Francisco Zúñiga, "Madre e Hija Sentada", 1975, bronze, 47 ¼ x 55 ¼ x 33 ¾ inches

Francisco Zuniga: Sculpture & Drawings

Jack Rutberg Fine Arts
357 North La Brea
Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, CA – Jack Rutberg Fine Arts in Los Angeles - as a participating gallery in the region-wide Getty Foundation endeavor, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA - will present a formidable exhibition of the major 20th century Latin American artist, Francisco Zúñiga (b. Costa Rica 1912 - d. Mexico 1998). The exhibition, Francisco Zúñiga: Sculpture & Drawings, will open on January 20 with a preview reception from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. at the Rutberg gallery located at 357 North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, with the Consul General of Mexico Carlos Garcia de Alba in attendance. This exhibition will open in tandem with a separate exhibition, “Rico Lebrun in Mexico”, featuring the important American modernist artist. (See a separate press release for the Rico Lebrun exhibition.)

 

Francisco Zúñiga: Sculpture & Drawings brings together selected works on paper and an exceptional breadth of sculpture in bronze, wood and stone, which masterfully portray Zúñiga’s indigenous women as an elemental force. Drawing upon pre-Columbian and classical sources, they are often depicted as sensual, but always heroic. These sculptures and drawings of women - as matriarch or adolescent - have today become powerful iconic images, widely establishing Francisco Zúñiga as Mexico’s and Costa Rica’s greatest 20th Century sculptor, and according to one recent study, Mexico’s most internationally collected artist.  

 

The monumentality of Zúñiga’s works is exemplified by the large-scale sculpture Madre e Hija Sentada (Mother and Child Seated) which serves as a centerpiece of the exhibition. In his writing on this extraordinary bronze sculpture, art historian Carlos Echeverría cited: “Madre e Hija Sentada standing at an imposing height, is an iconic example of Zúñiga’s mature sculpture. The two figures rest with their backs to one another, their weary expressions belying the strength in their postures; their massive cloaked forms rise from the ground almost like the twin volcanoes of the valley of Mexico, primordial and mysterious.” Also included in this Zúñiga exhibition are two exceedingly rare wood sculptures and a recently re-discovered work in onyx, as well as other iconic bronze sculpture.   

 

Born in Costa Rica in 1912, Francisco Zúñiga moved to Mexico in 1936, where he resided for the rest of his life. Zúñiga's works are included in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Phoenix Museum of Art; the Museo de Arte Costarricense, Costa Rica; Museum of Modern Art, Mexico; Latin American Museum of Art, Buenos Aires and Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum, Antwerp, among many others. In 2016, The Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico acquired the monumental masterpiece Group of Four Standing Women and presented a tribute exhibition of an additional 11 works, which the museum cited as being the most significant addition to its collection in the past 20 years. Group of Four Standing Women was recently exhibited at the Dallas Museum in a major exhibition of Latin American art, following its exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.

 

Zúñiga's importance was early realized in Los Angeles and throughout California, where his reputation and legions of collectors - both private and with museums - have been formidable for decades. Monumental sculptures by Zúñiga can be found in the collections and sculpture gardens of important Southern California museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA Sculpture Gardens, University of Southern California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and San Diego Museum of Art. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Graphic Arts Council selected Zúñiga in 1976 for its annual commissioned print. That original lithograph, Familia Indigena I, proved its most successful commission in its history. In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared November 19 “Francisco Zúñiga Day”.

 

This Zúñiga exhibition illustrates how Los Angeles’ modern art history converges with the modern art history of Mexico. That history is further underscored by Jack Rutberg Fine Arts’ prior exhibitions presented in concert with PST: LA/LA, Artists of Mexico and Hans Burkhardt in Mexico.

                                 

Francisco Zúñiga: Sculpture & Drawings opens in tandem with a separate exhibition, Rico Lebrun in Mexico, with a reception from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. and extends through March 17 at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts located at 357 North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., and Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. For further information, phone: (323) 938-5222, or email jrutberg@jackrutbergfinearts.com.

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Mary Stevens Fish’s 1879 painting, “Yosemite,” will be on exhibit in “Something Revealed: California Women Artists Emerge, 1860-1960” at the Pasadena Museum of History Sept.  29-March 31.  (Photo courtesy of Maurine St.  Gaudens and Joseph Morsman).
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