Mercedes Pardo


Mercedes (Clementina Marta Del Carmen) Pardo

Mercedes Pardo (1921-2005, Venezuela) was born on July 29, 1921, in La Pastora, Caracas, Venezuela. The eldest daughter of Rafael Pardo Becerra and Inés Mercedes Ponte Machado, Mercedes grew up between Isla de Margarita, Los Teques and the Venezuelan capital.

As early as age 7, Mercedes began drawing the landscapes of Antímano, a small town on the outskirts of Caracas, revealing her talent and passion for artistic expression. During her youth, Mercedes Pardo was taught painting, drawing and art by Danish professor Ingeborg Fostberg, along with the nephews of Tito Salas. Mercedes grew up surrounded by artists and works of art, all of which shaped her sensibilities.

At the age twelve, Mercedes Pardo began taking courses at the old Academia de Bellas Artes (Academy of Fine Arts), also called the Santa Capilla School, under the free tutelage of Antonio Edmundo Monsanto, a cousin of her father. Her uncle, Luis Alfredo López Mendez, also a painter, convinces the family to allow the young woman to pursue her vocation for art, with the support of her parents. Before the age of 20, she formally entered the Escuela de Arts Plásticas y Aplicadas de Cararas (Caracas School of Visual and Applied Arts), directed by Monsanto. She completed her studies in 1944.

In 1945, she married Marco Bontá, a stained glass and mural painting professor from Chile. The marriage ended in divorce shortly thereafter. She traveled to Chile to attend the Santiago Academy of Fine Arts (1947), where her first solo show was held. 

In 1949, she was awarded a fellowship by the Government (Ministry of Education), and then moved to Paris to enroll at the École du Louvre, where she studied art history under Cohe de la Ferti and Jean Cassou. During this period, she began producing collages and her first abstract works. In 1951, she married Alejandro Otero in London. 

In 1952, she returned to Venezuela and participated in the International Exhibition of Abstract Art (Cuatro Muros Gallery, Caracas). Abstractionism began to be recognized in Venezuela during the 1950s, and a climate of renewal for both artistic production and education was supported by Caracas University’s implementation of an artistic integration project and by the return of a generation of artists educated in France. Around 1956, Pardo began producing pieces that could be categorized as pre-informalist given their use of a rich pictorial layer, though her work tended toward a formal exploration of color effects. In 1956, she began doing stage sets with Elizabeth Schön’s Interval at the National Theater in Caracas. In 1960, she moved to Paris, where she painted abstract watercolors characterized by their lyrical brushstrokes, drips and blotches that created a highly dynamic artistic space. 

In 1962, she became a founding member of the San Antonio de Los Altos Cooperative School in the State of Miranda, known today as the Community School and initiated its craft workshops, where she also taught. Working in architecture integration, she produced a number of pieces, including a stained-glass window at the La Hoyada station of the Caracas subway (1983), a mosaic mural at the J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital (Caracas) and the ceiling of La Viña Shopping Center in Valencia (Carabobo State). In 1991, she held her most important anthological exhibition, Abodes of Color at the National Art Gallery. During her final years, she worked and lived in San Antonio de Los Altos (State of Miranda).

Mercedes Pardo became one of the most important representatives of abstract art in Venezuela. Her work revolved mainly around painting but also extended to stained glass, enamel on metal, printmaking, integration of the arts projects and theatrical set and wardrobe design. She was also an active and accomplished arts educator.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

