Fernando Castro Pacheco Biography

Fernando Castro Pacheco




Born in Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico on January 26, 1918, Fernando Castro Pacheco went on to become a well known international and local artist. Little has been published about the artist’s early life. While some scholars insist that he was a mostly self-taught artist, Castro Pacheco began his “formal" training at the Mérida School of Fine Arts at the age of 15.” While at the school, he honed his artistic skills in engraving and painting. During the time he spent at his school, he studied under the instruction of Italian artist Alfonso Cardone. It was at this school that he completed his first engravings in both wood and linoleum. Castro Pacheco spent six years at the school and produced many works during this early period in his artistic career. He also worked as an instructor and taught painting and drawing in the Mérida area.

Upon completion of his studies, Castro Pacheco is credited with co-founding La Escuela Libre de Las Artes Plásticas de Yucatán in 1941. He also served as an instructor for the school. This school, like many others founded during this period, moved the art classroom and studio into an outdoor atmosphere, allowing the artist to more freely capture the beauty, color and realism of nature in art. The idea of outdoor schools of art was promoted by Alfredo Ramos Martinéz. The idea centered on the promotion of more liberal methods for art instruction. In 1942, soon after the founding of the school, Castro Pacheco produced his first lithographs and displayed his painting and drawings in his first exhibit at the Galería de la Universidad de Yucatán.

While in Mérida, Castro Pacheco began work on several murals around the city. Between 1941 and 1942, he completed murals in the preschools (jardines de niños) or playgrounds in Mérida, as well as in several rural school buildings including the Escuela Campesina de Tocoh located in the rural henequen-producing area near Mérida. He also completed al fresco murals with cultural and sport themes at the Biblioteca de la Union de Camioneros de Yucatán in Mérida.

In 1943 Castro Pacheco moved to Mexico City where his career and personal life took new directions. Castro Pacheco married during this time and fathered two children. Relating to his career in art, it was during his time in Mexico that he was first linked to the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP). The Taller was a group of artists and printmakers that formed in 1937 most likely from the dissolved Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (League of revolutionary writers and artists) or LEAR which had been active in Mexico City prior to suffering from internal problems. The Taller is associated with popular political movements in Mexico during this time that included “progressive democratic” ideas and support for union workers and people of the lower classes. Castro Pacheco’s role at the Taller is debated. According to some sources he was a somewhat important artist at the Taller, producing engravings and prints that exemplified the face of the poor and suffering in Mexico. According to other sources Castro Pacheco’s role at the Taller was brief and limited, only participating in one show with the group upon his arrival in Mexico City. It was through this first exhibit with the Taller however, that Castro Pacheco gained attention as a print maker and artist. A portfolio of his work was included at the exhibition which gained him attention in the Mexico City art scene and in the international scene as well.

Castro Pacheco continued as a print maker until 1960. Working first with linoleum and then between 1945 and 1960 with predominantly wood cuts. His work was used to illustrate books, magazines and other publications. Notable examples include La flauta de caña by Fernando Espejo and Los pozos sagrados by Miguel Alvarez Acosta. He also illustrated the essay La llanura aislada by Elmer Llanes Marín.

Before returning to Mérida in 1973, he also served at the director of the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura "La Esmeralda."

Fernando Castro Pacheco died in Mérida on August 8, 2013.   This biography taken from Wikipedia