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Artist Painter, Rafael Tufiño

Rafael Tufiño


Born: October 30, 1922
Died: March 13, 2008
He left a legacy of art, may he rest in peace!

Recognized as one of the best Puerto Rican painters of the `50s, Rafael Tufiño was born in NY City in 1922. When he was 10, he moved with his parents to PR. An excellent painter, engraver, drawer, and printmaker, he studied with Alejandro Sánchez Felipe. During the `30s, he established an atelier with artists Tony Maldonado, Juan A. Rosado, Luis Burgos, and Luis García. His first exhibition was in 1942 at Ateneo Puertorriqueño, and consisted of paintings and drawings with an expressionist character. After serving in the US Army in World War II, he moved to Mexico in 1947, where he enrolled in Academia San Carlos. There, he discovered his love for linoleum engraving, which he uses to create art that has a social character. Upon his return to PR, he founded Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño with artists Lorenzo Homar, Julio Rosado del Valle, Félix Rodríguez Baéz, and José Antonio Torres Martinó.

The center was created to promote works by Puerto Rican artists, and to serve as an artistic educational center. Tufiño held graphics workshops at División de Educación para la Comunidad, which was founded in 1950.

The theme of his work is related to PR, its people, and customs. But more importantly, his love for it. In 1957 he paints Goyita, pictured above. Goyita is a portrait of his mother, while also symbolizing the Puerto Rican woman. Full of determination, strength, and dignity. He is considered an urban artist because a large portion of his work is about the city of San Juan, depicting its living reality, battered condition, and sadness. The real life of the town, with its gloominess and misery, passes through Tufiño's hand, becoming an artistic theme and an advocate for a new social and political conscience. In 1954, he was awarded a Guggenheim scholarship, and created a portfolio called "El café." In 1955, he created the portfolio "La Plena" with Lorenzo Homar and newcomer Tomás Blanco. From 1960-63, he continued working at División de Educación para la Comunidad and at graphic workshops at Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueño. In 1967, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña's Escuela de Artes Plásticas was founded and Tufiño became part of the faculty. His work is recognized in PR and abroad and is part of public and private collections. He has been a resident artist of the city of San Juan, and the Bienal de San Juan del grabado latinoamericano y del caribe dedicated its third exhibit to him. The work of Rafael Tufiño, is currently the subject of a major retrospective — his first in the United States — at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem that opened on March14, 2003. The exhibit will run through August 24, 2003.
Leading Puerto Rican artist Rafael Tufiño, dies

Read complte story, NY Daily News Story


  • Goyita
  • Vaile de Bomba3
  • El Gigante
  • El Santero
  • Majestad Negta
  • Rafaelito
  • Vejigante
  • La Botella


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