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Dominican Art History: A Timeline of Events

English Version · Version en Español
Merengue, 1938, by Jaime Colson
Merengue, 1938, detail, by Jaime Colson

Dominican Art History, a timeline of events and the people that helped shape the history of art in the Dominican Republic.

The Pre-Colonial Period: Aboriginal and Taino art

To paraphrase, we do not know how art in the Dominican Republic actually began. Long before the Columbus invasion, the Taino people (and before them the aboriginal inhabitants) of the Greater Antilles were creating art, deliberate or not, in the form of pottery, stone and wood carvings, jewelry and cave drawings.

Like many indigenous people, the artistic skills of the Taino is best observed in the clay pottery and sculptures carved from wood or stone that still survive today. These artifacts were created for daily use or ceremonial purposes to honor the dead or the various gods that were observed at the time.

Cave Art

Throughout the southern region we find several cave systems adorned with petroglyphs (rock engravings) and pictographs (paintings on the walls). The Pomier Caves, located north of San Cristobal, and the Cueva de las Maravillas, located San Pedro de Macoris, house some of the oldest cave art in the Caribbean. Images of birds and human-like figures were added to the walls using ink derived from local fruits, vegetation or charcoal.

Caves were a significant part of Taino culture. In Taino mythology, the first people emerged from a cave called Cacibajagua. Caves were also believed to be a connection to the underworld, and a place where the dead roamed waiting for nighttime.

Art during the Colony: 1492-1844

This period refers to art created after the Columbus invasion (1492) and before the mark of Dominican independence (1844). These were the dark ages of Hispaniola, a period of 'demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration' initiated by the arrival of Christopher Columbus, and continued by the colonial ambitions of European emigrants through appropriations, slavery and genocide.

During this period, an identity transition from natives to a mixed race is violently taking place. We can excuse the lack of time and effort for creativity. Few if any works of art completed during this period may have survived. Restored religious artwork completed during the last decades of the 1700s are still available for viewing at the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo. These works were likely created by European emigrants of the time—attribution details for the works may or may not be available or trustworthy.

Dominican Independence and the Roots of a National Art

Dominican independence (1844) also marks the era of an artistic flourishing in which the seeds that take root and lead to the definitions of a national Dominican art are planted.

During this time, three native Dominicans (for which records exist); Domingo Echavarría, Epifanio Billini and León Cordero are making a living as artists or part-time artist, and begin to lay the foundation for a national artistic identity.

Domingo Echavarría (Santo Domingo, 1805-1849), considered the first engraver of importance that appears in our history. He was a painter, caricaturist and engraver, and is credited as the first artist to have a caricature published in a newspaper; "The Haitian General Marching" published in El Dominicano, in 1845.

León Cordero (Santo Domingo, 1809-1874), made a living with the restoration and retouching of religious works, and as a teacher in his own workshop. He was considered by his peers a master of drawing and painting. One of Cordero's students is Luis Desangles—considered the father of Dominican art.

Epifanio Billini (Santo Domingo, 1820-1891), early member of La Trinitaria Society, was the most renowned artist in Santo Domingo during these times. Recognized as the first Dominican photographer, is said to have enjoyed a successful career as an artist, penman and educator in Santo Domingo. His daughter, Adriana Billini (1863-1946), whose initial art training was probably from her father, becomes the first successful woman of Dominican art.

Theodore Chasseriau: The Unknown Romantic

Some may say that the story of Dominican art is not complete if we do not include Théodore Chassériau (1819–1856). Born in El Limón, Samaná, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, his father Benoît Chassériau, was French, his mother Maria Magdalena Couret de la Blagniére, is said to have been born in Samana. In 1820, Chassériau's father moved the family to France where he would go on to study art and become a celebrated French painter. We can think of Chasseriau as the first artist of the Dominican diaspora, however, unlike other artist, such as Adriana Billini, we do not know if Chasseriau held a personal connection with his birthplace.


The First Era: 1844-1900

The first artists active during this period (Echavaria, Billini, Cordero) would be the ones that pass down the ideas and techniques to the precursors of the Dominican art era which materializes in the final decades—and in which 'pictorial and sculptural production followed the guidelines of European academics fluctuating between the romantic and neoclassical style'.

