola Álvarez Bravo, José Chávez Morado and María Izquierdo arrived at the exhibition, and there met Juan Soriano. They asked him who had painted certain paintings in the exhibition, Juan replied that he had painted them. At that time, they convinced him to go to Mexico City to improve his technique.

In 1935, Juan Soriano settled in Mexico City to study visual arts, motivated by his talent and the incentive of the company of his sister Martha. His mentors were great exponents of Mexican art, such as Emilio Amero and Santos Balmori. At the invitation of Santos Balmori, Juan Soriano joined the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists (Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios - LEAR) in which he remained only a couple of years. However, from that point on, he related to well-known personalities in the cultural sphere, which allowed him to broaden his intellectual and visual horizons. Some of those friends were Alfonso Reyes, Juan Rulfo, Dolores del Río, María Félix, Octavio Paz, Rufino Tamayo, Guadalupe Marín, Xavier Villaurrutia, Elena Garro, Lola Álvarez Bravo, María Asúnsolo, Leonora Carrington, Carlos Pellicer, María Zambrano, Ignacio Retes, Salvador Novo, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Mérida, and Antonio M. Ruiz, El Corcito, among others.

At the beginning of the fifties, he traveled to Europe, there, as his work matured, he broadened his circle of international friends, which contributed to consolidate his artistic style.

From 1952 to 1956, he briefly returned to Mexico to resume his ties with Mexican intellectuals and collaborated with Octavio Paz, Juan José Arreola, Héctor Mendoza, and Leonora Carrington within the experimental theater group Poesía en Voz Alta, which had 8 programs in the second half of the 1950s and early 1960s. He designed the scenery and costumes for several of the productions such as the sixth program: Las criadas (1947) by Jean Gennet, which was presented at Teatro Fábregas in 1963.

From 1956 to 1957, he settled in Rome, Italy, and later, starting in 1974, he changed his residence to Paris, which he would eventually visit regularly, after settling again in Mexico City. There he met and befriended Antonio Saura, Julio Cortázar and Milan Kundera.

His work is distinguished by having developed its own style, based on lyricism and a constant search, derived from his restless personality. He experimented with various materials, genres, and styles; even venturing into abstractionism and the creation of costumes and scenography for theater.

As an anecdote, he remembers that when he stopped having another surface to paint, he painted on the doors of his house, which he later sold.

In recognition of his career, he received various awards such as the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in the area of Fine Arts from the government of Mexico in 1987, the Gold Medal from the Palace of Fine Arts of Mexico, the Decoration of the Legion of Honor , in the Official Degree of France, the Honorable Mention at the Cagnes-sur-Mer International Painting Festival in France, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Velázquez Prize for Visual Arts of Spain. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Colima.

Juan Soriano died on February 10, 2006 at the age of 85 in Mexico City.




1941 Galería de Arte de la Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico City

1947 Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City

1951 Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City

1953 Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City

1955 Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City

1955 Galería Antonio Souza, Mexico City

1956 Galería Schneider, Roma

1956 Galería de la Plástica Mexicana, Mexico City

1958 Galería Ruthermore, San Francisco, California

1959 25 Aniversario de su queahacer pictórico, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

1962 Lupe Marin, Galería Misrachi, Mexico City

1966 Escultura, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

1970 Pinturas 1942-1962, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

1976 Pinturas 1950-1976, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

1978 Retrospectiva, Galería Nacional de Hungría

1979 "60 cuadros recientes", Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

1979 Retrospectiva, Museo du Mans, Francia

1980 Retrospectiva, Museo de Monterrey, Nuevo León

1984 Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Jalisco

1985 Homenaje a 50 años de pintura, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

1987 Conjunto Cultural Ollin Yoliztli, Mexico City

1987 Retrospectiva, Museo de Luxemburgo, Paris

1990 Homenaje por sus 70 años de vida, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

1990 Homenaje por sus 70 años de vida, Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Jalisco

1993 Esculturas, Instituto Cultural de México, San Antonio, Texas

1997 Gran retrospectiva de su obra, 1937-1997, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, España

1999 Exposición retrospectiva, Galería de la Rectoría General de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

2000 Juan Soriano, La creación como libertad, Homenaje Nacional en su 80 Aniversario, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City

2000 Juan Soriano, La creación como libertad, Homenaje Nacional en su 80 Aniversario, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Nuevo León

2006 Juan Soriano, Santo y Seña, Museo Soumaya, Ciudad de México