Spaniards Cast Admiring Eyes on Art of Alfredo Arreguín

Alfredo Arrequin 2014 exhibit in Spain
Visitors photographing Alfredo Arreguín's painting of Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata.

Northwesterners have long appreciated the work of Alfredo Arreguín, celebrated artist of the Americas, native of Mexico, long-time Seattle resident, and alumnus of the UW fine arts program. This past year, an exhibit curated by AES chair Lauro Flores traveled to three institutions in Spain, putting his complex and vibrant paintings on view for new audiences.  

Diseños y Naturaleza / Sueños y Naturaleza (Designs and Nature, Dreams and Nature) ranged from Arreguín’s mesmerizing flora and fauna series inspired by Mexican jungles and Northwest landscapes, to iconic portraits of prominent individuals such as Frida Kahlo and César Chávez, Madonna paintings, and mandala paintings reinterpreting both indigenous American and Asian design patterns.

The first showing in July and August, in León at the Palacio del Conde Luna, home of the UW León Center, drew 1,100 visitors in the first week, a record for the venue. Co-sponsorship by the Division of Spanish & Portugese Studies and the efforts of Professor Tony Geist contributed to the success. Free public educational programs included “Discovering Arreguín,” a children’s workshop; a lecture by Professor Flores titled “Arreguín’s Eyes”; and “Exploring Frida,” a series of Saturday dialogues based on the work of Frida Kahlo. The show also drew enthusiastic crowds at its next venues, the Museo de América in Madrid during the fall, and finally the Museo Provincial de Cádiz in southern Spain, where it closed on February 15.

Over his long and celebrated career, Arreguín has won top honors at an international painting festival in France and from the government of Mexico. Early in his career he received a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship and in 1988 won a competition to design the poster for Washington State’s centennial celebration. Two of his paintings are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Here on the UW campus, we can admire several paintings displayed in the corridors of UW Medical Center and Surgery Pavilion. His art also forms the background of the distinctive AES website masthead and inspired the name for the new email newsletter.

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A brief video by the Museo de América gives a glimpse of the exhibit with comments by Arreguín.


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