Iconic Yucatecan visual artist Ermilo Torre Gamboa dies at 97

Photo: (Yucatán ahora)

Mérida, Yucatán, (June 08, 2021).- Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal, through the Secretariat of Culture and the Arts (Sedeculta), laments the death of one of the highest representatives of Yucatecan art, Ermilo Torre Gamboa, who dedicated himself to forging part of the painting scene in the state.

He was a classic exponent in that discipline, his works covered various topics, among which are figures of the country, daily life, emotions, and death. In addition, he was an expert portrait painter, capturing the faces of various characters from society, politics, and culture on his canvases.

Despite being an academic, that situation did not prevent him from developing a freer and more expressive style, to carry out abstract and surrealist works, and even, in the last days of his life, due to problems with his vision, he dedicated himself to creating works of that stream to stay entertained in the days of the pandemic.

Ermilo Gamboa Torre (Photo: MACAY)

Torre Gamboa was 97 years old and had 80 years of artistic career, in which he was the recipient of the Yucatán Medal in 2000. He was the great-nephew of the painter Juan Gamboa Guzmán. In May 2011, together with the works of his grandson Jorge Ermilo Espinosa, the Yucatán Institute of Culture (ICY), currently Sedeculta, organized the exhibition  ‘Three Times‘  that brought together pieces from three generations of his family in the Main Gallery of the “José Peón Contreras ”.

The most recent exhibition of the creator was called  ‘Legado’,  inaugurated in October 2019, and included rooms 10, 11 and 11 Bis of the Fernando García Ponce-Macay Museum where there were works of the different stages of the master who made from 1960; The sample was on display until January 2020.

Currently, his work  ‘Three unforgettable times‘, dedicated to the composer Armando Manzanero, is exhibited at the Palacio de la Música – National Center of Mexican Music, Mérida downtown; In it, the singer-songwriter is shown in three stages of his life, from young to a more recent time, before passing away in December of last year.

Ermilo Torre Gamboa was born in March 1924 and began his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Yucatán directed by Armando García Franchi; Later, he moved to Mexico City to continue his training at the San Carlos Academy, where he had contact with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Upon his return to Yucatán, he traveled to Spain to enter the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. During his time in Europe, he also made stops in Paris and Florence, where he took advantage of his stay to make reproductions of masterpieces in the Prado Museum, by artists such as Goya, Rembrandt and Velázquez, who made up his first exhibition.

Photo: (Yucatán ahora)

Back in Mexico and after a period in the state, he went to live in the country’s capital, where he became friends with Alvaro Carrillo Gil, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano and Siqueiros himself. After his return to Mérida, he began to have a prolific career as a portraitist, a situation that led him to paint thousands of faces of people from various areas of society and establish his style, without leaving aside other elements of symbolic composition.

He has more than 55 individual exhibitions organized in our nation, Havana, Cuba; the United States, and Spain as mentioned above. He was a pioneer in managing suitable spaces in Mérida for the assembly of exhibitions and established a painting teaching workshop where he received students from 1955 to 2008, now active creators in Mérida.

In 2007, the “Ermilo Torre Gamboa” Foundation was created to support Yucatecan art. Undoubtedly, he is one of the most relevant artistic figures of the 20th century in Yucatán.



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