Rodolfo Abularach

Guatemala, 1933


Rodolfo Abularach was born on January 7 in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1933. From 1954 to 1957 he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas in Guatemala City while researching folk art for the Dirección de Bellas Artes, but he was virtually self-taught and began as a draughtsman and painter of bullfighting scenes. In 1958 he travelled to New York on a Guatemalan government grant, prolonging his stay there with further grants, studying at the Arts Students League and Graphic Art Center and finally settling there permanently. He was influential in Guatemala until 1960, but because of his long residence abroad his work did not fit easily in the context of Central American art. Before leaving Guatemala he had painted landscapes and nudes in a naturalistic style, but he soon adopted a more modern idiom partly inspired by aboriginal Guatemalan subjects. After moving to New York, and especially from 1958 to 1961, his art underwent a profound transformation as he sought to bring together elements of abstract art and Surrealism and experimented with textures, for example in cross-hatched pen-and-ink drawings such as Fugitive from a Maya Lintel. Later he simplified his art and turned his attention to light as a substance emanating from within his works. In the 1980s he began to paint large landscapes characterized by a magical symbolism. Rodolfo Abularach is one of Latin America’s most distinguished artists. Abularach is best known for his works from the mid 1960’s that feature dramatic close-ups of the human eye. For some two decades he continued meticulously to explore the psychological and spiritual states of being inherent in the symbol of the “Eye”. This haunting work - often with titles alluding to ancient Greek mythology as well as literature – reveal a thoughtful, well-educated artist probing the mysteries of the psyche.

Artworks by Rodolfo Abularach