Miami Biennale
Armando Reverón

Art Works
Armando Reverón Marina de El Playón, Macuto, Venezuela, ca. 1943
Tempera and oil on jute, 24 x 31 7/8 inches
From Beyond the Erotic: Invention of Place

Armando Reverón Figuras en El Playón, Macuto, Venezuela, ca. 1943
Tempera and oil on jute, 24 x 31 7/8 inches
From Beyond the Erotic: Invention of Place

Return to: Artist Biographies


Armando Reverón (1889-1954) Caracas, Venezuela. Lived in Caracas, Venezuela. Armando Reverón was a modernist painter of the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of his work was inspired by the coast, landscape and people of Macuto, located in the central coast of Venezuela, and was characterized by his view and expression of the bright luminosity of the tropic.

Early life
Born in Caracas, Reverón was raised in Valencia by a family of Canarian origin, the Rodríguez-Zucca's, who took care of him during his early childhood and sent him to the local salesian school after his parents separated.

His maternal uncle, Ricardo Montilla, who studied art in New York and started to teach him basic painting techniques, was an important early influence to the young Reverón. Also he became friends with their daughter, Josefina, who later became a model for some of his early paintings. However, after a few years he moved back with his mother, Dolores Travieso Montilla, to Caracas. During this time he met a young painter, César Prieto, who convinced him to enroll in the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes, directed then by Emilio Mauri, in order to begin his formal artistic training. At the Academy he studied under Antonio Herrera Toro, Emilio Mauri and Pedro Zerpa. His early talent helped him gain a recommendation by his professors to obtain in 1911 a scholarship to study in Europe, The same year, he travelled to Barcelona where he joined his friend, the Venezuelan painter, Rafael Monasterios at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios y Bellas Artes to study under Vicente Borrás Avella. In 1912, after a brief return to Caracas where he tried to sell a portrait of the art critic Enrique Planchart, he went to Madrid and enrolled in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando to take the classes of Antonio Muñoz Degrein and José Moreno Carbonero; an extravagant artist and teacher of Salvador Dalí In Spain he became particularly captivated by the works of Francico Goya, Diego Velázquez and El Greco.

Blue period
He returned to Venezuela in 1915 and joined the sessions of the "Círculo de Bellas Artes", founded by his classmates of the Academia Nacional, as a way to revolt against the dominant tradition of academic painting, characterized by its historical and literary subject matter. The young painters set up an independent studio without teachers or prescribed aesthetic guidelines and focused their work on the subject of nature. Although Reverón was absent when the Círculo started, the founders considered him an important contributor and member. In 1916, Reverón painted his first landscapes using only blue tonalities, a period of his work that will be later known as the "Blue Period". Shortly afterward, he moved to the city of La Guaira where he lived teaching, drawing and painting. There he met Juanita Mota, during the carnival of 1918 , who became his model and inseparable lifetime companion. Also during that time, Reverón worked with Nicholas Ferdinandov, a painter of Russian origin, whom he met in Caracas the previous year. Following the advice of Ferdinandov, Reverón decided to settle on the coast, initiating a new stage in his life and work.

White period
In 1921, he moved to a farm near the beach, inside a neighborhood of Macuto known as Las Quince Letras. Just a short time later he began to construct the Castillete (or little castle) which would become his home for the rest of his life. His decision to build the Castillete was a symbol of the transformation of his artistic concepts. In this period he adopted primitive habits and broke ties with any kind of city-lifestyle, withdrawing from society in his Castillete. Reverón felt that in this way he could develop a deeper perception of nature and then apply it to his method of painting, such as adopting procedures and materials that appropriately represented the atmosphere of the landscape under the effects of the glare produced by the direct light of the sun. This period of his work is known as the “White Period”, and spans approximately the years 1924 to 1932. Unfortunately, the Castillete, which since 1974 functioned as the Reverón Museum, was almost completely destroyed during the 1999 Vargas mudslides.

Sepia period
In 1933, he received the first important recognition of his work with an exhibition at the Ateneo de Caracas and later at the gallery Katia Granoff in Paris. At the beginning of 1940, he initiated his “Sepia Period”, characterized by the use of linen cloth (coleto) as background for the paintings of the coast and the port of La Guaira which helped him enhance the brown tones constituting the dominant colors of the composition. The themes of his paintings during this time were mainly beaches (playón) and sea landscapes.

Final years
An acute depression crisis forced him to be taken to San Jorge hospital. When Reverón came back to the Castillete, he took refuge in a magical universe, surrounded by objects of his creation such as dolls and animals which gave origin to the last and semi-delirious expressionist stage of his work. He would dress up the dolls and use them as models for his paintings all of whom he named, dressed, made nonfunctional objects for (a telephone, a bottle, crowns) and cared for on an individual basis, possibly a symptom of his schizophrenia and loneliness. This figurative stage was characterized by the use of chalks (creyones) and by the creation of theater plays with his dolls that perhaps helped him recover his emotional balance.

The last of his mental crises took place in 1953, the same year he was conferred the Premio Nacional de Pintura for his Gran Desnudo Acostado, and had to be hospitalized again. In spite of the situation he devoted all of his efforts in preparation for a retrospective exhibition that had been announced for the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas. However, he died suddenly in the "San Jorge" Hospital in Caracas on September 18, 1954.


