Armando Morales was born in Granada, Nicaragua on January 15,
1927, the youngest of six children of a family deeply rooted
in religion. Two years later, the family moved to Managua, the
Capital, where there were greater opportunities for his father
to expand his hardware business.
Since Early childhood Armando showed a great interest in art,
together with a fascination with the tools of a painter. He
recalls that at the age of six or seven, he searched in vain for a box
of oil paints which his sister had used with a spatula to decorate
handkerchiefs and coasters. He remembers well that the brand was
Pelikan, but his persistent searching only aroused his mothers
annoyance and the box was never found.
Morales’ skill for drawing did not go unnoticed by his
teachers. One of them in particular, who taught arithmetic,
grammar and painting, frequently praised his paintings while turning a
blind eye to his laziness in other subjects. By this time,
painting ceased to be only a school activity: He also painted at home
on his return from school. Around 1938, he painted realistically some
imaginary landscapes with Morales regards as the true beginning of his
The School of Fine Arts of Managua had a rigorous academic
curriculum. The first year was dedicated to drawing with charcoal,
and later with crayon, inanimate models of wood and plaster,
as well as all kinds of cloth. Perspective, history of art and
anatomy was taught during the second year and, while still working
with crayon and charcoal, live models were introduced. It was
not until the third year that Morales would fulfill his childhood
dreams of painting in oils.
After his father died in 1944, a year before he finished his
baccalaureate, Morales started working in the family business
to with his elder brother Carlos to support the family. He managed
to paint on Saturdays and Sundays and sometimes only at night,
and while he occasionally used his lunch time for drawing, his
limited free time was often further reduced by the social life
of an eighteen year old.
In 1956, he participated in the Central American Painting
Contest 15 de Septiembre held in Guatemala and
won first prize with his painting Spook-Tree. This painting
was later bought buy the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In
1957, the exhibition “Six Nicaraguan Artists” was
inaugurated in Washington. Morales Received excellent reviews
and sold all the paintings with which he had participated.
On October 15, 1964, Morales Married rosemary Tessier, who
had recently returned to New York as secretary to actors Hume
Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Shortly afterwards he received another
international award: the “J.L. Hudson & Co.”
prize at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. At the end
of the year, the newly married couple traveled to Spain and
settled in Cadiz.
In 1966 he won the “Industrial Tandil” Prize at
the III American Biennial in Cordoba Argentina. In October of
that year, Morales Returned to New York to Live in A studio
apartment on the west side. His son Juan Sebastian was born
on December 9.
In 1970 he painted lush and sensual fruits, heavy and voluptuous
apple and pears that evoked the softness of human skin, from
which there was the obvious transition to the painting of nudes.
In his 1971 Exhibition at the Galeria Bonino in New York, he
showed a series of stunning nudes; the fine detail of every
muscle, every inch of skin revealing an unsurpassed sensuality.
Morales returned to Central America in 1976, intending to
live in his own country, but political turbulence obliged him
to move to Costa Rica. In 1977, he returned to the work of lithographs,
having made several editions in New York and Berlin. He produced
a series in black & white for Herbert Kassner of Lithographic
Editions at the Kryon Editions Workshop Mexico City.
In 1982, Morales Traveled to Nicaragua where the Sandinista
government awarded him the order of Ruben Dario. He took advantage
of the trip to visit the tropical jungle of the Atlantic coast
and part of Bluefields. That same year, he moved to Paris and
made a brief trip to Morocco, visiting Marrakech and Agadir.
The Nicaraguan government named him an Alternative Delegate
In 1993, he completed a portfolio of lithographs entitled
"The Saga of Sandino" at the workshop of Artegrafias Limitadas,
S.A. in Mexico City. Sandino was a Nicaraguan national hero
whom Morales remembered seeing in Managua during his childhood.
While in Mexico City, he also finished a portrait of Gabriel
Garcia Marquez. A year later, the lithographs were exhibited
at the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City and at the Institute
of Graphic Arts in Oaxaca, where Morales also Held a conference
on the occasion of the exhibition. He then went to Guadalajara
for the inauguration of the Julio Cartazar Chair at the University
of Jalisco. He was also Appointed juror for the Exposicion Pinturerias
organized by the Cultural Foundation Artencion, Mexico City.