Luis Desangles, Alejandro Bonilla, Celeste Woss y Gil and Abelardo R. Urdaneta are the four artists whose branches have produced the most important artistic lineages.

Luis Desangles: The first Master Painter of the Dominican Republic

Luis Desangles (1861-1940), the Son of French parents, from an early age he expressed a love and interest in art. Desangles comes under the tutelage of Leon Cordero in the year 1870, and continues his lessons until Cordero's death in 1874. Desangles would then travel to Italy to continue artistic studies, developing in the fields of drawing, sculpture and painting. In 1883 he opens his workshop in Santo Domingo, Casa-Taller, where he instructs many of the great names that go on to define the early era of art in the country.

Some of the most recognizable names that studied art under Luis Desangles include; Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta, Arturo Grullón, Leopoldo Navarro, Adolfo García Obregón, Manuel María Sanabia, Arquímedes de la Concha, Carlos Ramírez Guerra, Manuel Buñols Medina and Francisco González Lamarche.

Alejandro Bonilla (1820-1901), was born in the Santo Domingo where he probably began artistic training. In 1868, Bonilla exiles to Venezuela where he continues his development. Six years later, he returns to Santo Domingo and opens a workshop in his own house. In 1887, Bonilla completed what is considered to be the first ever portrait of Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876). The portrait was so regarded that in 1888 the Dominican Congress granted Bonilla a 10 year patent to exclusively reproduce the image in whatever mediums he wished.

On March 10, 1970, a law was promulgated which would make Bonilla's oil painting one of two official references "for the correct reproduction of the physiognomy of Juan Pablo Duarte, Founder of the Republic."

Abelardo Rodriguez Urdaneta (1870-1933), multidisciplinary artist, born in Santo Domingo. Considered the first great sculptor of the era—he was also a musician, a poet and one of the first nationally recognized photographers. His artistic development begins with Fernández Corredor—a Spanish artist that arrives in Santo Domingo in 1883. Urdaneta would continue his studies under Luis Desangles. Today he is remembered for creating the most recognized images of Juan Pablo Duarte on canvas and sculpture. Urdaneta is also credited with the first self-portraits in photography.

Celeste Woss y Gil (1890-1985), is the first woman recognized as an important figure of the national artistic identity—a painter, sculptor and educator. The first female master-painter, she was born in Santo Domingo, the daughter of Alejandro Woss y Gil, who served briefly as president of the Dominican Republic in 1903. Eight months into the presidency, her father was removed and the family exiled to France. The family would later move to Cuba where Celeste would begin to study art under José Joaquín Tejada.

In 1922, Celeste travels to New York City where she enrolls at the Art Students League of New York, and studies under Frank Vincent Du Mond. Two years later she would return to Santo Domingo and open her first art workshop. Celeste traveled back to New York in 1928 to complete her art studies, returning to Santo Domingo in 1931.

Celeste Woss y Gil was a founding member the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, where she was a teacher along with Josep Gausachs, Manolo Pascual and José Vela Zanetti.

The port of Santo Domingo (1875), by Alejandro Bonilla
The port of Santo Domingo (1875), by Alejandro Bonilla


Notable names of the first generation

Alejandro Bonilla (1820-1901), born in Santo Domingo. The great painter of the era. Completed first 'official' portrait of Juan Pablo Duarte in 1887.

Luis Desangles (1861-1940), born in Santo Domingo. The first master painter of the Dominican Republic. Instructor to many of the great artist of the era, sculpted the first bust of Juan Pablo Duarte.

Leopoldo Navarro (1862-1908), born in Santo Domingo. Son of a French father and a Dominican mother. An early student of Luis Desangles.

Abelardo Piñeyro (1862-1958), born in Santo Domingo. A pharmacist before he was painter, Piñeyro used his scientific training to experiment with pigments.

Adriana Billini (1865-1946), born in Santo Domingo. The first artist of the diaspora, raised, lived and worked in Habana, Cuba.

Arturo Grullón (1869-1942), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. A student of Luis Desangles.

Abelardo Rodriguez Urdaneta (1870-1933), born in Santo Domingo. Multidisciplinary artist; painter, sculptor, photographer. Artist of the most recognized images of Juan Pablo Duarte on canvas and sculpture.

