Oswaldo Vigas in The Orchid Seller
Oswaldo Vigas in The Orchid Seller
  • Lorenzo Vigas during the production of The Orchid Seller

    Lorenzo Vigas during the production of The Orchid Seller

  • Oswaldo Vigas in The Orchid Seller

    Oswaldo Vigas in The Orchid Seller

  - Venezuelan Artist Oswaldo Vigas Subject of Documentary Film Made By Director Lorenzo Vigas-    

VENICE, ITALY – The world premiere of The Orchid Seller (El Vendedor de Orquídeas), a documentary film about Oswaldo Vigas, one of Latin America’s most influential artists, will take place at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on September 8 at 3pm at the Cinema Giardino. The Orchid Seller is directed by Vigas’ son Lorenzo, whose debut feature film Desde Alla (From Afar) won the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival and was the first Latin American film to win the Golden Lion Award.    


The Orchid Seller is a feature length documentary about artist Oswaldo Vigas (1923-2014) and his search for a misplaced painting.  As an octogenarian, Vigas and his wife Jeannine travel to Guacara, Venezuela where he was raised to find The Orchid Seller, a painting he made in 1945 that has been lost.  Vigas wants to include the painting in an exhibition about his early work and searches relentlessly for the missing work. During Vigas’ quest for the painting, he revisits his early artistic inspirations as well as the places and times in his life that defined him as a man and a creator. The film asks us to reflect on the passage of time, the importance of memories, and above all on the origin of the impulse to create. The Orchid Seller shows us the real person behind one of the most influential artists in Latin America.   


Son of artist Oswaldo Vigas, Lorenzo Vigas was born in Merida, Venezuela, in 1967. He studied molecular biology before moving to New York in 1995 and attended several film workshops at New York University. In 1998, he returned to Venezuela to direct the TV documentary series “Expedición”. Between 1999 and 2001, he directed several documentaries for the production company CINESA.  

His first feature, Desde Allá (From Afar) made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion Award, followed by official presentations at the Toronto Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival. Vigas’ narrative short Los Elefantes Nunca Olvidan (Elephants Never Forget) was presented in Cannes (Critics’ Week), Clermont-Ferrand and New Directors-New Films (New York). In July 2016, he was named to the jury for the main competition of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.   


Born in Valencia, Venezuela in 1923, Oswaldo Vigas died in Caracas on April 22, 2014 at the age of 90. Like Wilfredo Lam, Roberto Matta, and Rufino Tamayo, Vigas is hailed as a pioneer of Latin American art. He synthesized his Latin American roots with the most advanced pictorial currents of Modernism. Similar to Philip Guston, Vigas experimented with both figurative and abstract painting in his quest to find his own voice.  

“Oswaldo Vigas is one of the true inventors of Latin American art,” said poet and art critic Jean Clarence Lambert. “He contributed to keeping alive the natural cultural trends of South America, which are, as Vigas himself described, prelogical, magical, mythological and anti-rationalist."

Vigas combined his influences of pre-Hispanic art, “Venus” figurines, African statues, the paintings of Velazquez and Goya with the work of the Abstract Expressionists and Neo Expressionist artists such as Jackson Pollock and George Baselitz.  

By the 1950s and 1960s, he was recognized as an important, emerging talent associated with the post-war resurgence of figuration. After a move to Paris, he started to paint abstractly and his personal, visual vocabulary started to incorporate constructivism and geometry. Vigas’s paintings from this period, still influenced by pre-history and mythology, ooze with thick paint and evoke the art made by the CoBrA artists, distinguished by immediacy of thought without restrictions or pre-established reasoning. In 1964, Vigas left Paris and returned to Venezuela where he lived for the rest of his life.  

From the 1970s on, Vigas continued to paint and began to experiment with sculpture, tapestries, engravings and ceramics. Vigas continued to meld his abstraction and figuration using figures from his personal mythology including demons, beasts, birds, women, and witches.  

Vigas’s works continue to be exhibited internationally. Oswaldo Vigas. Anthological 1943-2013, a traveling exhibition of paintings and sculpture, was recently on view at MAC in São Paulo, Brazil.  Prior to MAC, the exhibition was on view at MAC Lima, MNBA Santiago and MAMBO Bogotá. In the summer of 2018, the exhibition will travel to the Lowe Museum in Miami.  

Film stills and images of Vigas’s paintings available upon request.

Twitter: @oswaldovigas

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