Claudio Bravo 1936-2011 | Chilean hyperrealist painter
Bravo was born in Valparaíso, Chile. In 1945, he joined the Colegio San Ignacio in Santiago, Chile and studied art in the studio of Miguel Venegas Cienfuentes in Santiago. In 1954, he had his first exhibition at "Salón 13" in Santiago at the age of 17. In 1955, he danced professionally with the Compañía de Ballet de Chile and worked for Teatro de Ensayo of the Universidad Católica de Chile. Later, Bravo established himself in Madrid in the 1960s as a society portraitist, gaining recognition for his astounding ability to create verisimilitude. His ability to depict complex objects and shapes is reminiscent of Velázquez. In 1968, Bravo received an invitation from President Marcos of the Philippines to come and paint him and his wife, Imelda Marcos as well as members of the high society. In 1970, Bravo had his first exhibition at the Staempfli Gallery in New York which received rave reviews from renowned New York Times art critic John Canaday. Years later, when Bravo's work reflected the hippie movement, Canaday would refer to Bravo's work as "cheap and vulgar".
Bravo moved to Tangier in 1972 where he purchased a 19th century three story mansion. He had many of the walls removed and the remaining walls were painted white to encourage the Mediterranean light so present in his paintings. Bravo has painted many prominent figures in society including dictator Franco of Spain, President Ferdinand Marcos and First Lady Imelda Marcos of the Philippines and Malcolm Forbes. Works by Bravo are included in the collections of El Museo del Barrio, New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; The Palmer Museum of Art, State College, Pennsylvania; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The artist died at his home in Taroudant, Morocco, on June 4, 2011, due to an epilepsy attack.