Date: ca. 1985
Artist: Alfonso Castillo Orta (1944 – 2009)
Culture: Izúcar de Matamoros (Puebla, Mexico)
Material: Painted ceramic
Size: 22” H x 20 “W
Credit: Gift of MAW
On View: No
Alfonso Castillo Orta is regarded as one of the masters of twentieth-century Mexican folk art. His work was included in the groundbreaking “Masters of Mexican Folk Art” exhibition. He was given the prestigious Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes award in 1996.
Orta is best known for his elaborate “Tree of Life” candelabras, which he formed by hand and painted using natural pigments. His candelabras are colorful and expressive; they include a variety of figures ranging from plants, birds, and animals, to biblical figures and “Day of the Dead” imagery. Unfortunately, Orta passed away in 2009. However, his family continues to create similar works and will undoubtedly take the art style in new and exciting directions.