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  • Olga Costa


    Art Brokerage: Olga Costa German/Mexican Artist: b. 1913-1993. Olga Costa (b. Leipzig, August 28, 1913 – Guanajuato, June 28, 1993) was a painter and cultural promoter who immigrated to Mexico from Germany when she was twelve. She began to study art at the Academy of San Carlos but left after only three months to help support her family. However, she met her husband, artist José Chávez Morado during this time. Her marriage to him involved her in Mexico’s cultural and intellectual scene and she began to develop her ability to paint on her own, with encouragement from her husband. She had numerous exhibitions of her work in Mexico, with her work also sent to be sold in the United States. She was also involved in the founding and development of various galleries, cultural societies and three museums in the state of Guanajuato. She received the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes among others for her work. Olga Costa was one of a number of prominent female artists in 20th century Mexico, along with María Izquierdo, Lola Cueto and Helen Escobedo although the field was dominated by men. Although she studied very briefly at the Academy of San Carlos, she began to paint in 1936 “as a game” she said with no intentions of doing it professionally. This began in while she followed her husband, José Chávez Morado to Xalapa, Veracruz to open a painting school and paint the halls of the teachers’ college there. Chávez Morado encouraged her to experiment although she was hesitant about it. Her major canvas works include Cabeza arcaica, La novia, Figuras en el trópico algo tiesas, Casa azul 3, Casa roja, Follajes azules, Pueblo minero de noche, Ladera and Niebla although her best known work is probably La vendadora de frutas from 1951. In addition to painting, she spent most of her life on various projects to promote the arts in Mexico. In 1941, she opened the Galería La Espiral along with her husband, Angelina Beloff, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma, Germán Cueto, Francisco Zúñiga and Feliciano Peña, which Costa directed. She became a member of the Socieded para el Impulso de las Artes Plásticas in 1948, and the following year she was a co founder of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana. Later in life, she and Chávez Morado worked on the creation of several museums in the state of Guanajuato. During her lifetime, she painted costumbrista subjects, still lifes, portraits and landscapes which are noted for their use of color. She has been classed as a colorista along with artists such as Rufino Tamayo and Pedro Coronel. Her first works were formal and rigid focusing on Mexican folklore with bright colors and marked by influence from Diego Rivera, along with geometric forms from Carlos Mérida and the use of fruit from Rufino Tamayo, classified as costumbrista, but also contain Expressionist type elements in the style of María Izquierdo. Listings wanted .

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