17.00 (BST) / 12.00 (EDT)

Ben Elwes Fine Art, this autumn, will be exhibiting a group of extraordinary monumental paintings not seen for the last 30 years by the Aymara Bolivian artist Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913-c.1960).

Dr. Michele Greet, Professor of modern Latin American art history at George Mason University and author of Beyond National Identity: Pictorial Indigenism as a Modernist Strategy in Andean Art, 1920-1960 will discuss together with Art Professional specialising in Latin American art, Carolina Scarborough, Yllanes' unique world in the wider context of modern Latin American art. Greet also authored the essay on Bolivian Indigenism for the online catalogue which accompanies the exhibition.

Ben Elwes Fine Art will offer for sale the surviving seven monumental paintings by Alejandro Mario Yllanes, exhibiting them in the United Kingdom for the first time. This follows the gallery's initial showing of the drawings and wood engravings during London Art Week 2023.

Watch back the recording!

Michele Greet,
George Mason University

Dr. Michele Greet is Professor of modern Latin American art history at George Mason University and Director of the Art History program. She is author of Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris between the Wars, 1918-1939 (Yale University Press: 2018) and Beyond National Identity: Pictorial Indigenism as a Modernist Strategy in Andean Art, 1920-1960 (Penn State University Press: 2009). She is co-editor, with Gina McDaniel Tarver, of the anthology Art Museums of Latin America: Structuring Representation (Routledge: 2018).She has written exhibition catalogue essays on modern Latin American art for MoMA (New York), Fundación Juan March (Madrid), Museu de Arte de São Paulo, El Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and El Museo del Barrio (New York). She is currently working on a book entitled Abstraction in the Andes, 1950-1970 with the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.

Discover more publications by the author...

Beyond National Identity, available on:

Transatlantic Encounters, available on:

Carolina Scarborough,
Art Professional specialising in Latin American art

Carolina Scarborough is an art professional with two decades of multidisciplinary experience in the arts. She researched, created, fundraised and implemented the first-of-its-kind 7 virtual bilingual panel series advocating for Bolivian art titled, "Transformative Performances of National Identity: Bolivian Art and Cultural Expressions." It included prehistoric, colonial, modern, and contemporary art and presented Bolivian indigenous visual art for the first time. She realised a series of consultancies for Sharon Schultz, donor of the Arts of the Americas Circle of Americas Society, Another Space, and was Assistant Curator for Public Programs at Americas Society. 

About Alejandro Mario Yllanes

Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913-1960) was a precocious, self-taught artist whose indigenous narrative and astonishing portrayals of the Aymara people are profound and compelling. Born in 1913 in La Paz, Bolivia, he articulated the political turmoil in his country with boldness and vibrancy. Perceived as a provocative agitator, in 1936 the government sentenced him to a year of internal exile in the Amazon jungle, during which Yllanes absorbed the vivid tropical colours of his surroundings which he later brought to his paintings.

The works featured in the present exhibition were first shown during the artist's travels to Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. The renowned muralist, Diego Rivera (1886-1957), advocated for Yllanes and wrote an introduction for his 1946 exhibition in Mexico City. Yllanes later travelled to New York where he was awarded, but never collected, a Guggenheim Foundation Grant before mysteriously disappearing on his return to Bolivia in about 1960, possibly the victim of a political assassination.

Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913-c.1960), The Monumental Paintings runs from 18 September to 15 December 2023 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm, or by appointment) at Ben Elwes Fine Art, 45 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PE. | |+44 (0)20 7629 6645

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