Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Social) Realism: Guatamala

Antonio Coché Ixtamer (1968)

San Juan's first painter, Antonio Coché Mendoza, trained by Mariano González Chavajay, arose in 1985. Since then ten additional painters have appeared in San Juan. Outstanding among them is the first painter's cousin, Antonio Coché Ixtamer (b. 1968), a pupil of Pedro Rafael González Chavajay, who works as a bilingual instructor in San Juan's primary school. Pedro Rafael also teaches an art class one afternoon a week in San Juan for students in the third year of post-primary básico. Attending this art class ignited Ixtamer's interest in painting.

After studying with Pedro Rafael intermittently over the course of two years, Ixtamer began painting on his own, selling his canvases to galleries in Santiago Atitlán. They paid very little because they only wanted small quickly-produced pictures to sell to tourists. An American woman named Lianna Ward, who had started a women's weaving co-operative in San Juan, liked Ixtamer's paintings and showed his work to Jim Bell, an American who had a gallery in Antigua. Bell recognized Ixtamer's talent and began selling his paintings.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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