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Nicolás Cuéllar, the painter of San Miguel de Allende

By Hortensia Cuéllar

The Teatro Ángela Peralta Theatre opens its doors to a great exhibit to honor Jesús Nicolás Cuéllar, “The painter of San Miguel de Allende.”

Tribute exhibit with works by artist Jesús Nicolás Cuéllar
Mon, Sep 10, 6:30pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
Cnr Hernández Macías & Mesones
The exhibit will run from Wed, Sep 5, to the end of September

I, his oldest daughter, write this article to tell you about his life. I remember him with immense affection. Now I realize that I loved him and always admired him but I very rarely said it to him. Why? Because there was banality on my part which I now regret. I remember him, I mean, I can still see him…always so elegant, always smiling, wearing light color clothing which he loved, always so clean and always wearing a hat, which he always carried with him. My mother tells me that since she met him in the forties of the last century he already wore a cap, which covered part of the thick hair that he always had. He told me that for him it was a symbol of elegance and more so when he had to go somewhere. He used to walk— not so slow, not so fast—with a normal step for any man of his age and condition. I never saw him running. To me he was an aristocrat of the spirit by his internal refinement.

His image, sitting on a bench at the Jardín of San Miguel de Allende, is typical. Every day throughout his life, leaving his home on Calle de Jesús he strolled to the Jardín—around 1pm—after painting for several hours in the morning.

“Master,” as his local and foreign colleagues call him when visiting him in the house where he was born and lived his entire life in the center of San Miguel.

Hundreds of artists of Mexico and the world passed by his studio, wanting to know more about “Nicolás, the teacher” and his original surrealism full of magic and creativity, where there is a mixture of the traditional and the pre-Hispanic, medieval and Biblical scenes, oneiric and unconscious topics, aesthetic fantasies and the human condition.

In his work, the key witness of his creations, it was the parish of San Miguel de Allende, which became its own icon for him as an artist. Those who knew him perceived a huge sensitivity that led him to be a creator of universes, with a global spread of originality. However, the artist in his simplicity wrote in an autobiographical note that he simply wanted to be “a harlequin and a goblin, a magician and an artist, a chess pawn and a king,” as an artist. For us, there is no doubt; he is the painter of San Miguel Allende! And from here…of the world.

In his works he combines beauty of form with the freedom of the combination of colors, lines, psychological and magical inventions, extracted from the subconscious, that make him a “chosen one” of painting, one of those who make history and who will be moved to history. In 1957, when Diego Rivera saw some of my father’s lithographs, he exclaimed, “Nicholas will be a monster of painting.”

Nicolás Cuellar without his paintings is not Nicolás, and the painting without Nicolás is incomplete. It would need the artist born in San Miguel who showed his great talent and originality with the brushes, its stock of paintings and his easel since childhood.

His works have been purchased by collectors from different parts of Mexico, United States, England, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Central and South America.

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