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Benito Quinquela Martín: the eyes of La Boca

The life of Benito Quinquela Martín, one of the most important plastic artists in our country, seems like a novel.
| 28 January, 2020 |

The life of Benito Quinquela Martín, one of the most important plastic artists that gave our country, is a novel in itself. From the go, his date of birth is unknown, the only thing that is known for certain is that on March 20, 1890 he was abandoned in an orphanage with a note that said “This child has been baptized with the name of Benito Juan Martín”. It was deduced that it would have about 20 days, so it set as a date of birth March 1. The baby was wrapped in a handkerchief cut in half, with an embroidered flower as an ornament. Those who met him claim that his whole life was waiting for his birth mother to show up with the other half of the handkerchief, which never happened.

Until the age of seven he lived in an asylum in San Isidro, a moment in his life which he always referred to as a nebulous, without having clear memories. He had a sad and lonelychildhood, with no father figure and surrounded by nuns. When he grew up, he always cared to clarify that the asylum was clean and spacious and that he never lacked food. I was grateful.

At the age of seven he was adopted by the Chinchella family, who owned a coal shop. From a very young age he worked in the business family, experience that influenced him for life: his port paints, for which it became internationally known, show the hardness of the activity in the neighborhood of La Boca.

Benito becomes Quinquela Martín

Benito never studied painting formally. The fact of being self-taught made many times his colleagues belittle him, preventing him from entering the artistic elite. The critics, enthralled by his talent, did not know where to place it. He earned space by work and discipline, but he also made a difference in every opportunity he had. A clear example of this is your decision to use as the main working instrument the spatula instead of the brush.

Already big, He had a flu that led to hemiplegia. With a lot of effort he recovered part of the mobility of his body, but he never regained his strength and vigor. Unmarried and without heirs, convinced that he could no longer live alone, married to the 84 years with her lifelong secretary: Alejandra Marta Cerruti.

On Tuesday, January 28, 1977, he died of a cardiac complication. He was 86 years old. After the wake in his house and workshop, he was buried in a coffin he had made years ago: “Whoever lived surrounded by color cannot be buried in a smooth box”. On the lid of the coffin he had painted a scene from the port of La Boca. It is not possible to find a more appropriate rest.

ArgentineEstampilla-quinquelastamp, year 1977.
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