Carlos Orozco Romero Biography

Carlos Orozco Romero




Painter, printmaker, muralist, and illustrator Carlos Orozco Romero was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on September 3, 1896. Showing an early aptitude for drawing, Romero's father, Jesus Orizco, hired Luis de la Torre, a traveling painter, to tutor his son in drawing in painting. They would study en plein air and many of Romero's early works are landscapes and still lifes. He found work as a cartoonist at age 13 and joined the Centro Bohemio, an artists and intellectuals group that was also politically active. In this group he met and became friends with David Alfaro Siqueiros, Xavier Guerrero, and Carlos Stahl. He left for Mexico City at age 16 to participate in the burgeoning muralist movement. 

While living and working in Mexico City, Orozco worked for several national publications as an illustrator and cartoonist, replacing Jose Clemente Orozco as head cartoonist for El Heraldo when Jose left to support the revolutionary movement in Veracruz. Orozco met and married Maria Marin in 1920, and in 1923, not long after the news that Maria was pregnant, he was granted a traveling scholarship from the state of Jalisco allowing him to study in Europe. He traveled throughout Belgium, France, and briefly lived in Madrid before homesickness sent him back to Mexico City. After the birth of their daughter, Gabriela, the family returned to Guadalajara in 1923, where both Carlos and Maria took engraving lessons from Jose Sabogal. Orozco was commissioned to paint murals for the Jalisco State Museum and Library with Amado de la Cueva, and he began exhibiting his paintings and prints in Mexico and the United States. In addition to his personal artistic output, Orozco taught art in various schools in Guadalajara, and founded La Esmeralda and the Movimiento de Taller Libre art schools.

In 1928 he and artist Carlos Merida founded the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which they directed until 1932 and through which they helped launch the careers of Rufino Tamayo, Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, and Maria Izquierado. The two also founded the School of Dance at the Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura. From 1962 to 1964, he was the director of the Museo de Arte Moderno.

Orozco continued to work and exhibit until well into his 80s. He died in Guadalajara on March 29, 1984.

Selected exhibitions:
1928: Palace of Iturbide, Mexico City (solo)
1951: Solo exhibition, Palacio de Bellas Artes
1958: Venice Biennale, Italy
1968: International Watercolor Biennale, Pittsburg, PA; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
1978, 1980: Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
Various: The Art Center, New York City; Delphic Studios, New York; the Wilmington Society of Arts, Delaware; the Art Institute of Chicago; the American Federation of Arts; and with the College Art Association.