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Araceli Gilbert Biography


Araceli Gilbert is the most important Ecuadorian painter from the XX century. Together with Manuel Rendón, she is responsible for the introduction of non figurative art into Ecuador.

Araceli was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador on December 6th 1913. She began her studies in 1936 at the School of Fine Arts in Santiago de Chile. She was student of Jorge Caballero and Hernán Gazmurri, well-known encouragers of the Chilean plastic rebellion that later transformed into the Montparnasse group. She then returns to Guayaquil in 1942 and studies under the direction of Professor Hans Michaelson. From him, she learns about European Expressionism and her work from this period shows a cautious Araceli, inclined towards figurative art. During this period she is also part of the intellectual elite from Guayaquil, together with her cousin, the important writer Enrique Gil Gilbert and his wife Alba Calderón. Together they have an active participation in the Society of Independent Writers and Artists.

In 1943 she is wins a triple prize: Painting, Sculpture and Art History Dissertation awarded by the School of Fine Arts in Guayaquil. Shortly after that, she settles in New York, where she studies at the Ozenfant Art School as a disciple of Amédée Ozenfant, one of the fathers of post-cubist purism and takes an important step towards the development of her own style.

In 1946, at the end of World War II, Araceli returns to Ecuador and moves to the capital city, Quito.


Paris 1953

Paris 1955

In 1950 she travels to Paris and contacts August Herbin, who in 1931 had created the Abstraction - Creation Group. With the guidance of Herbin, Araceli learns to combine the geometrical and abstract concepts subjecting them to aim mathematical rigor. She participates in the Spanish American Anti-biennial organized by Picasso, as well as several group shows such as the Salon de Réalités Nouvelles.


Stockholm 1956

In 1953 she takes a painting technology course with abstract artist Jean Dewasne.

In 1954 she presents a solo show at the Arnaud Gallery in Paris with an album of lithographs, including a prologue by León Dégand.

In 1955 she returns from Paris and marries the Swedish writer, photographer and explorer Rolf Blomberg.

In 1960 she wins the Second Prize at the IV October Salon in Guayaquil. The next year she wins the First Prize for painting at the Mariano Aguilera Salon in Quito. At this point Araceli consolidates her style, reaching its splendor. She presents several solo shows and participates in the important group shows of the country. She also represents Ecuador in the Biennial of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Biennial of La Havana in Cuba and Biennial of Coltéjer in Medellín, Colombia.


Araceli Gilbert and Rolf Blomberg, Stockholm 1956

In 1989 the Ecuadorian Government grants her the Cultural National Award Eugenio Espejo. She dies in Quito on February 17th, 1993.


Araceli with artist friends, 1982


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