Juan Bautista Gómez (1874-1945), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. Opened one of the first art workshops in Santiago.

Enrique García Godoy (1886-1947), born in La Vega. He was a painter and sculptor, author of several notable works.


The Second Generation: 1900-1940

Many of the most recognizable names in Dominican art are born between the final years of the eighteen hundreds and the 1940s. This list includes such important artists as; Celeste Woss y Gil, Jaime Colson, Yoryi Morel, Dario Suro, Clara Ledesma, Ramon Oviedo and Candido Bido. These are the most recognizable names whose themes and styles would define the national artistic identity (costumbrismo artistico Dominicano) that persist today. This is also the first group to truly break through the national borders and achieve international recognition.

Lead by Woss y Gil, Colson, Morel and Suro, this is the era which members has inspired most contemporary artist in the Dominican Republic.

Morel, Ledesma, Oviedo and Bido are four artist whose themes and style are instantly recognizable by the Dominican art community.

Notable names of the second generation

Bienvenido Gimbernard (1890-1971), born in Santo Domingo. A graphic artist, photographer and journalist, founded the Cosmopolita, a monthly literary journal of art and criticism and other topics of general interest.

Celeste Woss y Gil (1890-1985), born in Santo Domingo. The first female master painter. She helped push the education of art in the country. One of the first instructors at the National School of Fine Arts.

Fernando 'Tuto' Báez (1895-1960), born in Monte Cristi. Moved to Santiago where he studied under Arturo Grullon. Baez later moves to the capital where he enrolls in the art academy of Abelardo R. Urdaneta.

Jaime Colson (1901-1975), born in Puerto Plata. Colson traveled to Spain in his teenage years where he studied art in Paris and Barcelona. Colson is one of the most recognizable figures of Dominican art. His works range within many movements; cubism, surrealism, symbolism, expressionism, neoclassicism.

Yoryi Morel (1906-1979), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. His landscapes remain the standard for young artist today. In 1940, he founded the "Yoryi" Academy in Santiago. In 1973, Morel is named "Caballero" and receives the "Order of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella."

Darío Suro (1917-1997), born in La Vega. Artist, art critic and diplomat, he first studied art under his uncle Enrique García-Godoy.

Mario Grullón (1918-1994), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. Impressionist artist, his first lessons in art were from Yoryi Morel.

Paul Giudicelli (1921-1965), born in San Pedro de Macoris. The son of French parents, though he showed an interest in art at a young age, it wasn't until his late twenties that Giudicelli began to dedicate himself as an artist. Giudicelli is remembered for his use of Taino imagery in his abstract works.

Clara Ledesma (1924-1999), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. Ledesma is one of the most recognizable names in Dominican art. In 1964, Clara Ledesma moved to New York where she lived and worked until her passing.

Gilberto H. Ortega (1924-1979), born in Bani. Ortega was raised in Santo Domingo. A student of Celeste Woss y Gil, Ortega was part of the first class of the National School of Fine Arts, where he became a professor in 1946 and was named vice director in 1954.

Gaspar Mario Cruz (1925–2006), born in San Francisco de Macoris. Cruz was a painter and celebrated wood sculptor. He graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in 1952.

Guilo Perez (1926-2014), born in Moca. Perez participated in more than 70 exhibitions during his career. Former professor and director of the School of Fine Arts in Santiago de los Caballeros.

Ramón Oviedo (1927-2015), born in Barahona. Oviedo's style and socio-political themes made him a leading figure of Dominican expressionism.

Fernando Peña Defilló (1926-2016), born in Santo Domingo. Peña Defilló was a leading figure of the contemporary era.

Eligio Pichardo (1929-1984), born in Salcedo. Pichardo was raised in San Francisco de Macoris. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts and in Paris.

Ada Balcácer (1930), born in Santo Domingo. She studied at the National School of Fine Arts. In 1946, she lost her arm in a horse riding accident. Before her accident she dreamed of being a doctor, it was after she lost her arm that art became her focus.

Jorge Noceda Sánchez (1931-1987), born in Santo Domingo. He graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Santo Domingo in 1952. Moved to New York to continue his medical studies, instead began to paint.

