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Quinquela Martín, the artist who invented La Boca

28 January 1977: Benito Quinquela Martín dies.
28 January, 2019

Benito Quinquela Martín, port painter, grew up, lived and died in La Boca: there are those who say that the neighborhood is made in the image and likeness of his paintings. Here are some facts about his life, so you can get to know one of our most popular artists.

  • He was abandoned as a baby in what was the Casa de Niños Expósitos and adopted at the age of 7 by the Chinchella family, of Genoese origin. With time, he changed the spelling of his surname so as not to generate confusion in pronunciation.
  • She worked in the charcoal shop of her parents, which was near the port of Rio de la Plata, before La Boca was as we know it today.
  • He did not have a formal education in Arts: he was a great autodidact, which is why the criticism was not always positive.
  • Instead of a brush, he used a bricklayer’s spoon with polished edges to work.
  • He was a figurative painter, but not a realist, because his compositions came out of his imagination. It is said that Quinquela Martín invented La Boca, since the neighborhood seems delineated in the image and similarity of his paintings.
  • He was a very generous man: he donated land to build schools and health-related establishments, such as the current Don Benito Quinquela Martín Municipal Dentistry Hospital. Later he ceded his works to the State and built the Ribera Theatre.
  • He married at 84 years old with his secretary of all the life, with the only purpose of being able to leave his inheritance to someone.
  • His remains are buried in a coffin with a port that he himself painted: he said that if he had lived between colours, he also wanted to die with them.
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