About the Master

Augusto Marín (1921-2011)

 

On 2021 Puerto Rico will commemorate the centennial of one of her most prolific cultural creators: Master artist Augusto Marín, one of the greatest painters of the 20th Century in the Americas. At mainstream level, the world has yet to know him.

 

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by the age of twelve he was awarded a scholarship to study painting with Alejandro Sánchez Felipe, a highly respected Spanish artist exiled in Puerto Rico after the Spanish Civil War, part of an immigration that gifted the Island with fine intellectuals, teachers and artists who favorably influenced our already vertiginous industrialization period. Such influence can be appreciated in Marín’s work of over sixty years, an inspiration of idealism, heritage, and the human quest for freedom.

 

While serving in the Army during World War II in the 1940’s, Marín created Polito, a comic strip published in the Island’s main newspaper at the time, El Mundo. Not political in any strict sense, the strip described the experiences and cultural disparities of the Puerto Rican soldier and his daily life in the American military, a conceptual endeavor of social significance then and of historical value to the newer generations.

 

After the war, Marín attended the Arts Students League of New York for advanced studies in painting, drawing and design under the tutelage of renowned artists such as Harry Stenberg, Ivan Olinsky, John Corbino and Reginald Marsh, and continued his studies at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, specializing in mural design. Further studies included stained glass techniques with the master Arnaldo Maas in San Juan and at the workshop of Henri Mesterom in Maastrich, Holland, plus a much later graduate course in lithography at the University of Notre Dame. 

 

Together with his relentless artistic work, Marín had a brief incursion in advertising and an academic career as professor of painting and design at the School of Fine Arts of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, and at the University of Puerto Rico’s Carolina campus, guiding the development of at least two generations of Puerto Rican artists.

 

Marín’s work has been presented in more than seventy expositions in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany, Monaco and the United States, and these have received international prizes and acclaim. His art is part of distinguished private collections and museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York; the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, the Museum of History, Anthropology and Art of the University of Puerto Rico, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Puerto Rican Arts and Sciences Association in San Juan; the Ponce Museum of Art; and the International Collection of Robert Kemm in Beverly Hills, California. He was awarded the 2004 National Prize of Culture by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

 

In his later years, Marín focused his work on sculpture, lithography and silkscreen projects in Pietra Santa, Paris and Mexico and continued forging his legacy by means of numerous graphic editions of his work, thus increasingly reaching the people of the Island he so treasured.

Augusto Marín passed away on April 15 of 2011, his heart anticipating his work finding and brightening its long-deserved place in the world.

Such is our promise for his Centennial.