Domingo Liz (1931-2013), born in Santo Domingo. A graduate of the National School of Fine Arts. Liz is remembered for his insistence on artistic originality.

Plutarco Andujar (1931-1995), born in Monte Cristi. He studied art at the National School of Fine Arts, Europe and the United States.

Cándido Bidó (1936-2011), born in Bonao. Bido's style is one the most emblematic of the national identity in the contemporary era. He is remembered for his themes and his use of bold lines and bright primary colors.

José Ramírez Conde (1940-1987), born in Bani. A graduate of the National School of Fine Arts. His murals adorn many cities in the Dominican Republic.

Norberto Santana (1943), born in Santo Domingo. Graduated from the National School of Fine Arts (1963). He expanded his training in Spain, completing his studies with Jaime Colson.

Danilo de los Santos (1943), born in Puerto Plata. An artist and art historian. His Memoria de la Pintura Dominicana is an eight volume opus chronicling the history of art in the Dominican Republic.

Roberto Flores (1949), born in Santo Domingo. He enrolled at the National School of Fine Arts in 1966, where he received direct instruction from professors Pedro Villena, Domingo Liz and Jaime Colson, among others.


Self Portrait (1930), by Celeste Woss y Gil
Self Portrait (1930), detail, by Celeste Woss y Gil


The Influence Women in Dominican Art

From the early moments of the national art movement women have played a vital role in the nurturing of the national artistic identity in the Dominican Republic. Celeste Woss y Gil can be considered the first female–master of Dominican art. Woss y Gil's skill with the brush is evident in her works, and like Luis Desangles, her students include many of the great names known today.

Along with Woss y Gil, two other women deserve to be highlighted for their contributions to the national artistic identity; Adriana Billini and Clara Ledesma.

Adriana Billini (1865-1946), daughter of Epifanio Billini (1820-1891), born in Santo Domingo, the first artist of the diaspora. One of—if not the first female working artist born in the Dominican Republic. At a young age her family moves to Cuba where Adriana studies art at the San Alejandro Academy in Habana. She had a notable career as an artist in Habana, where she opened an art workshop and edited a book for learning to draw. Adriana would also go on to teach art at San Alejandro. In 1927, she traveled to Santo Domingo for the first time to exhibit her work.

Clara Ledesma (1924-1999), born in Santiago de los Caballeros, she is one of the most recognizable names in Dominican art. Her first instructions were at the art academy founded by Yoryi Morel. In 1948, she graduates from the National School of Fine Arts (founded in 1942), where she studied under Josep Gausachs, and where she also teaches—Ledesma also studied art in Paris with a scholarship from the Cultura Hispánica de Madrid. In 1964, Clara Ledesma moved to New York where she lived and worked until her passing.

Notable Female Artist

Adriana Billini (1865-1946), born in Santo Domingo. Daughter of Epifanio Billini (1820-1891), she was the first artist of the diaspora.

Celeste Woss y Gil (1890-1985), born in Santo Domingo. Woss y Gil is the first female master painter. She helped push the education of art in the country. One of the first instructors at the National School of Fine Arts.

Genoveva Báez (1895-1980), born in Santo Domingo. A relatively unknown artist, she studied art under Abelardo R. Urdaneta.

Maria Lora de Dalmasi (1900-1973), born in La Vega. Artist, teacher and social activist. Dalmasi was very involved with education in La Vega and Cotuí.

Delia Weber (1900-1982) was born in Santo Domingo. She was an artist, poet, writer, actor, a teacher and woman's rights activist.

Purita Baron (1924), born in Santo Domingo. A student of Celeste Woss y Gil and a graduate of the National School of Fine Arts.

Marianela Jiménez (1925-2013), born in Valverde, Mao. She studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, and at the workshops of Celeste Woss y Gil.

Soucy de Pellerano (1928-2014), born in Santo Domingo. She was raised in Puerto Plata where she received the first artistic orientation at the academy of Rafael Arzeno.

Nidia Serra (1928-2010), was born in Santo Domingo. Serra was a graduate of the National School of Fine Arts.

Ada Balcácer (1930), born in Santo Domingo. She studied at the National School of Fine Arts. In 1946, she lost her arm in a horse riding accident. Before her accident she dreamed of being a doctor, it was after she lost her arm that art became her focus.

