Benjamín Manzo
Benjamín Manzo

(1939 – 2002)

Benjamín Manzo Hernández was a renowned Mexican painter born on December 22, 1939 in Mexico City. From an early age, he showed interest and ability for art, being initiated in oil and charcoal painting by his paternal grandmother, Concepción Mendoza, who had great artistic sensibility and manufactured wax figures.

He studied at "La Esmeralda" during the sixties, when the study programs followed the tradition of the Mexican School of Painting. Although he enrolled in 1964, the impact of the generation of the Ruptura,which had begun in 1955, was not yet felt.

During his time at school, Manzo received training in anatomy, perspective, color theory, comparative art history and various artistic currents and times. This broad education allowed him to see art through the lens of the events of the twentieth century, including science, thought, literature, politics, music, dance and cinema.

Initially, Manzo dedicated himself to painting still lifes and landscapes. He did not settle for copying photographs, so he preferred to paint directly in the field, creating his own compositions with natural bottles and fruits. However, he felt the need to evolve towards abstraction and experiment with universal forms, inspired by pre-hispanic art, prehistoric cave paintings and the Sumerian art.

The transition to abstraction was difficult for Manzo, since he sought to change and create his own art without resorting to imitation. During the period from 1969 to 1977, he experienced a work process that allowed him to achieve full abstraction. This process was painful and challenging. It forced him to face the uncertainty and difficulty of starting a painting from scratch. His perseverance and determination led him to develop his own artistic style.

Once he managed to identify his artistic language, Manzo acquired self-confidence and left behind the hints shyness and sadness which could be felt in his work. He defended his art as a personal expression and refused to become a mere decorator of spaces. For him, the essence of an artist lies in the ability to capture his own style and expression, without compromising his art for economic reasons.

Manzo's work is characterized by the use of a wide range of colors, although he did not consider that the colors had a direct relationship with what he wanted to express. Blue was the predominant color in many of its paintings, but he avoided conditioning a single chromatic tone or palette.

Color management in Manzo's works has been praised by critics and art experts. His talent to combine tones and create compositions that convey a feeling of harmony and depth stands out. His paintings are recognized for their impecable subtlety in management of his glazing and textures.

In addition to his technical skill, Manzo stood out for his commitment to excellence in his work. He always used the best available materials, such as fine linen canvases and high quality paints.

Benjamin Manzo Hernández tragically passed away, on September 26, 2002, after being involved in an accident when he returned from the Casa de la Cultura de Calvillo. His premature death left an artistic legacy that reflects his deep love and respect for Mexico, as well as his constant search for his own artistic style and expression.