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Julio Zachrisson


Julio Zachrisson was born in Panama City in 1930. He began his artistic education with Juan Manuel Cedeño (1914-1997) at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura in Panama. In 1952, he traveled with fellow artist Gilberto Maldonado Thibault through Central America. In Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, they gathered new ideas for their paintings by observing the daily lives of the people.

In 1953, Zachrisson moved to Mexico and enrolled in La Esmeralda, one of the main art schools in the country, to study printmaking. At the time, this was the hub for Mexican Muralism. But the ideals of Mexican Muralism were coming under fire from younger artists who were in favor of new approaches. Zachrisson met some of those artists, including Pedro Coronel, José Luis Cuevas, and Alberto

Gironella. He also met engraver García Bustos, who invited him to the Taller Gráfica Popular. And he met a number of exiled Surrealist Spanish artists who were living in Mexico, including Remedios Varo.

The work Zachrisson did at the school – his first etchings and engravings – tended to depict urban scenes and the working class, projecting a sense of post-revolutionary life in Mexico. As art curator Gladys Turner Bosso noted, “[They] clearly show the influence of the fundamental themes of Mexican Muralism and its highly expressive images.”

In 1958, Zachrisson participated in the Primera Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado in Mexico City. The next year, the Mexican government commissioned him to paint a fresco titled Ciencia al servicio de la Agricultura.

He met artist Juan Soriano that year. Just back from Europe, Soriano gave Zachrisson his first glimpse of Goya’s Tauromaquia series. Inspired by Goya’s bullfighting prints, he decided that he had to travel to Spain to see the artist’s work in person.

In 1960, Zachrisson left for Europe after having his first solo show at the Universidad de Panamá. Before going to Spain, he went to Holland, Germany, and France. He also spent time in Perugia, Italy, where he studied printmaking and ceramics at the Accademia di Belle Arti “Pietro Vannucci.” In 1961, after seeing Goya’s work in the Museo del Prado, he settled in Madrid. He enrolled in the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando so he could work in the academy’s printmaking studio. In the 1960s, his themes became very dramatic. We get unsettling and tragic scenes involving bulls and bullfighting. His characters seem as much monster as human. Art historian Monica Kupfer commented that his engravings “show Zachrisson’s connections to Spanish art and Goya’s engravings, to the technical quality and the sense of imagination we associate with Mexican artist José Luis Cuevas, and to Panamanian traditions, social reality, and political problems.”

In 1968, Zachrisson showed his work at the Zegri Gallery in New York, a highlight of his career and evidence of his growing international recognition. In the 1970s, he began a series of engravings using the circus as a metaphor for life.

He also added painting to his repertoire. “In some paintings,” said Monica Kupfer, “like Cazanga, the parallel and curved forms recall molas, the works of overlay in fabric of contrasting tones created by the Kuna Indians of Panama.” Indeed, in Zachrisson’s paintings as well as his intaglio prints, we often find suggestions of home. We also see the influence of Picasso, Ernst, and the German Expressionists, especially Klee.

In the 1990s, though still dark and satirical, Zachrisson’s work became more geometric. Though he lived in Madrid for most of his life, Julio Zachrisson never forgot his native Panama. References to his home country can be found in his themes, his figures, and his techniques. In 2017, he was still living in Madrid, having spent more than sixty years making art. Unfortunately, the chemicals used in his etching process had severely weakened his eyesight and he was no longer able to work.

Awards and Honors for Julio Zachrisson

1964 - won the Premio Dirección General de Bellas Artes (General Directorate of Fine Arts Award) at the XIII Salón del Grabado, Madrid.

1967 - Won the Premio “Castro Gil” at the XIV Salón del Grabado in Madrid

1967 and 1971 - awarded the Premio Internazionale Biella per L'Incisione in Italy

1969 - won the Primer Premio de Dibujo at the Concursos Nacionales in Madrid, Spain

1975 - won the Primer Premio de Dibujo at the Concurso Soberanía at the Instituto Nacional de Cultura in Panama

1996 - awarded Spain's Premio Goya-Aragón*
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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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