1947 | Mercedes PardoSala El Pacífico, Santiago de Chile.
1962 | Guaches y tintas sobre papel [Gouache and Ink on Paper]. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela.
1962 | 36 acuarelas y gouaches. Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas.
1964 | Signes [Signals]. Sala Mendoza, Caracas.
1967 | Signes [Signals]. Librería Cruz del Sur, Caracas.
1962 | Mercedes Pardo. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela.
1969 | 1 x 9, Color de la serigrafía [The Color of Serigraphy]. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela.
1970 | Obras recientes [Recent Works]. Sala Mendoza, Caracas.
1971 | Pinturas de Mercedes Pardo [Mercedes Pardo: Paintings]. Centro de Bellas Artes, Ateneo de Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela.
1977 | Mercedes Pardo, Galeria Pecanis Hamburgo, Ciudad de México, México.
1977 | Obra Gráfica de Mercedes Pardo [Mercedes Pardo: Graphic Works], Traveling exhibition.
1977 | Mercedes Pardo. Espejo inverso [Mercedes Pardo: Inverse Mirror]. Adler Castillo Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela.
1980 | Mercedes Pardo en Margarita. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Francisco Narváez, Porlamar, Venezuela.
1991 | Mercedes Pardo: Moradas del color {Mercedes Pardo: The Abode of Color]. Retrospective. Fundación Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela.
1993 | Obra gráfica de Mercedes Pardo [ Mercedes Pardo: Graphic Work]. National Art Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela.
1994-1995 | Obra gráfica de Mercedes Pardo [ Mercedes Pardo: Graphic Work]. Espacios Cálidos, Ateneo de Caracas. Caracas, Venezuela.
1996 | Mercedes en el Museo Sacro [Mercedes at the Museo Sacro], Caracas, Venezuela.
2000-2001 | Mercedes Pardo 1951-2000. Alejandro Otero Museum, Caracas, Venezuela.
2004 | Mercedes Pardo, Altamira Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela.
2005 | Homenaje a Mercedes Pardo en el día del Artista Plástico (Tribute to Mercedes Pardo on the Day of the Visual Artist). Fundación Museo Alejandro Otero (Alejandro Otero Museum Foundation), Caracas.
2005 | XI Salón de Arte Alejandro Otero. Homenaje a Mercedes Pardo (11th Alejandro Otero Art Salon. Tribute to Mercedes Pardo) (October). Mayor’s Office, Los Salias, San Antonio de los Altos. 
2006 | Mercedes Pardo. Obra gráfica. (Mercedes Pardo. Graphic Work). Galería de Arte Nacional (National Art Gallery), Caracas and Simón Bolívar University, Library Building, Valle de Sartenejas.
2011 | Mercedes Pardo, más allá del color [Mercedes Pardo: Beyond Color]. PDVSA La Estancia. Caracas, Venezuela.
2018 | Mercedes Pardo, más allá del color [Mercedes Pardo: Beyond Color]. Sicardi Ayers Bacino Gallery. Houston, EEUU.

