Armando Reverón - Latin America New York Monday, May 23, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Collection of Vilhem Agaard, Venezuela
    Private Collection, Venezuela
    By descent to the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Exposición Retrospectiva de Armando Reverón, 1955

  • Literature

    Exposición Retrospectiva de Armando Reverón, exh. cat., Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, 1955, no. 143

    Please note this work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist edited by Proyecto Armando Reverón (PAR).

  • Catalogue Essay

    Armando Reverón is considered one of Venezuela’s most important artists, whose unique modernism was characterized by an investigation into natural Caribbean light. Born in 1889 to a wealthy family in Caracas, Reverón demonstrated aptitude for drawing at an early age. In 1908, Reverón entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Caracas and in 1911 won a grant to study in Barcelona and later Madrid. Reverón was greatly influenced by Spanish masterworks at El Museo del Prado, including works by Goya and Joaquín Sorolla, and was also heavily influenced by Post-Impressionism, such as works by Cezanne, which he saw during his time in France. Upon his return to Venezuela in 1915, Reverón encountered a changing and dynamic art scene due to a number of European artists that had begun settling in the country. Among them was Nicolas Ferndinadov, whose darker palette and nocturnal imagery would prove very important for Reverón’s early works, characterized as his blue period. During this time, Reverón executed his most famous painting, entitled The Cave (1920). In this work the artist depicts two semi nude women surrounded by a deep blue background, which is starkly contrasted by the iridescent white of the women’s skin. Although this early piece is composed of much darker hues than the artist’s later works, it illustrates Reverón’s interest in harsh white light. As a proponent of avant-garde painting styles and techniques, Reverón joined an anti-academic group of artists in Caracas, who were declared enemies of the state by the Venezuelan government. After the disbandment of the group, Reverón was forced to flee Caracas and sought refuge in the small coastal town of Macuto, with his partner Juanita Rios.

    In Macuto, Reverón purchased a large plot of land and established his home and studio, which he named, El Castillete (Little Castle). In 1924, Reverón began to paint landscapes, inspired by the coastal Caribbean scenery. Referred to as the white period, Reverón began experimenting with stark white color palettes and alternative materials including burlap and paper bags in replacement of traditional canvases. In 1935, Reverón began his “sepia period” following a major schizophrenic attack in 1933. During this time, the artist experimented with a more subdued color palette often leaving much of the canvas untouched, creating a raw texture and emulating the visual quality of blinding light.

    The present lot, Ranchos de Macuto (1941) is a prime example of Reverón’s later modernist style. Composed of deeper jewel tones such as greens, blues, ochre and grey, the artist created an expressionistic composition. In the foreground, Reverón depicted a slender tree, whose long branches separate the picture plane diagonally. The huts in the background are merely outlined and rendered with loose painterly brushstrokes. Similar to many of his earlier works, Reverón left much of the canvas untouched, reminiscent of his sepia period. Although Reverón executed many landscapes throughout his career, Ranchos de Macuto is unique in its compositional liberty. The instability of the formal elements creates a dynamic composition which illustrates the artist’s tactile style and anticipates later chromatic abstract paintings. One of the important elements of this work is the original coconut frame, which Reverón created from coconut trees found on his property in Macuto. According to expert Rafael Romero, there are less than 12 works with this original coconut frame. This frame is not only rare, but it also highlights Reverón’s interest in creating his own artistic tools including frames, brushes and burlap canvases. Ranchos de Macuto is one of the few complete examples of Reverón’s revolutionary modernist technique and exemplifies the influence of his surroundings and the incorporation of natural materials in his art.

  • Artist Biography

    Armando Reverón

    Venezuelan • 1889 - 1954

    Armando Reverón was born into a wealthy Venezuelan family where he found an early interest in art, studying in Caracas and Spain under Ignacio Zuloaga. Upon his return to Venezuela he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, causing him to retreat to the coastal village of Macuto with his lifelong partner, Juanita.

    Often depicting landscapes and nudes, Reverón developed a singular painting technique utilizing a highly textured monochromatic white palette. Many of his works also feature touches of blue, gray, aquamarine and occasional areas of bare canvas. This color scheme emulates the blinding luminosity of light one would experience on the beaches of Venezuela. Reverón worked in isolation and made most of his painting supplies himself, including brushes, canvases and coconut tree frames.

    View More Works


Ranchos de Macuto

oil on canvas
22 x 36 in. (55.9 x 91.4 cm)
Signed and dated "X41 A. Reveron" lower right.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $262,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 23 May 2016