PROFILE

ALFREDO FALFAN (1936-2009)

Alfredo Falfan, member of a large family (nine brothers and a sister), was born in the humble surroundings of the Merced District, a market area in the old historical center of Mexico City. His father, who was from a rural area in the state of Morelos, eventually became the owner of an antique business.

In 1953, Falfan started his artistic studies at San Carlos (Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas), in Mexico City. Among his teachers were Diego Rivera and Spanish exile Antonio Rodriguez Luna. The latter was impressed with the way Falfan transformed the studio models into figures that reflected the sordid neighborhood in which he lived.

Upon leaving San Carlos in 1960, he began a five-year contract with American dealer and artist, Bryna Prensky. During the twenty-five years she spent in Mexico with her husband, Dr. H. David Prensky, she acquired a large number of works from some of the most important artists in Mexico. That collection, which includes many works by Falfan, is now part of the Mexican Art Collection at the Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Florida.  Some of the paintings of Falfan from this group, including one titled Pesadumbre (Grief) Sin Reposo, had been shown in the 1966 Biennale of Cordoba, Argentina, and awarded a special gold medal by the panel of judges which included Alfred Barr, founding director of the New York Museum of Modern Art.

After this early period, Falfan began to experiment with paintings which show the influence of  Picasso and Matisse. Eventually, his own personal style emerged in works that suggested a microcosmic world in which cells or plants were rendered in subtle colors with overlain transparencies. A painting from this period is En un Rincon de la Alegria (In a Corner of Happiness) (1966), which was acquired by the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City. In the late Sixties, 1968-1969, his paintings became more abstract with textures suggesting the surface of ancient Prehispanic architecture.

In 1969, Falfan decided to go to New York where he was given a given a grant to study graphics at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. During this time, he also worked at Bob Blackburns Graphic Workshop doing etchings that were basically abstract, using color a variety of experimental techniques. At the end of 1970, he returned to Mexico with his future wife and lifetime partner, New York-born artist, Margaret Hudak.