Francisco Toledo
The Art of Francisco Toledo is deeply influenced by Toledo´s Mexican heritage. Many of Francisco Toledo´s artworks illustrate his Oaxacan roots, exemplified by Toledo´s paintings, sculptures, lithographs, etchings, and drawings of Mexican animals and scenery as well as Mexican History & Mythology.

Mexican artist, Francisco Toledo, was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1940. At the age of 12, Francisco Toledo learned the art of engraving at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Oaxaca. Under the instruction of Guillermo Silva Santamaria at the Centro Superior de Artes Aplicadas del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Francisco Toledo continued his studies of the graphic arts including: etching, lithography, and engraving.

In 1959, Francisco Toledo had his first solo art exhibition in Mexico City at Galeria Antonio Souza. Soon after, Toledo traveled to Europe where he began to work at the shop of the renowned British printmaker Stanley William Hayter in Paris. In 1963 Francisco Toledo´s first International art exhibitions were held in Paris at the Galerie Karl Flinker and the Daniel Gervis Gallery. By 1965 Francisco Toledo had exhibited his art in Galleries in Switzerland, Germany, England, Norway and the U.S.A.

Francisco Toledo´s first prints exhibition entitled Toledo Obra Grafica was held in 1969 at the Galeria Juan Martin in Mexico City. As an art medium, graphics (original prints) particularly intrigued Toledo from early in his career because of the extraordinary range of effects available through printing and etching. Among Francisco Toledo´s notable graphic artworks, are Toledo´s series of illustrated art books on Mayan myths.

Francisco Toledo's unique artistic aesthetic is based on a fantastic reality that Toledo finds residing in nature and life. Anthropomorphized animals (that are not often associated with beauty, such as insects, toads, and bats) are often the center–point of Francisco Toledo´s original artworks. Always juxtaposing the beautiful (the grain of the paper beneath Francisco Toledo´s washes of watercolor, or how deep the chroma illuminating Toledo´s small gouaches) with the disturbing.

Francisco Toledo´s social and cultural concerns about his native state led to his life–long participation in the cultural revitalization within the Mexican community. Francisco Toledo became integrally involved in the establishment of a number of cultural and art institutions including: the Casa de la Cultura in Juchitan 1972, the Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca (IAGO) 1989, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca (MACO) 1992, Patronato pro Defensa y Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural y Natural de Oaxaca (PROOAX) 1993, Centro de la Imagen Manuel Alvarez Bravo, the Biblioteca Jorge Luis Borges for the blind in Oaxaca and the Inaugurates Fonoteca Eduardo Mata in the Centro Fotografico Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Francisco Toledo has also received several accolades for his contributions to the Mexican community including, Mexican National Prize in 1998, the Prince Claus Award in 2000, and the Right Livelihood Award in 2005.

In 1980 the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City held a retrospective of Francisco Toledo´s art. Francisco Toledo´s art is found in the permanent collection of major Art Museums across the globe. Francisco Toledo continues his artistic and humanitarian efforts from Oaxaca City, Mexico.

Select Museum & Institutional Collections:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA


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