In Memoriam: Gonzalo Morales Sáurez (09/1945-12/2017)

Gonzalo Morales
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been passionate about art, and from an early age my parents did all they could to encourage it. Especially my mother, who always took me to art and painting workshops given by artists in their workspaces.

In 1992 I met the Maestro Gonzalo Morales. I was 17 years old and yes… my mother had contacted him to give me painting lessons. I am so grateful for that today.
I got to his house and in a strong low voice he welcomed me saying, “Let’s see how much you know.” He gave me paper, pastel chalk, an easel and a board and told me to get settled and prepared. I did and when I was ready, he told me, “See that violet on the board? Well, there’s your project… do it.” And I did it. Of course, very nervously, thinking that if I didn’t do it right, he would not allow me back in his workshop. Several hours passed and the results were positive. And that’s how my student-teacher relationship with the Maestro got started.

The grid, the masking tape, the ruler, the graphite, the reference picture, the oil paint, the academy… all that and more was a part of my lessons and the gratifying results.
That first encounter with Don Gonzalo was brief but intense: I learned a lot.
Due to reasons related with my career, I was absent from those art workshops for some time, and in 2010 I had a second chance to contact Don Gonzalo again.

Every Tuesday afternoon until the end of 2016 we met in Galería Valanti. From 2 pm to 5 pm. Six years well spent and enjoyed. We drew, painted, colored with color pencils, talked about art history, Costa Rican art, old school, his life experience… a plethora of topics that would take me forever to write about. 

Those of us who were lucky enough to enjoy sharing with Don Gonza, were blessed and privileged. 

Don Gonza passed away on December 22nd, 2017 while he slept. I never had the chance to say goodbye and with these words I briefly detail what I learned from the Maestro.


To the Maestro

To an extraordinary person, friend and artist.

Warm, loving, cheerful, patient, with a myriad of anecdotes and a brilliant mind. He never forgot a detail, nor a moment, nor an instant. 

I knew him because he was my teacher. From him I learned about the academy, about his work, but from what I learned the most was his humbleness and his capacity to respect the thoughts and artistic language of each one of his pupils.

His absence is deeply felt in my heart. Don Gonza… thank you for your teachings, patience and unconditional support.

He leaves us a great legacy through his work and as a human being. 

Roxana Ramirez, María Nielsen Alvarado, Daniela Vargas, Margarita Solis, Marta Antillón and Gonzalo Morales Sáurez (from right to left)

Important Facts on the Artist:

He was born on July 9, 1945, in the capital city  of San José.
His father, Gonzalo Morales Alvarado (1905-1986), was a painter and teacher, which is why Morales junior was exposed to a great deal of art during his childhood years.

His work is better known in the field of hyper-realism, being one of the most influential painters in Costa Rica in the second half of the 20th century.
In 1970 he had his first expo and he was granted a scholarship to study chalcographic engraving at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, in Madrid, Spain. During his stay in Spain, he also studied at the Romanesque monastery of San Cougat del Valles in Barcelona, ​​where he learned the art of fresco painting. After successfully organizing 3 more expos and being accepted in an important program in Spain, Morales returned to Costa Rica, where he was awarded the National Plastic Arts Award Aquileo Echeverría, as well as the Enrique Echandi Award.
Morales’ artworks depict portraits, scenes with furniture, packing boxes, antique façades, patios, deserted rooms or spaces. Some of Morales’ most famous paintings include”Jacket de cuero”,  which he painted in 1975, and “Retrato de Rosa”, an artwork created in 1996.
Currently, his work can be seen and enjoyed in expositions in Europe and America.
In Costa Rica, his paintings are shown in several places, such as Asamblea Legislativa, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, Museo de Arte Costarricense, Museos Del Banco Central de Costa Rica, among others. He passed away on December 22, 2017.

Leave a Comment