Rosa Tavarez (1939), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. Began her art studies under Yoryi Morel.

Elsa Núñez (1950) born in Santo Domingo. She is a graduate of the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Spain.

Amaya Salazar (1951), born in Santo Domingo. Painter and sculptor, began her studies in Santo Domingo and then continued in Spain and the United States.

Tomasina Tapia (1955), born Santo Domingo. A graduate of the National School of Fine Arts. Lives and works in Mexico.

Olivia Peguero (9161), born in Barahona. She completed a bachelor's degree of fine art studio painting from Florida Atlantic University, Florida; a bachelor's degree in management information systems from Mercy College, New York; and a master's degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University, Florida.

Ines Tolentino (1963), born in Santo Domingo. Studied art in Paris (1980-1985).

Scherezade Garcia (1966), born in Santo Domingo. She is a painter, printmaker and installation artist.

Raquel Paiewonsky (1969), born in Puerto Plata. Multidisciplinary artist, Paiewonsky graduated in 1991 from the Altos de Chavón School of Design in La Romana.

Iliana Emilia Garcia (1970), born in Santo Domingo. She received her AAS from Altos de Chavon/The School of Design in 1989, and a BFA in Communication Design from Parsons The School of Design in 1991.


Photography in the Dominican Republic

Self portrait with Duarte bust (1913-1914), by Abelardo R. Urdanet
Self portrait with Duarte bust (1913-1914), by Abelardo R. Urdaneta

The history of photography in the Dominican Republic, artistic or not, stretches back to the first roots of the national art and national independence, with Epifanio Billini, recognized as the first Dominican born photographer.

In 'History of Dominican Photography,' Jeannette Miller tells us that the earliest records show that the arrival of photography to the country was through Cuban migrants in the early 1850s. A. Hartman is recognized as the first of these migrants to arrive in 1851. In 1861, the Cuban portrait photographer Francisco de Rojas arrived in Santo Domingo and settled in the capital city. In 1872 the Puerto Rican photographer Juan de Torreforte arrives in Puerto Plata, where he opens a shop in 1875.

Notable Photographers from the Dominican Republic

Epifanio Billini (1820-1891), born in Santo Domingo. Considered the father of Dominican Photography.

Julio Pou (1862-1940), born in Santo Domingo. Pou is remembered for his portraits of President Ulises Heureaux (1845-1899).

Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta (1870-1933), born in Santo Domingo. Most prolific of the early photographers. Urdaneta is credited with many portraits, but is most remembered for his self-portraits, and credited with the first photographic self-portrait in the country.

Julio Aybar (????-????), born in Monte Cristi. He opened photography studios in Montecristi, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Moca and San Pedro de Macorís.

Francisco Palau (1879-1937), born in Santo Domingo. He opened Palau Photography in Santo Domingo, and founded an illustrated magazine called "Blanco y Negro" (Black and White), 1908-1930, which not only published artistic photographs, but articles on art and photography techniques. Palau is considered one of the founders of Dominican cinema.

Max Pou (1925-2007), born in Santo Domingo. Documentary filmmaker and photographer, son of Julio Pou.

Juan Pérez Terrero (1933-2016), born in Santo Domingo. Known as the 'April Photographer,' Terrero is remembered for his documentary photography covering the 1965 American invasion.

Natalio Puras Penzo (1934-2010), born in Santiago, better known as Apeco. In 1961, he opened the photo studio Foto APECO in Santiago. In 1962, he presented his first solo exhibition at the opening of the campus of the Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (UCMM) of Santiago, and was director of the Photography Department Dominican Broadcasting for 10 years (1968-1978).

Polibio Díaz (1952), born in Barahona. He studied photography at the University of Texas A&M, USA, where he graduated in Civil Engineering.

Ricardo Briones (1958), born in Santo Domingo. Conservation Photographer with a focus on natural and urban landscapes.

Eladio Fernandez (1966), born in Santo Domingo. Conservation Photographer, he is an Associate Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers, secretary of the board of Fundación Progressio and treasurer of the board of Fondo Peregrino RD. He is a naturalist, author, editor of photography and illustrated children’s books.


