1913. May 24, 6:00 A.M. He was born in Havana, Cuba, in the district of Arroyo Naranjo (Civil Registry of Havana, Volume 15, Folio 532). “One year before the First World War started.”
1919. His art training began at the age of six. He took violin lessons. He defined his true vocation: painting.
1922. He obtained his first prize in a contest of Havana’s newspaper El Mundo with a Portrait of his sister Arita (pencil drawing). “From that moment on I was liberated from the violin.”
1924. Around the age of eleven he confirmed his penchant for painting. In those days he began to take lessons from Antonio Rodríguez Morey, professor at San Alejandro Academy and director of the National Museum. He took part in a contest and won a prize with a drawing of a working woman who, according to José Gómez Sicre, somehow recalls the aura of the juvenile drawings by Toulouse Lautrec”.
1925. At the age of twelve he entered San Alejandro Academy, which he abandoned a year later in search of a more independent work.
1926. He entered the printing shop of Diario de la Marina as retouching worker and illustrator. According to Gómez Sicre, he worked with an "external cubism" of obliged angularity. He also collaborated with his illustrations in the Literary Supplement of Diario de la Marina until 1930.
1930. He made journalistic illustrations for the weekly Orbe, whose editor-in-chief was José Antonio Fernández de Castro. He drew for other publications. His work became known in the USSR; he was requested drawings for a monthly journal in Moscow.
He presented his first solo show in the Sala Merás y Rico, located in Paseo del Prado, Havana. “The works I exhibited on that occasion consisted of large drawings made with charcoal (Conté crayon) and some with pastel. In them I reflected the visual experiences I had accumulated from the contact with that environment and from the restlessness that emerged from the Island through its political and social struggles, which were gradually invading all the spaces of daily activities”.
He met Federico García Lorca during the great Spanish poet’s sojourn in Havana. They were to meet again, years later, in Madrid.
1932. He presented a solo show of drawings at the Lyceum Lawn Tennis Club of Havana.
He made illustrations in Art Deco style for two articles included in the centennial issue of Diario de la Marina.
Late in June he sailed to Spain “in a German ship named Sierra Ventana. I was traveling in third class, but despite the lack of comfort and the long trip it was a great adventure for me”.
In Madrid he worked in the Marciega workshop of commercial propaganda; he designed brochures and posters. He made interior decoration for night clubs and other places. He illustrated the magazine Octubre, which was directed by Rafael Alberti. He made revolutionary posters and continued painting social themes.
He took drawing lessons at the prestigious San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Madrid, created in 1752 and today regarded as second most important art gallery in Spain.
1933. He was repeatedly arrested by the Spanish police because of his frequent presence among the revolutionary leftist groups. He was imprisoned in Madrid’s Cárcel Modelo.
He made the vignettes for Barraca de Feria, by José Antonio Fernández de Castro.
1934. He starts a friendship with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in one of the gatherings of intellectuals he attended in Madrid. “Meeting this poet who came from Chile was a novelty for me. Later, several friends told me he had arrived in a special mission of the Chilean Consulate (in Spain)”.Only the death of the great poet put an end to such brotherly relationship.
He strengthened his friendship with Federico García Lorca. “We met at La Barraca, an itinerant theater group organized by the poet in Madrid. He had been given the task of performing classic theater plays in the Spanish villages”.
He frequently traveled across the Spanish countryside in the van that carried the ensemble, together with Lorca, Rafael Alberti and María Teresa León. “I remember we went as far as ‘El Escorial’, where there was a group of very interesting and entertaining young actors”.
1935. He returned to Cuba. At the Lyceum he exhibited some of his strongest impressions in Spain on autochthonous tourist and picturesque aspects. The works on Spanish types and customs were still signed Karreño.
1936. He made the stage decoration for a Pro Arte Musical ballet. He painted large decorative panels for a Commercial and Industrial Fair in the Rancho Boyeros fairground, in Havana; the theme was the sugar industry, and the form, according to Gómez Sicre, one that recalled Diego Rivera with no angular shapes. He traveled to Mexico. Making further changes, he left aside the anecdotic element of sugarcane cutters and workers in overalls. He became acquainted with the Duco technique and employed it.
