Emilio Sánchez: Light, Line and Shadow

Emilio Sánchez’ prolific career reflects a fascinating life and a unique aesthetic vision. Today, the Museo de Arte de Ponce owns the largest collection of Sánchez’ work in the world, thanks to a generous donation of over four hundred pieces made in 2010 by the foundation that bears the artist’s name. The Museo de Arte de Ponce is the ideal place to tell Sánchez’ story and show his works not just because of the profound connection the artist forged with Puerto Rico in his visits to the island, but also because of the context provided by the museum’s important collection of Caribbean art, including more than 2,000 works on paper.

Emilio Sánchez was born in Camagüey, Cuba, in 1921. His formal art education began at the Art Students League in New York City in 1944, when he moved to that city, where he lived until his death in 1999. In the 1960s, his works began to become more and more abstract, and Sánchez began to develop his very well-known paintings of houses and other architectural subjects.

In this exhibition, we invite viewers to take a journey from 1957, with Sánchez’ early works, down to the 1990s, with works that emerged out of trips to Morocco and around the Caribbean and during his long life in New York. Here, viewers can witness the transition from the naturalism of the artist’s landscapes in pencil to the near-abstraction of his lithographs and paintings and can also feel his passion for portraying the effects of light and shadows on architectural structures. In the last gallery, in recognition of the coherence of Sánchez’ works within the museum’s holdings, other works from our collection engage them in a welcoming dialogue.

This selection testifies to Sánchez’ importance in the history of Hispanic art in the United States, presenting a survey of his career and paying homage both to the artist and to the splendor of Caribbean light.