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Artist Painter, Francisco Oller

Francisco Oller


Born: San Juan in 1833

Painter Francisco Oller was born in San Juan, PR, in 1833. He studied at Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, and Academia Suisse y Atelier de Notre Dame-des-Champs, Paris. In 1868, Oller founded his first Escuela de Dibujo, in San Juan. In 1889, he established Escuela de Arte para Señoritas at Ateneo Puertorriqueño. In 1898, he set up Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, San Juan. Oller also taught drawing in PR public schools. He was awarded silver medal at Primera Feria Exposición, 1854; and gold medals at Exposición del cuarto centenario del descubrimiento de PR, 1893, and Ateneo Puertorriqueño, 1908.

His work was featured in numerous individual exhibitions: Sociedad Económico de Amigos del País, 1868; and Palacio de la Correspondencia, Madrid, 1883. His work also was part of numerous group exhibitions: Exposición nacional, Madrid; Dos siglos de pintura puertorriqueña, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1962; and Puerto Rican Painting: Between Past & Present, Squibb Gallery, Princeton, NJ, 1987. Oller died in 1917.

His famous painting "The Wake", pictured above, which is part of the University of Puerto Rico Museum collection is an example of his capability in the art of combining colors. The painting is a study of different types of Puerto Ricans and represent a wake of a child or baquiné, custom that was used, mainly in the country-side. In the wake the people sang, laughed and ate different sweets while the parents languished. Represent a protest of a custom that he considered without real meaning.

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