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Alfonso Arana


New York City ,USA

Early life:

Renowned fine artist Alfonso Arana was born in New York City. His father was Mexican and his mother Puerto Rican. When he was young, his family moved to Santa Isabel, PR. Were he was raised. Living there Alfonso made his first drawing and showed it to his mother who was originally from a noble family wich had members with artistic and political backgrounds. His father was a business man who did not approve of his artistic inclinations. This event was the start of a major rift between the young boy and his father.

Art student:

In 1940 at 13 years old, Alfonso moves to Mexico and starts his art studies at the Atelier of José Bardasano, who was a famous Spanish Painter. He continued his art education in New York City at the Manhattan Art School. From New York he crossed the ocean on to France. There he studied at the Julian Academy and at L’Ecole des Beaux -Arts in Paris until 1951. In the late 1950s he returned to Puerto Rico. He registered in the University of Puerto Rico were he obtained a Fine Arts BA. At that institution he became Professor where he teaches art courses. By that time, he stablished a Studio in Old San Juan were he formally began his professional art career. Finally he completed a post graduate degree at the American University in Washington,DC.

Fame and fortune:

In 1972 he moved back to Paris where he lived until his death in 2005. In the City of Light, he stablished himself as an Artist. In Paris his style matured into the one that characterized his later artistic period. Arana’ style can contain narrative aspects that can be consider surreal or/and impressionistic. His introspective figures entice mystical significance.

Arana explained: “My figures have the elements of life and light. That light that invades the body in the spiritual side of these beings. I like painting in that spiritual space. Each figure transcends life beyond reality. I feel the beings come from within me and then I, become part of their world.”

Many of the most powerful images of this period present figures painted in a classical figuration with absent skulls and delicate mannerisms. During this period of his career, Arana achieved fame and recognition. The paintings of this phase of his work,(witch continued until his later years of production) have been favored by art enthusiasts and command high prices in the art market.

Art career and trajectory:

Arana art became desirable and was acquired by principal Collectors and Museums and he was represented and promoted by important Art Galleries. 

He showed his work at the most important Art Galleries in Puerto Rico, in France and farther more abroad. 

Some of his important exhibitions were:The Unesco National Salon of Painting at the University of PR; Museum, Galerie Drouant Internacional, Paris; Art Museum of Ponce, PR; Punta del Este Museum, Uruguay; Cesarée  Museum, Israel; Galerie Lafayette, Paris; exposition Espace Miromesnil,Paris;Unesco Exposition in Paris-44 Peintres Portoricains; Salón de Palmares du XVIIIéme, Paris; Salón del Chateau de Blois, Paris; Galerie Lafayette,Paris;Saison de Paris a Tokio; Art and History Museum,San Juan;Banco Bilbao-Vizcaya,Ponce,PR.

Honor and Awards:

He was awarded a Gold Medal from the French Villa Mantes, Honor Distinction and Gold Medal at the French Artists Salon in Paris. In year 2003, Alfonso Arana was granted the National Honor Medal from the

French Government for his life achievements and contribution to Art and Culture.


René Castillo Ramos Copyright © 2015

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