(1923-2005)

Jesús Rafael-Soto was a Venezuelan Op and Kinetic artist, working in both painting and sculpture.  Rafael-Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela in 1923, and he began his artistic “career” there as a young boy painting posters for the local cinema.  He received his official artistic training at the School of Fine Arts in Caracas, and directed the Escuela de Artes Plasticas in Maracaibo from 1947 to 1950 when he left for Paris.  There, he discovered the non-figurative art of Mondrian and Malevich, and met Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely, as well as other artists associated with the Salon des Realités Nouvelles and the Galerie Denis René.  Rafael-Soto’s interest moved towards the visual representation of movement, resulting in works of multiple black lines superimposed on a foundation of pure white.  The close repetition of these color opposites creates the

 

optical illusion of movement, and became a signature motif in the artist’s work and one in which he pursued throughout his career.

Rafael-Soto’s works have appeared in numerous collections and public spaces throughout the world.  He has been included in shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, as well as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.  He has works at the Capriles Center in Caracas and the UNESCO building in Paris.  In 1973 in Ciudad Bolívar, a Museum of Modern Art and a foundation were named after him.  Rafael-Soto died in 2005 in Paris, and is buried in the Cimetiere du Montparnasse.

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