Benicio Núñez is born on August 23, 1924, in the province of Corrientes, Argentina. The Mesopotamia region, covering the provinces of Misiones, Entre Ríos,and Corrientes, is surrounded by rivers and lush vegetation. In this land, the artist spends his childhood and adolescence.

Benicio Núñez moves from his native province to Entre Ríos and starts living in an estancia amidst palm trees and rivers.This will be his first experience in the countryside, where he will get to know fanciful characters who lead their lives between the fable and the myth. The fantasy created in this unique land,where image makers grabbed the best of their origins, will be a cultural heritage that the future artist will use in the repertoire of his artistic production.

Núñez arrives inBuenos Airesand settles in Avellanedaneighborhood,next tothe capital city. There, he receives systematic training from Professor Amare.Later, inthe Federal Capital,he will have the opportunity to expand his theoretical and plastic arts knowledge in the context of the geometric non-figurative art represented in the late 40s by a group of internationally renowned artists. This involvement with and recognition of non-figurative art as well as the laws of visual perception will enrich his linguistic background. New windows will open toNúñezin the art field. The free use of space will fully articulate multiple significances.

Benicio Núñez's cultural genealogy can be traced back to the second wave of Argentinevanguards. Tomás Maldonado (Argentinian), a successor of Max Bill’sas a director of The Ulm School of Design, Germany—post-Bauhaus—was his artistic mentor in Buenos Aires city.This association with Maldonado inBuenos Aires will be defining in his ability to understand and practice an art which takes the plastic and compositional elementsof the historic vanguard movements. TheInvention Concrete Art with its prominent figures will endowhis work with compositional and rational support.

The images in his artistic production are highly versatile and rich, and have the singular and unmistakable trait of the artist. Núñezworks on a classic-type support. Although his figures do not present the typical geometric perspective,he conceives the spatial system byjuxtaposing planes. His pictorial technique is mixed. He uses tempera, ink, and black and color pencils based on the need for providing conceptual clarity to the motive inspiring the artist.

This freedom in his execution helps him escape from the established models. This earnedhim a place in the Second InternationalBiennial of São Paulo in1952, where he was awarded with the third prize. There, he was a guest artist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing Argentina. Brazilis one of the countries in the world wherehis workcan be found as part of private and public collections.Later on, Benicio Núñez will participate in the traveling exhibition called “Cincuentaaños de Pintura Argentina” (Fifty Years of Argentine Painting), which will visit several neighboring Latin American countries.

The multiplicity of artistic expressions will find in his work a clear definition within heterogeneity of disciplines where his curiosity and versatility make him a connoisseur of the theater scene. In addition, he plays an important role as an illustrator, performing his most prominent workfor Estanislaodel Campo'sEl Fausto.In this gaucho poem, the character Anastasio el Pollotells Don Laguna the feats of a gaucho who decides to go to the Colón Theaterto attendthe play by Charles Gounod, 1818-1893, premiered in 1886. In Núñez's illustration, the character of the Devil is seen through thenaïfconception of the gaucho, who mistakesfiction with reality. Here, Benicio Núñez'sversion is validated as he useshis real life experience as a countryman, among myths and apparitions, offering a vision bursting with the artist’s fantasyintertwined with reality.

Benicio Núñez dies at the age of 73 leaving an array of multifaceted work and valuable documentation, which reveals not only a cult artist but also an artist who identifies a genrethat proves the status ofa popular art,in whichAmerica has an incomparable richness. This intermixing in Benicio Núñez's workintends topursue the roots of a vocation which is frequent in his creative ability to finally finda style, a way, an identity.


of Benicio Núñez

Acrosshis different production periods from the 70s to the 90s, his work shows a common feature in the use of plastic elements. The line, the plain, and the tonal values span among light and intermediate keys. In the figure-background relationship, black is often used to highlight a clashing mosaic of figures, sometimes interwoven in a manner which is complex, yet easily understood.

Light keysare varied. In some productions, the contrast is perceived through a white background with black outstanding figures and no volumeon it. The expressive deformation is emphasized in his drawing, a plastic feature which is repeated and acts as a geometric containment to stress some humor andplayful irony in the characters. The color is net and homogenous, andonly the use of pencilwill bringsome texture to the plastic surface.