Oswaldo Vigas (1923-2014) was one of South America’s most ambitious and independent modern artists. The Venezuelan artist drew on a broad mixture of sources and stylistic approaches for his art, mingling indigenous South American traditions with Western modernism into a distinct personal language. This exhibition is Vigas’ first solo museum exhibition in the United States and includes works spanning forty years. The paintings and drawings on view show how Vigas regularly transformed the look and style of his work while consistently focusing on spiritual and emotional issues, as well as his firm belief that art can connect people across time and distance.
Vigas was a native of Valencia, Venezuela. As a young man he attended medical school, graduating with a degree in Pediatrics. He ceased practicing medicine in 1952 to devote himself fully to making art. That year, he moved to Paris, where he immersed himself in the city’s stimulating post-war art scene. After twelve years there, he returned permanently to Venezuela, establishing a reputation as one of the continent’s pre-eminent artists, and exhibiting regularly in museums across Latin America and in Europe.
This exhibition is organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum and made possible by the Oswaldo Vigas Foundation.