GRAPEVINE, TEXAS (June 1, 2021) - The Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to present the first international exposition of Naïf paintings in the United States. 110 artworks represent the work of painters from 11 different countries: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, Perú and Spain. The paintings are on loan from a local Grapevine collector and will be on display inside Grapevine’s Tower Gallery (636 S. Main St.) now through July 23. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is a free event.
Naïf painting, from the French word Naïveté (ingenuity, innocence, naturalness) is generally referred to as Naïf in the Americas. Naïf paintings are created by artists without formal art education and who are often self-taught. Naïf artwork, recognized by its childlike simplicity and frankness, typically has a flat rendering style with a rudimentary, simplistic perspective. Attention to detail is essential and subsequently one can ultimately ascertain the country of origin by studying each individual painting. Well-known Naïf painters include Henri Rousseau, who is widely regarded as the first Naïf painter, and American Naïf painter, Grandma Moses.
As the Naïf style has progressed over time and across the globe, it has taken on traits from other genres including Chiaroscuro, costumbrismo, cubism and surrealism. Many Naïf works that reflect the influence of these genres are on display.
The collector said that his interest in Naïf painting began through his longtime friends in Spain who introduced him to painter Jerónimo Prieto. Prieto’s Naïf watercolor paintings such as “Young Lady on Roller Skates” and “Friar at Night” tend toward a classic European style. The collector said that he enjoys Prieto’s watercolor “Poppy Flowers” because it contains a surprise. From a distance it looks like a red flower with a green stalk, but up close it reveals a bevy of ladies in green with one dressed in a brilliant pop of red.
“I would haul two or three of Prieto’s works back every time I went to Spain,” the collector said. “Over the years, I continued to travel to different countries to seek out different styles of art, but ultimately I became enamored by Naïf painting.”
Though some of the exhibited collection is available for sale, most works by Preito will remain part of the collection. The collector said that he chose to display some of his collection because he wants others to experience the beauty of the Naïf art genre.
“People need to see this art because it is unique. It’s historical in nature. It’s eye-catching,” the collector said. “It draws you in because of the bright colors, and it depicts everyday life in countries ranging from Central and South America to the Caribbean and Kenya.”
Gallery visitors are greeted by vibrant and colorful coffee bean pickers in “Cacao,” painted by Guatemalan artist Lorenzo Cruz Sunu. Next, viewers are pulled in by the large, swirling sea of “Transporte Maya” by Arnoldo Cruz Sunu. Both painters depict life around Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, and both paintings, along with many others are available for purchase.
Further in the gallery, viewers will experience Naïf Surrealism and visions of Andean mountain life by the first Naïf painter of Ecuador, Jose Toaquiza. His paintings sit next to works by his daughter, Luzmila Toaquiza, a collection depicting mountain village life and volcano scenes.
“Huffing and puffing at 11,000 feet in the Andean mountains and discovering the galería in the remote village of Tigua of Don Julio Toaquiza was well worth the effort,” the collector said. “His work is special to me because of the distance I had to travel to obtain it and the remoteness of his gallery. Not many people travel to Tigua.”
In contrast to the isolated mountain life of Toaquiza, Leonard Ngure from Dagoretti-Nairobi, Kenya tells the story of bustling, crowded urban life in Kenya with his expansive canvases and immersive street scenes. Additionally, Edmar Fernandes from Recife, Brazil shows vibrant festivals and city scenes full of color and life. Look closely and you will start to see 1982, the year he was born, hidden and sometimes not so hidden in several of his paintings.
“We’ve seen these places,” gallery visitor Sandi Rosenstiel said. “I am drawn to the color and the energy, the vibrancy of these works. This is art from the heart. It’s nice to have it here.”
About Grapevine, Texas
Historic Grapevine, Texas, centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth, is the premier go-to destination when planning a meeting or vacation in North Texas! Step back in time on Historic Downtown Main Street with a collection of charming boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. Enjoy fantastic hotels and resorts, great attractions for the entire family, a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities, exquisite winery tasting rooms, internationally renowned festivals and events, world-class shopping, delectable dining at more than 200 bistros and cafes and much more. For more information, visit GrapevineTexasUSA.com.