OVERVIEW OF A MASTER ARTIST: CARLOS QUIZPEZ ASIN (1900-1983)
Carlos Quizpez Asín (Lima 1900-1983) was a cultivated, refined, unpretentious, modest man who was reluctant to give speeches and to hold conferences. Traditional in his way of life but ready to impart his body of artistic knowledge to his students, he was also a demanding teacher and a caustic critic of, plainly said, bad art.
He was born to Jesus Quizpez Asín, a physician, and Maria Elvira More and was the second of four brothers: Jesus, Jose Luis, and Alfredo. He had one child, Néstor Andres, who was born of his relationship with Olga Serna.
From a very early age, Carlos Quizpez Asín showed his inclination to drawing. At age fifteen he attended lessons taught by the painter Teofilo Castillo in the Quinta Heeren and afterwards attended the Academia Concha located in the old Central Market of Lima. In September 1918 the Peruvian National Academy of Fine Arts (Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes) opened its doors, and the following year he began his studies there under the guidance of Daniel Hernandez, thus becoming part of the first graduating class of the Academy in 1921.
Aided by a scholarship that same year, he traveled to Spain where the Spanish government granted him (along with the musician Alfonso de Silva) tuition to study at the Academy of Fine Arts of Madrid from 1921 through 1926.
In Madrid Quizpez Asín studied in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando where his teachers included Julio Romero, Benedetto, and Cecilio Pla. It was Pla who instilled in Quizpez-Asin the idea of not using white as a separate color, but rather to use the white of the canvas. While in the Academy of San Fernando he developed a reputable friendship with Salvador Dalí, whom he depicted in a distinctly avant-garde portrait. The Museo del Prado served as a source of spiritual enrichment for Quizpez-Asin. There, he would become enlightened by the works of some of the greatest masters of art, including El Greco, Velasquez, Goya, Paulo Uccelo, and Piero de la Francesca. It was these latter two who would become Quizpez Asín’s greatest influence in mastering color transparently and in simplifying forms.
In 1925 he traveled to Paris to meet with his brother Alfredo (César Moro), a great Peruvian poet considered avant-garde in the anthologies of Surrealist French Poetry; Alfredo was deemed to be as important to literary French surrealism as the leader of the movement, Andre Breton. In Paris, Alfredo put his brother in contact with other young artists involved in the upcoming movements in painting, including cubist, surrealist, and abstract art. During this time he also met the Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres Garcia who at that time was already in the process of developing his idea of constructive universalism. Quizpez Asín became friends with Cesar Vallejo, who, at seeing the young artist’s work, became captivated and wrote a lauding review.
In 1927, he returned to Lima but, as he himself told, his return was a burden rather than a solution to his family’s economic troubles as it was virtually impossible to make living as a painter at that time in Peru.
In 1928, he traveled to Los Angeles and had the opportunity to enter the Pacific South West Exposition painting contest on Long Beach. He won the Silver Medal and, thanks to this award, he was deemed by the state of California with the task of completing one painting monthly and of creating murals. To this day remain in LA several canvases in private collections along with an important mural entitled, The Peasants.
In 1936 with the experience gained from creating murals he returned to Lima and produced frescoes of great importance, thus becoming a master in the technique. He created, among others, Natives Exploring the Mine in the University of Engineering; The Mural Painting of the Amazons Exposition; the mural Hippocrates; his great work The Arts in the old Ministry of Education; the mural Allegory to Pomona in the municipality of Lince; and the three frescoes The Judgment of Paris, Hercules in the Garden of Hesperides, and The Faun. The latter three were painted in the dining hall of the Chamber of Deputies of Congress. It is necessary to bring to the reader’s attention that, as a result of bold ignorance exhibited by the authorities that later took power, one of these murals was torn down in order to make way for a door and the other two were covered with wood: acts worthy of public reproach. It was thanks to the ambassador Harold Forsyth that two of these murals were rescued and restored.
As a professor at the College of Fine Arts for over 30 years, he had students who followed in his footsteps and many of them became of international renown.
Awards and special recognitions:
1928 Silver Medal, South West Pacific Exposition, Long Beach California. Awarded in recognition of his painting, The Laundresses.
1937 First Prize, South American Painting Exhibit, Viña del Mar.
1940 Gold Medal awarded by the Municipality of Lima.
1940 Silver Medal, South West Pacific Exposition, Long Beach California, USA.
1943 Gold Medal, awarded by the Municipality of Lima. In recognition of three frescoes in the dining hall of the Chamber of Deputies and in recognition for bringing fresco painting to Peru.
1950 National Award for Fostering the Culture: “Ignacio Merino.” Awarded in recognition for Streets of Lima
1951 Award “Dr. Hernando de Lavalle” Award by the Society of Fine Arts and Honorable Mention in the First Visual Arts Hall of the National University of San Marcos.
1953 Award “Augusto N. Wiese,” organized by the Society of Fine Arts.
1982 Biennial Award “Teknoquimica.”
Award presented in the Chamber of Petro Peru at the opening of a retrospective showing of his works held at this occasion. The following year his painting The Laundresses served as the cover for the compilation disc “Peruvian Music” for the Organization of American States.
1982 National Culture Prize, awarded in recognition of the decade 1970-1980 in the art sector
2008 posthumous Medal of Honor awarded by the Congress of Peru in the rank of Commander of Art.
Exhibitions organized with the works of Carlos Quizpez Asin:
1967 Opening of the gallery of the Continental Bank
1976 Photo Gallery by Emilio Velaochaga Espinar 715
1982 Camino Real Gallery Center Vargas
1984 Gallery 715 - 9 º Salón de Verano "Self"
1987 Exhibition organized by Jorge Bernuy and Esther Anavitarte
2006 Cultural Gallery Garcilazo Inca de la Vega - Retrospective Carlos Quizpez Asín – Néstor Quispez-Asin and Jorge Bernuy.
2008 John Arriman Gallery - British Peruvian Cultural Center – Néstor Quizpez-Asin, Jorge Bernuy
2008, CARLOS QUIZPEZ ASIN by Jorge Bernuy.
Written and submitted by William Acosta and Johan Vera