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Monday, April 28, 2014

Omar D'Leon


Tropicana
2007
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in.
location unknown
-Fair use-

Omar D’Leon Lacayo y Estrada (1929-), born in Nicaragua, is a well-known painter and poet. He infuses echoes of the frescoes in Pompeii and classical Grecian ideas of philosophy, community and beauty. He imprints European Impressionistic painting imported to his country by his mentor with magical realism qualities that are essentially Nicaraguan. His work is imbued with a mystical quality, one that knows abundance in paradise and the anguish of losing it, one that held the light of grace to find a way through fear and torture to be rewarded with pure vision and the ability to record it on canvas.

He studied nine years at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Nicaragua. His early inspiration were the frescos of Pompei, where he saw the use of cross-hatching and applied this technique to his love of the Impressionist school.

He founded a museum in Managua in 1970 named Museo-Galeria 904. The museum’s collection encompassed the arts of Nicaragua from pre-Hispanic to contemporary. In the massive earthquake of December 1972, much os the D’Leon’s museum and studio were destroyed and many of d'Leon's paintings were destroyed or looted. Several years later, after enduring beatings and death threats from the Sandinistas that took power in Nicaragua, he and his sister's family were forced to flee the country, and he moved to Camarillo, California. Although he had to leave behind nearly all of his paintings when he left Nicaragua, the resilient d'Leon forged on and created an impressive new body of work.

In 1982, one of his paintings was reproduced in the form of a UNICEF Stamp. His paintings are housed in many museums such as the Museum of Latin American Contemporary Art in Washington DC.