We are grateful to Mr. Ariel Zúñiga for his assistance in confirming the authenticity of this work.
In a conversation with Jacques Lassaigne, Curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Paris in 1981, Francisco Zúñiga (1912-1998) expressed, "Sculpture is an ancient direct language--to the eyes and to the touch." The artist's prolific career would be marked by remarkable creativity, energy and above all international recognition for an artistic production that would last more than sixty years.
Born in San José, Costa Rica, the artist began his earliest training by carving religious subjects and at the age of fifteen, entered the Escuela de Bellas Artes in San José, where he would take up a rigorous curriculum. There, he learned above all--discipline and spent hours working until his assignments were to his satisfaction. Barely twenty-one, Zúñiga, began to work in wood, stone and as a printer and designer. By 1936, the young artist traveled to Mexico where he enrolled in La Esmeralda School. There, he became acquainted with the work of Brancusi, Maillol and Moore. By 1938, the artist had begun teaching at the school. It is in Mexico that the artist achieved his international stature and by the end of the 1940s, his work was recognized by private and institutional collectors in Mexico but also in Europe. Throughout the 1960s and into his later years, Zúñiga received numerous honors and accolades and in 1980, was named Honorary Member of the Italian Academy of Art.
Orante II, is a seated sculpture of a solitary woman at prayer or meditation as its title implies. The solid bronze mass is however as grounded to the earth as the supplicant is connected to heaven. Zúñiga's extraordinary rendering of the human figure in the barest of descriptive terms--the soft curve of her mantle which covers and protects the supplicant as if in a cocoon--and the attention paid to figure's expressive face--are all trademarks of this great master's artistic genius. Ultimately Zúñiga's sculptures are unparalleled studies of his love and admiration for his people whom he transforms into universal figures of dignity.
1) J. Lassaigne, Francisco Zúñiga: Sculptures, Dessins, Lithographies, New York, Editions Brewster, 1982, p. 11.