Raquel Forner

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Raquel Forner (1902-1988) was an Argentine painter known for her expressionist works.


Forner was born in Buenos Aires in 1902,[1][2] her father was Spanish by nationality and her mother was an Argentine of Spanish descent.[1] As a result of frequent family travel to Europe Forner spent part of her childhood in Spain, and later developed an artistic interest in the Spanish Civil War.[1]

Forner completed studies at the National Academy of Fine Arts (today part of the National University Art Institute) in Buenos Aires in 1923.[3] A year before graduation she received an appointment to teach drawing at the same academy.[1] In 1924 she received a third place award from the Argentine National Salon of Fine arts, and in 1928 she had her first solo exhibition in Buenos Aires.[1] Afterward she relocated to Paris and studied with Othon Friesz.[3]

In 1936 she married the Argentine sculptor Alfredo Bigatti.

Artistic themes[edit]

Forner's work demonstrated an interest in current events, and from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 this took a dramatic and tragic tone,[3] she borrowed ideas from surrealism during the 1940s, adapting its esthetic of distortion without seeking to reproduce a dream state.[1] In 1942 she took first place at the Argentine National Salon competition.[1] During the 1940s through most of the 1950s she produced several series on similar tragic themes in a primarily expressionist mode.[3] Forner often portrayed strong female figures, but not as specific explorations into gender norms.[1]

Beginning in 1957, coinciding with the space race, Forner's attention turned to imagined scenes of interplanetary travel.[1][3] With her Space Series, which exhibited in Europe and earned recognition, she became one of the earliest fine artists to portray scenes of outer space;[1] this period is characterized by a more vibrant use of color and a personal cosmic mythology of her own creation.[3] Forner's artistic portrayals of space travel continued until the 1970s;[2] the United States National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. has several examples of her late period work in its collection including Return of the Astronaut, 1969.[2][4]

Her work was exhibited widely throughout Argentina, and she was given two Konex Awards (the highest in the Argentine cultural realm) in 1982. Forner died in Buenos Aires in 1988; that year, the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art organized a retrospective in her honor.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kristin G. Congdon & Kara Kelley Hallmark (2002). Artists from Latin American Cultures: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. pp. 78–80. ISBN 978-0-313-31544-2. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  2. ^ a b c David William Foster; Melissa Fitch Lockhart; Darrell B. Lockhart (199). Culture and customs of Argentina. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-0-313-30319-7. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jane Turner, ed. (2000). Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Art. Macmillan Reference Limited. p. 278.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Cecilia, Puerto (1996). Latin American women artists, Kahlo and look who else: a selective, annotated bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313289344. OCLC 34282732.
  5. ^ Fundación Konex: Raquel Forner (in Spanish)