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

1942 | III Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas. New York International Fair, Riverside Museum, New York.
1944 | V Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1951 | Espace-Lumière. Galerie Suzanne Michele, Paris. Abstract art. Gallery Cuatro Muros, Caracas.
1956 | Gulf Caribbean Art Exhibition. Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas. First Exhibition of Abstract Art, Don Hatch Gallery, Caracas. Collages, Gallery Sardio, Caracas. Cristóbal Rojas Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas. XVIII Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1958 | Peinture, Sculpture, Céramiques du Vénézuela. International Fair in Brussels, Belgium.
1959 | V Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1960 | Art Today. Havana Cuba. Living spaces. First collective exposition of informalism, presented in Caracas and Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela. II Inter-American Hall of Painting. City of Barranquilla, Colombia.
1960 | XXI Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1961 | XXII Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1961 | Venezuelan Painting 1661-1961, Museum of Fine Arts of Caracas, also presented in Maracaibo and San Cristóbal, Zulia and Táchira States respectively, Venezuela.
1962| XXI Venice Biennial. 17 Venezuelan Painters, itinerant show presented in New York, Haifa and Tel Aviv.
1962 | Retrospective of Geometric Art, G Gallery, Caracas. L’Art Latinoamericain a Paris. Musée Municipal d’Art Moderne, Paris. XXIII Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1963 | II Armando Reverón Biennial, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas. Acquisitions and Donations, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas. Transition, Galerie D’Art Ravenstein, Brussels, Belgium.
1963 | Córdoba Biennial, Argentina.
1964 | Illustrationen. Staadliche Kunsthalle, Baden Baden. Germany. XXV Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art.
1964 | National Award for Applied Arts (shared with Alejandro Otero) and the Fina Gómez Foundation Award.
1964 | International Exhibition of the Illustrated Book, Baden-Baden, Germany, together with prominent figures in the history of contemporary painting such as Picasso, Miró, Braque, Max Ernst, José Luis Cuevas, Jacques Villon and Raoul Ubac.
1964 | Signes [Signals]. Cruz del Sur Bookstore, and Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas.
1965 | XXVI Annual Official Exhibition of Venezuelan Art. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1965 | Olmos. Donation Miguel Otero Silva. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1965| Original Graphic Works of Venezuelan Masters. Center of Contemporary Art, Caracas.
1966 | International Exhibition of Artistic Craft, Stuttgart, Germany. Enamel Award, shared with Alejandro Otero.
1967 | First Hall Marcos Castillo, Hippodrome La Rinconada, Caracas, Engravings. Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas.
1969 | Collective Exhibition of December. Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas. First Engraving Biennial, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Graph 69. Exhibition Hall, Mendoza Foundation, Caracas.
1970 | Mercedes Pardo: Recent Works. Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas. The Museum and Design 1959-1970, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, 1971 Confrontation 71 Mercedes Pardo, Alirio Palacios and Francisco Bellorín. Ateneo of Caracas. 34 Latin American Stampers. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1972 | Salón Las Artes Plásticas in Venezuela, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1972 | 21 Estampadores latinoamericanos [Latin American Engravers] from Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela; Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1972 | Grafica 4, Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas. Exhibition / Auction of Artworks. Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas.
1973 | 8 Venezuelan Artists. Librería Monte Ávila Gallery, Bogotá, Colombia.
1974 | Grabados y cuadros para la conferencia del mar [Engravings and Paintings for the Conference of the Sea] (mayo 19-26). Sala de Exposiciones Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas.
1974 | XXII Exposición Subasta de Obras de Arte (noviembre 3-13). Sala de Exposiciones Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas.
1974 | Exposición inaugural nueva sede del Museo de Arte Moderno (febrero), Mérida.
1974 |Escenografía y vestuario para la obra Chuo Gil de Arturo Uslar Pietri, dirigida por Alberto Sánchez en el Ateneo de Caracas.
1975 | Panorama of Venezuelan Painting, House of the Americas, Havana, Cuba Tribute to the School of Plastic and Applied Arts of Caracas, Exhibition Hall of the Government of the Federal District, Caracas II Exhibition Exhibition of Works of Art, Palace of Industries “Alejandro Hernández,” Caracas.
1976 | Caracas 1960/1965. Gallery Adler / Castillo, Caracas.
1976 | The Artists and Olivetti. Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas. Works in Small Format of Great Artists. Bookstore Cruz del Sur, Caracas.
1977 | Artists from Venezuela with the Uruguayan people. Gallery Durban, Caracas
1977 | Inaugural Exhibition to the memory of the Barcelona painter Rafael Rosales, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui State. 1977 | New Propositions. Casa de Bello, Caracas.
1978 The Hand, the Silk, the Color. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, itinerant exhibition presented at Garcés Velásquez Gallery, Bogotá, Colombia; and Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Organization of American States, Washington D.C.
1977 | XI World Youth Festival, XX Anniversary Cuban Revolution. Gallery La Trinchera, Caracas
1977 | L’Oeil in Question, Noroit, Arras, France, along with Carlos Cruz Diez and Jesús Soto, among others.
1977 | Small History of Drawing in Venezuela, Current Study, Caracas.
1977 | First Great Durban Auction, Durban Gallery, Caracas. All the artists to the rescue of the Cristóbal Rojas School. Arístides Rojas Humanistic Center, Caracas
1977 | Venezuelan art pays homage to the 20th anniversary of the House of the Americas. Gallery The Wall, Caracas.
1977 | Graphic Venezolana. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas. 1980 Venezuelan Constructive Art. National Art Gallery, Caracas.
1977 | World Print III. Special Edition Purchase Award, San Francisco, California. 1977 | Venezuelan Art Today; Boston 350 years, Boston, Massachusetts.
1977 | Old Engraving, New Engraving, Engraving Always. CANTV Room, Caracas.
1977 | Paintings, Sculptures, Serigraphs of Contemporary Artists, Exhibition Hall Alejandro Ríos, Maracay, Aragua State.
1977 | XXXIII and XXXIV Auction Exhibition of Works of Art. Exhibition Hall of the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas. The Collage in Venezuela. Contemporary Studio Gallery and Center for Contemporary Art, Caracas.
1981 | First National Biennial of Visual Arts: Tribute to Pedro Ángel González. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1983 | II National Biennial of Visual Arts. Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas.
1984 | Graphics, Paintings, Sculptures, Museum of Contemporary Art ‘Francisco Narváez’, Porlamar, Nueva Esparta State, Venezuela.
1984 | I Biennial of Havana, Cuba. 1985 | Sheds of a Generation. Caracas Museum, Municipal Palace of the Federal District, Caracas.
1987 | Graphic works of the Taga: Collection of the Museum of Art La Rinconada. CANTV Exhibition Hall, Caracas.
1987 | The Imagination of Transparency. Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas.
1987 | National Exhibition of Plastic Arts: Guest Artists Section. Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas.
1987 | 50 Years of Painting in Venezuela through the National Awards. Museo de Arte La Rinconada, Caracas.
1990 | Auction at the Yellow House, National Art Gallery, Caracas.
2000 | Art and Dexterity of Engraving in the Collection. National Art Gallery, Caracas. Confrontations. Ateneo of Caracas.
2012 | Sobre papel, ayer y hoy (On Paper, Yesterday and Today) (April 4-May 20). Sala TAC, Caracas.   
2014 | De la abstracción al cinetismo (From Abstraction to Kineticism) (October 31). Banco Central de Venezuela, Caracas.
2017 | Constructing Constructivism (December 1, 2017-October 15, 2018). Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection. Miami, Florida.
2018 | Creadoras latinoamericanas (Latin American Creators) (December). Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art), Caracas.
2018 | Contesting Modernity. Informalism in Venezuela 1955-1975 (October 18, 2018-January 21, 2019). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
2019 | Women Geometers (June 29-September 14). Atchugarry Art Center/Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Miami, Florida.

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