Augusto Marín 1921-2011
Augusto Marín was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1921. Today he is honored as one of the most influential Puerto Rican painters of the second half the 20th century. At the early age of 12, his artistic talent won him a scholarship to study drawing in the studio of the distinguished Spanish artist Alejandro Sánchez Felipe.
While serving in the United States Army during the Second World War from 1943 to 1945, Marín created Polito, a series of comic strips published in the U.S. military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper and in the Puerto Rico-based newspaper El Mundo (The World). Marín used this strip to describe his experiences as a Puerto Rican soldier in the U.S. Army. From 1949 to 1955, he studied painting, drawing, and design at the Art Students League in New York, under the tutelage of recognized artists such as Harry Stenberg, Ivan Olinsky, John Corbino, and Reginald Marsh. He then moved on to the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California, where he specialized in mural design.
The already well traveled artist would go on to study polychrome stained glass technique with the great master Arnaldo Maas in San Juan, and later he would perfect his talent for the technique at the studio of Henri Mesterom in Maastricht, in the Netherlands.
Marín worked as a painting and design professor for 15 years at the School of Fine Arts of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1987 he became a tenured professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina. In 2002 the University of Puerto Rico granted him the rank of Professor Emeritus.
In addition to his work on canvas and in sculpture, Marín was a prolific muralist, and his murals that beautify Puerto Rico’s public and private buildings are landmarks in their own right. Some of the most well known are found at: the Luis A. Ferré Fine Arts Center in Santurce; the Surfside Mansions condominium in Isla Verde; the Laguna Gardens commercial center in Carolina; the Searle company building in Caguas; the Department of Housing building in Hato Rey; the Juan Ramón Jiménez School in Bayamón; and the facilities at the Colegio de Abogados in Miramar.
Augusto Marín had his work presented in over 80 expositions in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany, Monaco, and the United States during his lifetime, and he received national and international prizes in these events. Today Marín’s work is exhibited and held in museums and private collections all over the world, such as: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Modern Museum of Art, and El Museo del Barrio in New York; the Galería Nacional de San Juan, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, the Museo de Arte de Ponce, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, and the Museo de Arte de Bayamón in Puerto Rico; the University of Wyoming Art Museum; and the international art collection of Robert Kemm in Beverly Hills, California.
Awards of Distinction
In 2003, the Escuela de Artes Plásticas of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña granted Augusto Marín a Doctorate Honoris Causa. In 2004 he received a National Award for the preservation and enrichment of Puerto Rican culture from the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.
In his later years, he worked with sculptures, lithographs, and serigraphs in Italy, France, and Mexico.
Augusto Marín’s Legacy
In 2010, Marín’s children established the Augusto Marín Foundation of the Arts (FAAM). The foundation's purpose is to preserve the legacy of prominent Puerto Rican artists by exhibiting their work internationally through expositions and publications. The foundation’s priority is to produce projects that contribute to art education, especially efforts to familiarize Latinos living in the United States with Latin American art.