Fernando De Szyszlo Valdelomar (born July 5, 1925 in Lima) is a Peruvian artist who is a key figure in advancing abstract art in Latin America since the mid-1950s, and one of the leading Abstract artists in Peru.
Szyszlo studied at the School of Fine Arts of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. At the age of 24 he traveled to Europe where he studied the works of the masters, particularly Rembrandt, Titian and Tintoretto, and absorbed the varied influences of cubism, surrealism, informalism, and abstraction. While in Paris he met Octavio Paz and André Breton and frequented the group of writers and intellectuals that met regularly at the Cafe Flore engaging in vigorous discussions on how they could participate in the international modern movement while preserving their Latin American cultural identity. Upon his return to Peru, Szyszlo became a major force for artistic renewal in his country breaking new ground by expressing a Peruvian subject matter in a non-representational style. He was married to a Peruvian poet Blanca Varela, with whom he has two children.
Fernando de Szyszlo is a parsimonious octogenarian but a gentleman. He’s not just an artist, but an intellectual at the forefront of Peruvian culture for the past 50 years, a keen observer of his country’s political and social life. At times, he has been critical of what has happened around him, at other times laudatory, but never indifferent.
Szyszlo has been painting for nearly 60 years, confronting the canvas on a daily basis. He tells me that he has kept some 40 pieces and that he is always sad to part with his works. He feels that they are never finished, a poignant source of dissatisfaction for an artist who has produced over 2,500 paintings, which are on display in museums or part of private collections all over the world.
He started out studying architecture, but explains, “To improve my drawing, I took a night course and then changed my career goals.” He traveled to Paris in the late 1940s and eventually had to face a difficult choice: to remain in a challenging but stimulating environment or to return to his native country. He decided to come back home to Peru, because “You can’t contribute to progress from a Parisian café.”
Lyricism of color enriched by rich textural effects and a masterly handling of light and shadow are hallmarks of Szyszlo's painting. Highly identified with the linking of ancient cultures to a modernist artistic language, Szyszlo's art reflects a broad culture that draws on many sources from philosophy and science to literature. His evocative allusions to rituals, myths, and the geography of sea and desert landscapes are often associated with pre-Columbian sacred sites. Since his first solo exhibit in Lima in 1947, Szyszlo has had over 100 individual exhibitions in museums and galleries in Latin America, Europe and the United States and has participated in the prestigious international biennials of São Paulo and Venice. His work is represented in important public and private collections throughout the world.
Getting out of the Labyrinth Ronda Nocturna
Dos Camino a Mendieta