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Mateo Manaure. Photo: Douglas Monroy

Mateo Manaure


Anny Bello

On March 19, 2018, Mateo Manaure died in Caracas at the age of 91. Born in Uracoa municipality of the state of Monagas on October 18, 1926, Manaure was one of the most important Venezuelan artists working in the field of geometric abstraction, with an artistic career marked by his participation in major events of the history of Venezuelan art.

His education at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas de Caracas, between 1941 and 1946, would guide actions that, along with a group of artists, eventually resulted in a renovated vision of local artistic education, through the incorporation of trending artistic currents. A great part of his influences at the time came from his 1947 visit to Paris, where he entered into contact with the Parisian art scene. Upon his return to Venezuela in 1948, he became part of the Taller Libre de Arte, which emerged as an alternative and nonconformist space that questioned the official education of the time. In 1947, he returned to Paris in the company of other Venezuelan artists and participated in the creation of Los Disidentes, a group that advocated the incorporation of the new vanguards in Venezuelan art and of Geometric Abstraction in particular.

In 1952, Manaure and Carlos González-Bogen created the Galería Cuatro Muros in Caracas, where he organized the first ever international exhibition of abstract art in the city. Then, in 1953, he became part of the Fundación of the Grupo Sardio and was invited by architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva to participate in the Art integration project at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, to which he donated a score of his works. Manaure's contribution to the project consisted of creating pieces that established a dialog with the architecture, not only within the university campus but also in other public spaces.

During his development period as an artist, his style was highly influenced by expressionism. But by the 1950s he had already adopted geometric abstraction, and continued renovating his visual language, during the 1960s, with the incorporation of lyrical abstraction, figuration, indigenous themes, and, later on, through the use of audiovisual formats. Another of his contributions was in the field of graphic design in Venezuela. He taught art during the 1970s and in 1984 was named president of the Asociación Venezolana de Artistas Plásticos [Venezuelan Association of Visual Artists]. He received multiple recognitions at the Annual Official Salon of Venezuelan Art (1943, 1947, 1950, 1962, y 1963), at the Arturo Michelena Salon (1945), and at the Annual Marcos Castillo Painting Salon. He was also awarded the Armando Reverón Award granted by the Asociación Venezolana de Artistas Plásticos (1994).

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Mateo Manaure was created in 2009 in Maturín, in the Monagas State, in recognition of Mateo Manaure's contributions. In 2012, he created the mural titled Uracoa on Avenida Libertador, a major artery in Caracas. His work is part of important national collections like those at the Galería de Arte Nacional de Caracas (GAN), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas (MACC), and the Museo de Arte Moderno Juan Astorga Anta (MAMJA), among others. His work has also been reviewed in catalogs published by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).



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