Today we want to talk to you about one of the most beloved painters of Buenos Aires, but not too well known outside of Argentina. We refer to Benito Quinquela Martín (1890 – 1977). A painter and muralist whose name and aesthetics are inseparably linked to the neighborhood of La Boca, since he lived there and painted the port countless times, as in this painting on wood that we show you: Afternoon work. In fact, he is often referred to as the painter of the docks, due to the number of port scenes he depicted.
Afternoon work by Quinquela Martín
This is a completely self-taught painter by training. He never received an academic training, and that is seen in many of his attitudes towards art. For example, the most obvious thing is that he did not apply the colors with a brush, but with the palette knife, originally made by himself with a spoon.
That also tells us about his origins, more humble impossible. He was abandoned shortly after birth, but a family of Italian origin, theChinchella, adopted him. Of course, when he was only 9 years old, he already started working in the family charcoal kiln. And from there he would go to work on the docks of La Boca.
However, in his youth, his fondness for drawing made him stand out and he even got to know and have the favor ofPío Collivadino, director of the Academyof Fine Arts, who often went to La Boca to paint some of his famous urban landscapes.
After that he gained confidence and technique, and soon began exhibiting his work in Buenos Aires, and later in Rio de Janeiro. He was gaining fame and prestige and decided to travel to EuropeandUnited States. But nostalgia got the best of him and he returned to La Boca, where he was quite a character until his death. He is well known for his paintings and his murals, but also for his cultural activism. In fact, he even founded The Order of the Screw, where only those who were a little crazy were welcome and because of his eccentricities it could be said that they had lost a screw.
The truth is thatQuinquela Martínhimself had something of that extravagant character, although his paintings present us with very authentic scenes, intended to value the hard work of sailors and longshoremen. But it is undeniable that he had a very peculiar character and the last example of this was painting his own coffin, since as he said he had spent his entire life surrounded by color, and he was not going to give that up when he left. died.