Armando Morales (Nicaraguan 1927-2011)
Armando Morales (Nicaraguan 1927-2011)

Selva tropical

Details
Armando Morales (Nicaraguan 1927-2011)
Selva tropical
signed and dated 'MORALES/94' (lower right)
oil on canvas
41 x 72 in. (104.1 x 185.1 cm.)
Painted in 1994.
Provenance
Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, Armando Morales, Recent Paintings, Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, 1994, no. 21 (illustrated in color).
C. Loewer, Armando Morales: Monograph & Catalogue Raisonné, Volume III 1974-2004, ArtAcatos, Vaumarcus, 2010, p. 59, no. 1994.24 (illustrated in color).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Armando Morales: Pientures récentes, January 1995, no. 21.

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Camila Femenias
Camila Femenias

Lot Essay

Acknowledged as one of the great Nicaraguan artists of his generation, Armando Morales was born in Granada and began garnering attention for his work by the mid 1950s. Rich, lush tropical landscapes and forests are among his most prominent subject matter, though he is also known for surreal figurative works that evoke classical subjects through nudes and eerie landscapes. Morales has always paid close attention to the surfaces of trees and the details of leaves which are endlessly present in his timeless views of forests. In some of these works, the seemingly endless forest touches the edges of a river or lake, as seen here, that also gives the impression of being boundless. The surface of the water reflects the attenuated trunks of the trees. Despite this attention to detail, the scene seems unreal, a dream-like or stage-like space that we can only observe without entering.

Early in his career, Morales favored abstract forms enlivened by movement and dream-like settings, such as in his Spook Tree (1956) in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He went on to create still lifes that transformed themselves into his metaphysical figurative works. But the tropical landscape has remained a significant topic, perhaps representing for the artist a place of impossibility, a return home that never was. Seen in the context of historic landscape painting of the nineteenth century, Morales’s paintings can be interpreted as the late twentieth century continuation of this tradition. Landscapes are created in the mind of the artist, exponentially enlarging a vision of real objects to an expansive view without end. As Gabriel García Márquez has noted, “He is a realist in a reality that only he knows, one that could be as easily from the sixteenth century as from the twenty-first.”1


Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Curator, El Museo del Barrio, New York


1 Gabriel García Márquez, “Armando Morales a la luz de su luna,” Pintura nicaraguense, Latin Art Museum, Fundación Ureña Rib, [http://www.latinartmuseum.com/armando_morales.htm; accessed Sept. 27, 2014].

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