  • Born in Caracas on May 10. His father was Julio Reverón Garmendia and his mother Dolores Travieso Montilla.
  • Moves to Valencia under the care of the family Rodríguez Hosca
  • Becomes ill from typhoid fever.
  • Studies at the Academia de Bellas Artes de Caracas and obtains a scholarship to continue studying in Spain.
  • Studies at the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid.
  • Travels to France. Works at the Fournier workshop, Chantilly and paints the landscapes around Paris.
  • Returns to Venezuela.
  • Moves to La Guaira. Teaches painting to rich families.
  • Moves to the home of Nicolás Ferdinandov, located at Punta de Mulatos.
  • Begins to use blue tonalities in his work. Meets Juanita Mota, his model, companion and wife.
  • Moves to Las Quince Letras in Macuto.
  • Begins the construction of his residence and workshop El Castillete. Blue Period.
  • Begins the White period, which involves a deeper study of the light.
  • Paints mostly outdoors and constructs his own painting instruments.
  • Stops using oil paintings and uses only pigments prepared by him.
  • Suffers his first nervous breakdown.
  • Paints over cardboard and with fast strokes.
  • Goes back to oil painting and begins the Sepia period.
  • Builds first with dolls and paints female figures.
  • Suffers more nervous breakdowns and is hospitalized.
  • Builds more dolls, furniture, musical instruments, hats and masks.
  • Uses dolls as models and as characters for scenographies.
  • After another nervous breakdown and after treatment returns to painting.
  • Receives the Premio Nacional de Pintura for his Gran Desnudo Acostado.
  • Dies on September 18.

Feature Film
A film based on the life of Reveron, directed by Diego Risquez and starring Luigi Sciamanna as Armando Reverón was released in Venezuela on May 2011, so far the film has received generally positive reviews with special mention to Sciamanna's marvelous performance as Reveron.

In addition, the Venezuelan director Margot Benacerraf made a thirty-minute documentary about the artist, Reveron, released in 1952.


  • El Universal, Staff (2010-07-04). “ Galletas de la Fortuna: Sciamanna sera Reveron en film de Diego Rizquez ( Spanish). Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  • BOULTON, ALFREDO. 1979: “Reverón”. 2ª ed. Editorial Macanao, Caracas – Venezuela.
  • BOULTON, ALFREDO. 1990: “Mirar a Reverón”. Macanao Ediciones, Caracas – Venezuela.
  • BOULTON, ALFREDO. S/F: “Biografía de Armando Reverón 1886 - 1954”. Colección Venezolanos del Siglo XX. Fundación Eugenio Mendoza. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • CALZADILLA, JUAN. 1979: “Armando Reverón”. Ernesto Armitano Editor. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • CALZADILLA, JUAN. y ARANGUREN, WILLY. (comp.) 1979: “Reverón: 18 testimonios”. Lagoven, S.A.
    Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas – Venezuela.
  • CALZADILLA, JUAN. 1981: “Obras antológicas de la Galería de Arte Nacional”. Editorial La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • DÍAZ LEGÓRBURU, RAÚL, (comp.) 1975; “Armando Reverón”, 10 ensayos. Concejo Municipal del Distrito Federal, Caracas – Venezuela.
  • ERMINY, PERAN. Y CALZADILLA, JUAN. 1975: “El paisaje como tema en la pintura venezolana”.
    Compañía Shell de Venezuela. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • FUNDACIÓN ARMANDO REVERÓN. 1992: “Esta luz como para magos: Armando Reverón, visto por Mariano Picón Salas y otros”.
    Caracas –Venezuela.
  • GALERÍA DE ARTE NACIONAL. 1992: “Armando Reverón: exposición antológica”. Fundación Galería de Arte Nacional. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • GALERÍA DE ARTE NACIONAL. 1993: “Armando Reverón 1889-1954”. Fundación Galería de Arte Nacional. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • GALERÍA DE ARTE NACIONAL. 1993: “Donación Miguel Otero Silva. Arte venezolano en las colecciones de la Galería de Arte Nacional
    y el Museo de Anzoátegui”. Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (CONAC) y Fundación Galería de Arte Nacional.
  • LISCANO, JUAN. 1994: “El erotismo creador en Armando Reverón”. Fundación Galería de Arte Nacional. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • MILLAN, CANDIDO.1978: “Educación Artística 2”. Ediciones Eneva. Caracas - Venezuela.
  • MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE CARACAS. 1979: Obras maestras de Armando Reverón.
    Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas. Caracas - Venezuela.
  • MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE CARACAS. 1989: “Reverón en cien años de pintura en Venezuela: catálogo”.
    Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas. Caracas – Venezuela.
  • MUSEO EMILIO BOGGIO. 1976: “Pintura Venezolana. Colección del Palacio Municipal”. Cuadernos de Arte del Museo Emilio Boggie.
  • PAZ CASTILLO, FERNANDO Y ROJAS GUARDIA, PABLO (Coordinadores).1973: “Diccionario de las arte plásticas en Venezuela.
    Graficas Armitano, C. A. Caracas – Venezuela..
  • RODRÍGUEZ, BÉLGICA. 1978: “Reverón: lo mágico y lo oculto”. Fundarte. Caracas.
  • SANTANA, EMILIO. 1969: “Armando Reverón”. Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes, Caracas – Venezuela.
  • SELECCIONES DEL READER’S DIGEST. 1966: “Los grandes pintores y sus obras maestras”. Reader’s Digest. Ciudad de México – México.
  • SERRADIMIGNI, ADRIANO. 1979: “Armando Reverón en biografía: en el 25 aniversario de su muerte”.
    Sala Armando Reverón. Caracas – Venezuela.

Further reading

  • Elderfield, John; Luis Perez-Oramas, Glenn Lowry (2001-03-01). Armando Reveron..The Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 0870707116.