James Pinto Biography

James Pinto




James (Haim) Pinto was born in Bijelina, Yugoslavia in 1907 and grew up in Tuzla where he was encouragd by his professors to pursue art.  He became friends with and studied alongside painter Ismet Mujezinovic. After studying art in ZagrebIn he left to join his sister in Hollywood, California in 1939, where he began work at Disney Studios.  He studied briefly at Chouinard in Los Angeles before heading to Mexico with his wife Ruska to study mural painting in Mexico with Siqueiros and Charlot.

In the late 1940’s Pinto was studying at Escuela de Bellas Artes in San Miguel when a dispute erupted between Siqueiros and the school’s owner.  Pinto and a number of other students were deported from San Miguel to the U.S. but were able to return thanks to a student of artist Reva Brooks, General Ignacio Beteta.  

After their return Pinto, together with Nell and Enrique Fernandez and Stirling Dickson founded the art school Insitituto Allende where he continued to teach, as well as paint and do murals. Other than works in private collections, the majority of his paintings are owned by the University of Guanajuato.

He died in San Miguel in 1987.