Ana María de Martínez (May 28, 1937 in Santa Ana, El Salvador – December 17, 2012 in San Salvador, El Salvador) was a Salvadoran artist. She was the fourth child of Maruca de Avilés and Narciso Avilés and the younger sister of Salvadoran painter San Aviles (1932–1991). She admired her older brother's artwork from the time she was a young girl, anxious to follow in his footsteps; however she was unable to attend the art academy, leading her to later develop her art skills in a self-taught way. Against all odds, after raising her three boys alongside her husband (of now 50 years), she found herself artistically in her 30s where she rediscovered her love of art, developing into the renowned artist she was—having dedicated herself artistically to acrylic paintings on canvas for almost four decades.
She began her career in the late 1960s in what is known in Spanish as her "Epoca Primitiva", which roughly translates to "Primitive Period" which began after she participated in a clay modeling course sponsored by the French embassy in San Salvador (1967–1968), where she made casts and polychrome pourings using many techniques including encaustics, which she would later use in paintings, combined with other contemporary techniques and materials. It was during this time that Ana Maria, inspired by Mayan and Colonial art, began the search for a style of her own where she could begin to express her message of "Spiritual peace and the joy of living". She focuses on regional landscapes and the traditions of Salvadoran folklore and its surroundings—fields of flowers and scenes with great architectonic ideas—all executed with great precision. In this period, carrying on until around 1982, she evolves very quickly, blending colors with the magic of the artist.
Period of Walls
In the next, albeit brief, period (1983–1984), known in Spanish as the "Epoca de Muros" (Roughly translating into "Period of Walls") Ana Maria seeks to evolve with other concepts and paints works which always contain walls—with which she expresses the technical difficulties that she needed to overcome. Her brush lands on a stage where the focus is this architectonic element of a wall that needs to be surpassed—becoming like a quintessential window that needs to be opened to let in the floral nature of its surroundings. She uses many animals during this time, mainly bees, which in an ironic play of events in life foreshadows a tragic event she would endure next to her husband.
The "Romantic Period" (1986–1989), known as the "Epoca Romantica" in Spanish follows, where Ana Maria lets go of her casual primitivism and ventures inside the creation of harmonious and sophisticated shapes and forms. Her compositions are a blend of high reality elements with flowers of great splendor, exquisite fruits and erupting volcanoes. So fascinating is her artwork, that it is published to reflect the poetry of Salvadorean poet, Claudia Lars (actual name Carmen Brannon) in Tierra de Infancia. It is through this newfound technique that she creates a unique style of transparency and texture achieving the acrylic perfection she is known for today. The imaginative blend of colors and textures allows her to paint her iconic oranges, in all their brilliance, blended with the transparency of her grapes as a symbol of the artistic abundance of the great Salvadoran painter.
Final Period, the Current Period
This leads to her "Current Period", beginning in the early 1990s, where Ana Maria has been developing a novel technique using acrylic colors and wax, enabling her to paint images of great transparency and accomplish that unique finishing. In her paintings of modern "still life" and other compositions, Ana Maria wishes to express the abundance of this world in this point in time: the growth of people, traffic, the high production, lights, sounds and everything that affect people in their ordinary lives. By this principle, sometimes, some of her compositions almost touch the borders of opulence, although always keeping their elegance and harmony, where she wishes to expose the sense of belonging to an age of metaphysical ideas through a heavy dose of symbolism.
Her Art Work
Her work is often compared to the Dutch Masters of the 17th century for her mastery of light and the art of chiaroscuro, an Italian term that describes the technique of contrasting light and shade in order to enhance shape, form, texture and transparency.
Oranges—her indisputable object of artistic focus—center in most of her current paintings due to their unmistakable multicolored tones that Ana Maria plays with, giving away her sentiment of sensuality in exploring the infinite possibilities of texture and color in her delicate traces on canvas. Ana Maria does not pretend to make a photographic copy of the natural fruit in her current paintings, rather she intends to capture their surrealistic essence through a rational composition of dots, blurs, spots, lights, and shadows—entering the world of magical hyperrealism of Ana Maria, a reality only existing in her imagination, which is given to her audience, elegantly showing also her profound knowledge and use of chiaroscuro. A similar thing happens when gazing upon her "grapes", featured three dimensionally with all their splendor..."and, likewise, every painting holds its secrets...".
Ana Maria's artwork has not only transcended geographical barriers, but her artwork has been considered within that of great Latin American Masters, most recently forming part of the permanent collection of the Nassau County Museum of Art in New York in January 2010. "Teatro de Naranjas (Theater of Oranges) (1991) by Salvadoran Ana Maria de Martinez lives up to its title by presenting the subject matter of still life in a highly theatrical way"
Along her artistic career Ana Maria has received important acknowledgments of her work, such as "Distinguished Visitor" by the mayor of Miami, Florida, USA; "Certificate of Appreciation" by the city of Coral Gables, Florida, USA for her participation in the development of art and culture. Moreover, her work has been successfully auctioned at prestigious galleries worldwide, such as Sotheby's and Christie's New York, among others.Sale of "Theater of Oranges" at Christie's New York: Thursday, May 19, 1994 [Lot 250] in LATIN AMERICAN PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, SCULPTURE AND PRINTS
Sale of "Mandarines" at Christie's New York: Wednesday, May 17, 1995 [Lot 249] in Important Latin American Pntgs, Draws & Sculpture
Sale of "Dead Nature with Oranges and Grapes" at Christie's New York: Tuesday, November 21, 1995 [Lot 257] in Important Latin American Pntgs, Draws & Sculpture
Her works reside in highly prestigious museums and collections, such as the Duchess of Alba collection in Spain, the private collection of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the permanent collection of contemporary painters of El Salvador in "Museo Marte" (the National Gallery of El Salvador) where she was featured as the "Artist of the Month" in February 2010, the exhibit "Latinas!" in Jan 2010 to Feb 28 2010, and the NCMA permanent collection, where "Theater of Oranges" has been added to the permanent collection of the Nassau County Museum of Art in New York. In 2007, Ana Maria's work was featured in the Latin Masters exhibition of the Nassau County Museum of Art in New York, alongside other world-renowned artists such as Frida Kahlo and Fernando Botero.
Ana Maria's artwork has also been displayed in University exhibits such as "Exhibition: 'Latin American Modern Masters'" in the University of Pennsylvania, and some of her artwork has been reproduced by UNICEF. Her artwork has been present in various exhibitions in American (Latin America, USA, and Canada) and European cities. Additionally, the Government of Japan acquired two of her paintings, and in 1986, by invitation of the Government of Italy, Ana Maria participated in the Festival "Dei Due Mondi" that takes place every year in the city of Spoleto, Italy.
Ana Maria has also been featured in newspapers, magazines, and television shows.
Approaching 2013, Ana María dies from a disease that came charging since February 2008. The Carcinoid syndrome was her executioner on December 17, 2012. She leaves in 2010 her painting. In mid-2012, the artist falls, being fatal for her health, that drops suddenly. On the morning of the 17th, at 3:00 AM, approximately, she is declared dead in the name of the disease, she died with her loved ones.