JOSE MARIA VELASCO (1840-1912)
This bilingual exhibit is about José María Velasco, Mexico's most famous landscape painter. It includes information about landscape painting traditions in the Americas and discusses the similarity in the geography of what is now Mexico City and the Wasatch Front of Utah. It discusses the spiritual journey of the Aztecs to the Valle de México and that of the Mormons to Utah.
About José María Velasco
José María Velasco (1840-1912) is the grandfather of Mexican landscape paintings. He turned the geography and natural beauty of Mexico into source of national pride and identity. The son of shawl makers, Velasco showed talent early in his life. He attended the prestigious Academy of San Carlos, the art school where many of Mexico's most well-known artists studied. Most Mexican artists of the time who had financial means studied in Europe. Velasco did not. Though he was lauded in Paris in 1879 as a great landscape painter, he did not stay in Paris but returned to Mexico, where he painted "his own backyard," the Valley of Mexico, over and over, delighting in its natural beauty.
About the Exhibit
The similarity between the valley that is now Mexico City and the valley along Utah's Wasatch Front is remarkable. Both have been transformed from pristine former lakebeds surrounded by mountains into busy urban cities. Both are the destination of peoples whose spiritual beliefs designate the area as a gathering place. Both have mountainscapes with similar legends. Our exhibit includes seven bilingual educational panels discussing Velasco, landscape painting in the Americas, perspective, and similarities between these two valleys. It includes 20 framed high quality reproductions of Velasco's landscape paintings. It also includes a digital display with a looping presentation in English and In Spanish regarding Velasco's life and art.
Velasco's images raise questions of how we choose to transform our natural environment and how our environment, natural and built, affects our sense of self and of belonging. Viewers can be asked to explore their own connection with place and nature. They can engage in hands-on art projects creating artworks incorporating materials from nature, or paintings or photographs of landscapes.
Moab Museum, May, 2015
Fillmore Festival, Fillmore, Utah Sept. 4-6, 2014
Utah Cultural Celebration Center: May 8 - June 25, 2014
Utah Valley University, March 7-May 7, 2014
Landscape art/history Mexico:
About Velasco (Spanish) | Sobre Velasco
About Mexican landscape painting
Landscape art/art history, European emphasis:
Landscape art history/U.S. artists:
Landscape art history/World emphasis: