ROLANDO GUILLERMOPRIETO, 1938-2013

ROLANDO GUILLERMOPRIETO, 1938-2013

On June 8, 2013, Mexico lost a talented artist and brilliant lecturer, Rolando Guillermoprieto, who died in Cuautla,Morelos after a long and courageous struggle with cancer.

rolando-guillermoprieto

RGP crepusculo

CREPUSCULO

He was born in Mexico City in 1938 but lived in Miami, Florida, London,England, and Nassau Bahamas, among other places.  He studied at St. Bernardine’s College, in Buckingham, 52 miles from London, a boarding school run  by the Franciscans. At age 17 he lived with his brother in Laredo, Texas and began painting. Returning to Mexico City in 1957, he met numerous important artists and began to define his own style.  After further travels to the Bahamas in 1963 and marriage to his wife, Jacqui, he returned to Mexico in  1968 and opened the gallery Calmecac in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

RGP   nuevo mundo

NUEVO MUNDO

In Cuernavaca he met Ivan Illich who invited him to teach Mexican history and culture at CIDOC (Intercultural Documentation Center). He also lectured at Centro Bilingue (now part of Universidad Internacional) where he taught art history and was commissioned to paint the mural “Cosmovision.” He also lectured at the Spanish Language Institute and and to numerous public groups.

RGP  mensajero

MENSAJERO DEL SOL

In 2004 he moved to Cuautla, Morelos where he taught courses on painting and muralism in his studio and collaborated with a study abroad program of Earlham College. His Omeyocan Workshop students created 9 murals, all donated to the local Social Security Institute.

His colleagues remember him as a brilliant lecturer with a quick wit and gregarious personality.  Condolences to his wife Jacqui and family. His web page has not been updated but we hope it will soon be a memorial to his talents. All photos courtesy of his web site  (www.rguillermoprieto.com.mx).

James J. Horn Ph.d.  Associate Professor Emeritus, History
State University of New York College at Brockport
Villa Golondrina, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

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12 thoughts on “ROLANDO GUILLERMOPRIETO, 1938-2013

  1. I was not familiar with the work of Guillermoprieto. Thank you for writing about him. Reading Ivan Illich, on the other hand was a big influence on my life and especially my parenting.

    BTW it dawned on me recently that my fall 1978 study abroad program in Cuernavaca was through SUNY New Paltz, not Brockport.

    • hi Marilyn For the SUNY program in Cuernavaca, students registered on their own campuses but the direction of the program was always in Brockport except for a brief period when Binghamton shared the administration and sent a resident director once or twice. The mural by Rolando was not on the campus in 1978 when you were there and I am not sure if he was giving minicursos then.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Ah! That explains my confused memory. I do also recall, vaguely a day when we had a very special guest lecturer… and suddenly a flurry and a cessation of teaching – something that seemed, at the time, like “official” intervention and censorship, but I was not far beyond the, “dame una regleta roja, por favor” stage, so it all went over my head.

      • For some reason I Googled Rolando Guillermoprieto today and was saddened by the news of his passing. I met him in 1994 where he was teaching Mexican history in a language school I attended. I was intrigued by a huge painting of a firebird that hung on the wall of the classroom and inquired about it. It was his, of course and we began discussions about art and travel. Before I left, Rolando invited me to visit him & his family in Cuatla and I spent a most memorable afternoon with them. His mother, a fascinating woman, was quite elderly and served as the consul from Mexico to the Bahamas in the 1940s. She had worked many years on the family tree and linked them back to France. There is a famous painting in the Louve with their ancestors in the Marie Anoinette period with the huge skirts and white powdered wigs. (Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of i but Rolando’s mother had a print of it in her apartment.) We spent a little time on the roof of one of the buildings in the compound where he lived enjoying a glass of wine. watched “Popo” smoking and debating when the volcano would finally explode. I purchased a painting from him that I treasure — both as a marvelous work of art and a fond memory of my day in Cuatla. Rolando was extremely knowledgeable of Mayan & Aztecan history and contemporary Mexican muralists. I believe he considered himself a muralist above all else–at least at the time I knew him. The class from my language school traveled with him to Mexico City and he gave us an unforgettable lecture on the murals of Bellas Artes, la Universidad and other historical sites. RIP my friend.

  2. I only had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, I know Jackie however, and his son and his family. They are a wonderful family and my thoughts are with them at this sad time. I only wish I had seen his work before, his paintings are fabulous and I would have liked to tell him so. I hope they find some strength to get through this awful time and find some comfort in the legacy he has left behind for so many.

  3. Newcomers asked me to forward their comment to Rolando’s wife Jackie: The Board of the Newcomers Club of Cuernavaca extends its sympathy to you and your family on the death of your husband. Our members thoroughly enjoyed Rolando’s presentations and lectures and had asked us for more in the future. We are very grateful to have been able to benefit from his great talent and passion.

  4. Tuve el placer y fortuna de conocer al profesor Rolando en nuestros años de docencia en Centro Bilingue en Cuernavaca…Mi corazón y pensamientos están con todos en su familia y admiradores!

  5. The painter Rolando Guillermoprieto was born in Mexico of a Mexican father, but he was raised in England, his mother was English, his wife English. He returned to Mexico as a teen ager. He had Mexican citizenship and tried to integrate himself into Mexico’s culture. Anthropologists claim that it is impossible to be bi-cultural. You are mainly determined by the cultural system you are raised in. But Rolando came as close to bi-culturality as anyone I have ever known. He never lost his impatience with people who stand you up or come late, and he never reconciled himself to the casual Mexican acceptance of corruption that permeates our culture. But he learned Mexico’s history, put some of its themes into his painting, and expressed idealism in his lectures to students. His mastery of Spanish was impressive, his diction perfect. Rolando said what he thought. In this cultural system you don’t do that. Mexicans wear masks. Some of my friends didn’t like him. His painting aroused pros and cons, but I can’t say anything about it since I’m color blind. For forty years I have lived in this excolony Mexico where three centuries of the Inquisition has shaped a culture of lying, of masks, of “indirectas”, of hypocrisy, of fantasy, of political sonambulism. Rolando used to tell me that “Mexico is surreal.” If that is so, then his figure is a flash of realism in a painting by Salvador Dalí. He spoke the truth.

  6. I am saddened to read that Rolando Guillermoprieto Plant passed away last year. If I am not mistaken, date wise, my wife and I cut our vacation short in the summer of 1968 or 1972 to buy the two most expensive paintings on exhibit at a one-man show of Guillermoprieto’s paintings at an art gallery in Saltillo, Mexico. The signed paintings are: EL PRIMER DIA and HATHOR ASCENDING (Both 27 3/4 ” x 39 1/2″) . On the back of the frames is written: 6/68 TIUTEPEC MORELOS, and also have his signature on the frames. He later sent me photographs of other paintings that were available at his studio. Unfortunately, I did not make any additional purchases. I have no idea as to their worth now. I wish I could’ve posted photos of the paintings

  7. I was so sad to hear a few years ago of Rolandos death. I have 8 of his paintings dine in the 1969s when we were in the Bahamas.
    6 of them hang in my sitting room today, knew in my sons house (too large for my home) and my daughter has a collage. Happy memories of .rolando and Jacki in The sunshine . Elisabeth Smith

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