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Oswaldo Vigas



Caresse Lansberg sits down with world-renowned Latin American artist Oswaldo Vigas in his last interview, two months before his death. He tells the story of his life, helped along by his wife Janine, as he was struggling with the after-effects of a stroke at the time. From his humble beginnings in a lower middle class family in Valencia, Venezuela and his background in medicine, to his 10 years of living in Paris working with some of the most legendary artists in the world, this interview is a thrilling tale of a great artist’s life from start to finish.

Of the interview, Caresse wrote:

"....fue un privilegio muy especial para mi, escuchar a Oswaldo Vigas dos meses antes de su muerte en esta su última entrevista. Nos contó su vida con la ayuda de su esposa Janine que se ocupo de aclarar ciertas cosas en que se confundía por que nunca se recuperó de un ACV que tuvo hace un tiempo. ‎ Oswaldo Vigas fue un gran artista venezolano y universal. Acaba de comenzar en el museo de Arte Moderno de Lima la gran retrospectiva de su obra que viajará a todos los Museos de Latino América durante los prox 2 años. Terminará en Paris la ciudad que amo y que le dio la inspiración para convertirse en el grande que fue."

Oswaldo Vigas (1926 – 2014) was the last of a generation of Venezuelan artists who lived in Paris in the late 50s and 60s and studied at the Paris-Sorbonne. He met and worked with the great masters Picasso and Léger. He and Léger worked in the same studio, and together created the great murals for University City of Caracas, which were designed and coordinated by the great Venezuelan architect Carlos Raul Villanueva. Villanueva had summoned artists such as Jean Arp, Calder, Henry Moore, Léger, Victor Vasarely, and others to create works for this project, known as the “Síntesis de las Artes,” which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Oswaldo Vigas was born to a humble family in Valencia, Venezuela, and came to Caracas at the age of 16 to study medicine. He graduated and became a surgeon, specializing in pediatrics. But since a young age, he had painted and created art. Soon he started collecting prizes for his work, studying medicine by day and painting by night. He won the Alfredo Boulton Prize and the National Prize for the Arts in 1952, winning a trip to Paris where he lived and worked for almost 17 years.

He has had more than 100 solo exhibitions and his work is displayed in some of the world’s top museums and private collections. Vigas’s works have been shown in major museums of the world like the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and many major museums in Latin America from Mexico to Argentina. His paintings, ceramics, sculptures, tapestries, works on paper, and etchings have garnered him many important prizes in the arts and has been recognized as one of the most important Latin American masters of art. He died in April 2014.
 

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Caresse Lansberg hosts, Arte con ESTILO, a Venezuelan radio program of interviews with rising and established artists as well as prominent personalities from the art world. In Venezuala, the show has become a resounding success and a regular feature on Sunday morning programming of Radio VenFM, a quality media outlet. Each segment of the program is accompanied with music carefully selected by Ms. Lansberg and played by a popular DJ with the aim of attracting a younger audience. Ms. Lansberg is working in collaboration with The Clocktower Gallery & Radio to build her Latin audience in the U.S. She interviews musicians, architects, film directors, curators, galerists, art critics, actors, writers, and more in a continued effort to the promotion of art.
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