Artist Painter, Myrna Báez
Myrna Báez, one of the most important Puerto Rican painters/printmakers of the last forty years, was born in August 18, 1931, in Santurce Puerto Rico. Marta Traba, an Argentinean art critic, in her book Polemic Proposal of the Art in Puerto Rico, describes Báez as “the most qualified person that I know in the visual arts in Puerto Rico.”. Her work is of utmost importance to track contemporary art evolution in the island.
After finishing a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Báez moved to Madrid, to study medicine but she completed her studies at the Real Academy of San Fernando to study painting. In 1957 she began participating with the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, in the Institute for Puerto Rican Culture with Lorenzo Homar, another outstanding figure in Puerto Rican art. At this time she also collaborated in the Printmaking Workshop of Pratt Institute of New York. Báez has been a printmaking professor at the Sacred Heart University of Puerto Rico, and in the School of Arts in Puerto Rico. Her numerous retrospectives include “Ten years in paintings and graphics by Myrna Báez” and others in the Museo del Barrio, New York. Her work has also been featured in expositions throughout Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. Her most recent exibit in the Art Museum of Puerto Rico (2001-02), “An Artist by Her Mirror”, was currated by Margarita Fernández Zavala. The Institute for Puerto Rican Culture awarded her a prize for her painting entitled El Muelle in 1963, and Ciclistas was honored by the Ateneo Puertorriqueño the same year. In the same date, the Museum of Modern Art of New York bought the lithography La Prensa for its permanent collection. In 1970, the artist was awarded for the print El juez, in the Pratt Graphic Center, and Juego de cartas, by the Ateneo Puertorriqueño. She was the Third Prize in Painting in the First International Biennial of Painting, held at the Modern Art Museum of Cuenca, Ecuador. One of her most outstanding honors was receiving the National Medal of Culture in 1997 for her contributions in art. In June 2001, the Sacred Heart University of Puerto Rico gave her a Honoris Causa Doctored Degree in Art, confirming Myrna Báez as an acclaimed artist.
Now Myrna Báez is a Resident Artist at the Sacred Heart University of Puerto Rico and works in her studio located in Hato Rey. Báez portrayed the contemporary Puerto Rico in all of its aspects. Her family, close acquaintance, and she have been a part of what Báez defines as an urban landscape, that with which she worships: the city and the countryside, in their bareness, nudity, and complexity. Her contributions to diverse fields of art are visible through her paintings in both oil and acrylic.
Báez has been very important for the arts education in Puerto Rico and for the advancement of future Puerto Rican artists. She has especially promoted the careers of many young Puerto Rican women artist by her affiliation to the Association of Women Artists.
Her works have traveled and been exposed throughout the world. Presently some of her pieces are in important collections including the Museum of Modern Art of New York, Museum of the University of Puerto Rico, National Museum of Modern Art of Baghdad, The Museum of El Barrio in New York, and other institutions in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Her works have inspired a number of Puerto Rican artists, and because of her constant battle to question and redefine the place of women in the art world, she has widened our understanding of all art.
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