The 2nd Spanish Invasion and The National School of Fine Arts (1939-1942)

The National School of Fine Arts of the Dominican Republic (ENAV), was inaugurated on August 19, 1942—founded under the General Directorate of Fine Arts, which was created by Law 311 of July 19, 1940. It is the first state sponsored national institution created specifically for artistic development during the Trujillo era.

The school's first director was the Spanish sculptor Manolo Pascual, with Celeste Woss and Gil, Josep Gausachs and George Hausdorf as some of the first instructors.

Pascual, Gausachs and Hausdorf were members of a group of European artists that found themselves exiled in the Dominican Republic because of the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939). Other notable members of this group of exiles include; Ángel Botello Barros, Eugenio Fernández Granell, Antonio Prats Ventós, Francisco Vázquez Díaz “Compostela”, José Vela Zanetti and Alfonso Vila “Shum."

Many of these Spanish artist found success in the country through their work. But it was Jose Vela Zanetti (1913-1999) that made the biggest impression in the country with his murals and paintings depicting local themes.

The arrival of the Spanish exiles marked an artistic renaissance period for the Dominican Republic—regardless of Trujillo's reasons for accepting the exiles.

The first Contemporaries

This period includes artist born after 1950 and whose artistic flourishing takes place between 1960-1980.

Alberto Ulloa (1950), born in Puerto Plata. He studied painting at the National School of Fine Arts and graduated in 1974. He was a student of Jaime Colson and Domingo Liz.

Elsa Núñez (1950) born in Santo Domingo. She is a graduate of the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Spain.

Fernando Ureña Rib (1951-2013), born in La Romana. He began his painting studies at the School of Fine Arts of San Francisco de Macoris in 1963. He received a scholarship to study at the National School of Fine Arts in 1968, where he studied under Jaime Colson.

José García Cordero (1951), born in Santiago de los Caballeros. He studied at the School of Architecture (UASD), in Santo Domingo, and attended the Workshop of Hernández Ortega in Santo Domingo.

Amaya Salazar (1951), born in Santo Domingo. Painter and sculptor, began her studies in Santo Domingo and then continued in Spain and the United States.

Alberto Lestrad (1952), born in Santo Domingo. He began painting at a young age, having his first solo exhibition at the age of 14 under the guidance of Ramon Oviedo.

Tomasina Tapia (1955), born Santo Domingo, graduate of the National School of Fine Arts. Lives and works in Mexico.

Said Musa (1956), born in Santo Domingo. Painter, sculptor and muralist, he studied under Jaime Colson.

Mariojosé Angeles (1965), born in Santo Domingo. In 1982, he began to study architecture at UASD. After having completed three and a half years in the program, he starts to study painting under Guillo Pérez.

Silvio Avila (1966), born in La Romana. Graduate of UASD and the National School of Fine Arts.

Scherezade Garcia (1966), born in Santo Domingo. She is a painter, printmaker and installation artist.


The Institutions

The opening of the National School of Fine Arts in 1942 marks an important moment of art history in the Dominican Republic—before this period, art depended on local schools, galleries and artist workshops to promote and preserve artistic works.

ENAV is the first national effort created under the General Directorate of Fine Arts—this is followed by The Palace of Fine Arts, which houses The National Theater, The National School of Visual Art, National Folkloric Ballet, National Choir, National Dance School, the office of the National Symphony Orchestra, National Classical Ballet, School of Dramatic Art, The Fine Arts Theater and the National Dance School.

In 1964, the first Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest takes place—with the intention of promoting the development of the visual arts and stimulate creativity in the new generations of artists. This effort is lead by members of the Leon Jimenes family of the Grupo León Jiménes consortium.

In 1976, the Galería de Arte Moderno opens at the Plaza de la Cultura “Juan Pablo Duarte” in Santo Domingo—renamed the Museum of Modern Art in 1992.

In 1982, Altos de Chavon, a re-creation of a Mediterranean style European village located atop the Chavón River in La Romana, opens for a business. In 1983, the Altos de Chavon School of Design opens to students from around the world.

In 1999, the Bellapart Museum opens it's doors in Santo Domingo. The first private museum dedicated to art created in the Dominican Republic. The Bellapart collection includes more than 2,000 works.

