San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Brit Donates Amighetti Works to Costa Rican Art Museum

THANKS to a donation by EnglishmanKenneth McCormick, the Costa RicanArt Museum now finds itself six works ofart richer.The four watercolor paintings, onepage of various drawings and a color blockprint, all by renowned Costa Rican artistFrancisco Amighetti (1907-1998), wereofficially given to the museum on April 14.“It’s a great pleasure to have here todaythe donor of this collection of works byPaco Amighetti, or Paco the Wise, as I usedto call him,” said Minister of CultureGuido Sáenz at the event.Sáenz sat flanked by museum directorElizabeth Barquero and McCormick, withthe various works of art displayed oneasels behind them. The minister, who professeda long friendship with both the artistand the donor, explained that McCormickinherited the paintings when his brotherdied this past February.“He called me and said, ‘There areoffers to buy (the pieces of art), but Iwouldn’t want them to leave the hands ofauthorities or the country. I’d like to avoidthis. I’d like to donate them,’” Sáenz related.“Of course, I went running to whereKenneth was at that moment.”The four watercolor paintings depictpastoral scenes of rural streets, villagersand a church, most likely in what is nowthe western suburb of Escazú, Sáenz said.The page of drawings has several verysmall depictions of children playing,townspeople at work or at mass, or simplyon the street – common themes in much ofhis work. The block print is a larger, morehaunting image depicting an old womanand a child in front of a church at night.“These works enrich our collection ofart,” museum director Elizabeth Barquerosaid. “We are the custodians of the nationalinheritance of plastic arts, and it is ourresponsibility to conserve them for futuregenerations.”Barquero said the pieces would mostlikely be taken and shown to differentcommunities and municipalities around thecountry, and that some of them could endup being displayed at a June exhibition ofart from the 20th century.McCormick – one of the originalstaffers of The Tico Times – explained thathis father had bought the art fromAmighetti, most likely in 1947 or 1948,and they had been in his family ever since.“He’s one of the best-known – or best –painters in Costa Rica. I think (the works)should be here,” McCormick explained.One of the most celebrated Costa Ricanartists of the 20th century, FranciscoAmighetti was born in San José in 1907and died in 1998 at the age of 91. Primarilyself-taught, he was an engraver, painter,illustrator and writer, among other accomplishments.His works have been recognizedand exhibited around the world, andfocus often on Costa Rican identity.For more information, call 222-7734.

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