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  • Francisco Oller

    Puerto Rico

    Art Brokerage: Francisco Manuel Oller Cestero Puerto Rican Artist: b. 1833-1917. Francisco Manuel Oller Cestero (June 17, 1833 - May 17, 1917) was a Puerto Rican Visual artist. Oller is considered to be the only Latin American painter to have played a role in the development of Impressionism. Oller was born in Bayaman, Puerto Rico, the third of four children of Cayetano Juan Oller y Fromesta and Maraa del Carmen Cestero Davila. When he was eleven he began to study art under the tutelage of Juan Cleto Noa, a painter who had an art academy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, Oller demonstrated that he had an enormous talent in art and in 1848, General Juan Prim, Governor of Puerto Rico, offered Oller the opportunity to continue his studies in Rome. However, the offer was not accepted as Oller's mother felt that he was too young to travel aboard by himself. When Oller was eighteen, he moved to Madrid, Spain, where he studied painting at the Royal Academy of San Fernando, under the tutelage of Don Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, director of the Prado Museum. In 1858, he moved to Paris, France where he studied under Thomas Couture. Later he enrolled to study art in the Louvre under the instruction of Gustave Courbet. During his free time, Oller, who had a baritone type of singing voice, worked and participated in local Italian operas. He frequently visited cafes where he met with fellow artists. He also became a friends of fellow Puerto Ricans Ramen Emeterio Betances and Salvador Carbonell, who were expatriates in France because of their political beliefs. In 1859, Oller exhibited some of his artistic works next to those of Bazille, Renoir, Monet, and Sisley. By 1865, Oller was known as the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic Impressionist artist. In 1868, he founded the Free Academy of Art of Puerto Rico. In 1884 he founded an art school for young women which was later to be known as the "Universidad Nacional". In 1871, Spain honored Oller by naming him a member of the "Caballeros de la Orden de Carlos III" (which translates to "Knighthood of the Order of Carlos III"), and a year later he became the official painter of the Royal Court of Amadeo I. Oller developed an interest in bringing out the reality of Puerto Rico's landscape, its people, and culture through his works of art. Oller's paintings can be found in museums worldwide, including the Louvre in France. Francisco Oller died on May 17, 1917 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The town of Cataeo in Puerto Rico, named a high school after him and the City of New York renamed P.S.61 in the Bronx to P.S. Francisco Oller. There is also a Francisco Oller Library in the Escuela de Artes Plasticas (School of Plastic Arts) in San Juan. The Francisco Oller Museum where many artists, such as Tom's Batista, exhibit their work is located in the City of Bayamen. In Buffalo, New York there is a Francisco Oller and Diego Rivera Museum of Art where Manuel Rivera-Ortiz and other important artists have exhibited their work. Listings wanted.

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