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Benigno Gómez


There’s a story in the book Honduras: 40 Pintores that tells about Benigno Gómez’s fondness as a child for making small sculptures of animals and birds. One day, according to the story, a teacher, making fun of a wooden dove that he had carved, broke it, saying, “Quit doing this rubbish because with it you won’t eat.” The teacher was very wrong.

Born in 1934 in Naranjito, Gómez always loved to create beautiful things. A neighbor recognized the boy’s talent and made arrangements for him to get art lessons. His formal training began at the age of sixteen, when he enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes (ENBA) in Tegucigalpa. The Honduran masters Miguel Ángel Ruiz Matute (b.1925) and Max Euceda (1891-1987) were among his teachers, and the curriculum was traditional. “We started painting with charcoal and drawing with pencil,” Gómez remembered, “and copied the models that they gave us.”

Gómez graduated from the ENBA in 1957 and in 1960 won a scholarship to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. Arriving still very attached to academic painting, he soon discovered a new world of artistic style and expression. He recalled being especially inspired by the work of Renato Guttusso, Caravaggio, and Van Gogh.

Gómez had his first show at the Honduran consulate in Rome. According to historian Dino Fanconi, his professors, while viewing the exhibition, exclaimed, “We have discovered a painter!”

He returned to Honduras in 1966 and continued to work on his own painting – Neo-realism full of rich color – while teaching at the ENBA in Tegucigalpa. By the 1970s, as noted by the art critic Dora Sánchez, he was clearly influenced by Picasso’s brand of Cubism.

He was also a great admirer of Pablo Zelaya Sierra (1896-1933), considered by many to be the father of modern painting in Honduras.

Throughout his career, the deeply religious Gómez explored Latino themes, peasant themes, bucolic themes, and especially Christian themes. He has been a Neo-realist, a Surrealist, and an Impressionist, always preferring to work with oils instead of acrylics, which, in his words, “don’t give me time because they dry too quickly.” But though his style has varied, his subjects have not. He has justifiably called the human figure the “backbone” of his work.

In 2017, in his eighties, Benigno Gómez was still working every day in his Tegucigalpa studio, producing beautiful paintings of angels, the Holy Trinity, his beloved doves (symbols of the Holy Spirit), and genre scenes of women doing laundry in the river.

Awards and Honors for Benigno Gómez

1971 - awarded the Primer Premio at the Feria Juniana, San Pedro Sula, Honduras

1976 - won Primer Lugar at the Segundo Festival Pictórico “Arturo López Rodezno”

1976 - awarded the Premio Nacional de Arte “Pablo Zelaya Sierra”

1977 - honored when the United Nations chose his painting Las Palomas to illustrate the commemorative UN stamp issued by the United States Postal Service (The stamp was so popular it was reissued in 1986.)

1994 - won second prize at the XIV Salón Hondureño de Arte del Instituo Hondureño de Cultura Interamericano

1995 - won the Corona de Oro “José Miguel Gómez”
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Rojas Ford Fine Art Gallery - Coral Gables, FL
Rojas-Ford Fine Art
3138 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-420-5413

Monday - Friday 10:30-6:30
Saturday 12:00-6:30


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suzanne@rojasford.com