In 2003, the Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes opens its doors in Santiago de los Caballeros. The center serves as a museum, housing historical and contemporary works, and an educational cultural center for the Dominican community and tourist. In the same year, Centro Leon publishes the first of eight volumes of Memoria de la Pintura Dominicana by Danilo de los Santos.

The New Generation

This period includes artist born after the 1970s and through the 1990s. This is the group that will influence the generation of artists born in the new millennium.

Notable Artist of the New Generation

Citlally Miranda (1970), born in Santo Domingo. Multidisciplinary artist: drawing, painting, photography, performance, video, installations, and other mediums.

Leonardo Sanz (1971-2017), born in Santo Domingo. Began his life as an artist at a very young age, winning his first award when his was only 10 years old. Studied at Altos de Chavon School of Design. In 1992, he travels to Japan to study illustration.

Kilia Llano (1971), born in Santo Domingo. Painter and muralist, studied at the Altos De Chavón School Of Design, and then Parson School Of Design.

Tania Marmolejo (1975), born in Santo Domingo. She studies Graphic Design and Illustration in Norway, and returns to the Dominican Republic to study Fine Arts at the Altos de Chavón School of Design.

Samuel Gomez (1975), born in Santo Domingo. He is a graduate of The Altos de Chavon School of Design (1997), with distinction, and was awarded a full scholarship to the Parsons School of Design.

Ney Díaz Henríquez (1975-2015), born in Santo Domingo. A graduate of the National School of Fine Arts, APEC, and the Altos de Chavon School of Design.

José Pelletier (1976), born in Santo Domingo. Studied art at the Liceo Musical Pablo Claudio, in San Cristóbal, and at the National School of Fine Arts.

Reyes Ocre (1976), born in María Trinidad Sánchez. Started his art career at a young age, winning his first award at 9 years old. He studied art the School of Fine Arts in San Francisco de Macoris, and at the School of Fine Arts in Santiago.

Fermín Ceballos (1978), born in San Cristóbal. Multidisciplinary artist, graduated from the National School of Fine Art in Santo Domingo in 1998.

Oscar Abreu (1978), born in San Juan de la Maguana. He studied art in his hometown, Spain and in the United States.

Gustavo Peña (1979), born in Santo Domingo. He studied at the Altos de Chavon School of Design and at Parsons in New York City.

Rafael de los Santos (Poteleche) (1981), born in Santo Domingo. Graffiti artist, doodler and DJ.

Niurka Guzman Otañez (1981), born in Santo Domingo. A graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Guzman lives and works in Mexico City.

Paula Saneaux (1981), born in Santo Domingo. B.A. summa cum laude in Advertising, APEC University, Santo Domingo, A.A. summa cum laude and valedictorian in Fine Arts & Illustration, Altos De Chavón School of Design, B.F.A. with Honors in Fine Arts, Parsons The New School Of Design, New York.

Kamalky Laureano (1983), born in Santo Domingo. Hyper-realism artist, studied at the Altos de Chavon School of Design.


The Missing Names

The names missing from the lists included in this article are many. Some may frown at the exclusion of a specific artist, but these exclusions are not deliberate. Many names were added after the completion of each list. A list truly representative of the history and the artists would be impossible to complete, as history never stops.

The two lists which may seem most empty are; The first Contemporaries and Notable Artist of the New Generation. These two lists are the most complicated to complete because of the large amount of worthy artists that fit into these respective periods. Keeping up with an ever growing, ever evolving field is just not possible.

This article is only meant to be an introduction to Dominican art and written in hopes that the reader would be inspired by what he or she read and decide to further research an artist of period.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Please be aware that "History consists of making arguments about what happened in the past on the basis of what people recorded (in written documents, cultural artifacts, or oral traditions) at the time."

Most of what you have read has been compiled from the works of theses historians; Danilo de los Santos, Jeannette Miller, Myrna Guerrero, Cándido Gerón and many more whom may not have been properly credited in the publications read. There is also the efforts from various institutions that have helped to preserve the history; Centro Leon, Museo Bellapart, Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Banco Popular Dominicano and many more, including the Dominican government. And not to forget, the artists themselves.