““I was very much impacted by the huge dimensions; not only by Diego’s (paintings), but also of those by the other masters, Orozco and Siqueiros. They reminded me of the grandiosity of Italian Renaissance, particularly Rivera’s frescoes in the Agricultural School of Chapingo.”
That same year he met Diego Rivera in his workshop in the suburb of San Ángel.
He came in contact with Dominican painter Jaime Colson, “his sole teacher of maturity” according to Gómez Sicre, who was determinant in this new orientation and in many of the successive variations to be undergone by Carreño’s work.
And Gómez Sicre added: “Long months in Mexico, under Colson’s vigilant discipline, produced a Carreño who was very sure of himself, who was very conscious of painting, making those ochre canvases of stoutly built, prototypical nudes…” One of them, of extraordinary classic accuracy, signed Karreño /37, obtained a prize at the Second National Painting and Sculpture Exhibition of the Cuban Ministry of Education, held in June 1938 at Castillo de La Fuerza in Havana (Coll. National Museum, Havana).
He suffered when he heard of the horrible execution of poet Federico García Lorca one night in Grenada, the 18th of
The Spanish Civil War broke out, which was to oppose conservatives and republicans.
He obtained the National Prize of Painting in Havana, Cuba. After a brief stay in Havana, he again traveled to Europe.
1937. In Paris: “Ever since I arrived in Paris my astonishment had no limits; everything was marvelous.”
Shortly after his arrival in Paris he received the news of a startling event.
Criminal bombardment of the Basque town of Guernica.
The Spanish Republican Government reacted immediately, entrusting maestro Pablo Picasso with the painting of a mural to respond to that barbarian act.”
“Picasso had begun the painting in the studio or workshop he had at 7 Grands Agustín Street, in Paris, and to the initial sketches, which were about fifty, he gradually added different ideas until having a canvas of three and a half meters by seven and a half meters (3.49 x 7.76) which he entitled Guernica, to clearly show his ‘hatred of those who have sunk Spain in an ocean of grief and death’” .
He obtained the Prize of Honor of the Official Salon of Havana.
1938. In Paris, Colson was his guide and tutor. The neo-classic vision and exercise of forms and content shown by Carreño gained a more personal and original style. The pre-Renaissance Florentine and Venetian schools drew his attention.
He studied the great classic paintings in the Louvre. He showed more concentration in the representation of the human figure: volumes motivated him, and it seems as though he attempted to eternalize the forms in their perfection and beauty.
He entered the Julien Academy, where he received the teachings of Professor Jean Souverbie.
He took some courses at the École des Arts Appliqués of Paris, where he learned the fresco technique.
He participated in the II National Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Castillo de La Fuerza, Havana, Cuba.
He developed a strong friendship to Oscar Domínguez, a surrealist painter, and Onorio Condoy, a sculptor. The latter introduced him to Pablo Picasso.
He took part in the Second National Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, of the Ministry of Education of Cuba, held in June of that year at Castillo de La Fuerza, Havana, and obtained a prize in it.
Enthusiastic due to the strong friendship he had developed to Carreño, Jaime Colson visited Cuba and became acquainted with the cultural atmosphere of the Island. He exhibited 30 paintings of different techniques, predominantly oil, at the Lyceum of Havana. The sample was presented by José María Chacón y Calvo, master in Philosophy and Literature (Santa María del Rosario, Cotorro, October 29,
1892-Havana, November 8, 1969), outstanding Hispanicist, scholar and promoter of Cuban culture. Following the good reception granted to this exhibition, Colson spent some months in Cuba, during which time he also engaged in teaching.
1939. Together with Jaime Colson and Costa Rican Max Jiménez he exhibited in the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris. The exhibition was visited in April by the famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, who was highly impressed, describing it as extraordinary and Carreño’s work as excellent. One of his paintings went to the Jeu de Paume museum, and another was purchased by French intellectual Albert Sarraut.
When the war broke out he traveled to the French Riviera and Italy. He arrived in Florence and Naples; he visited the Gallery of Crafts and Pompeii. About that trip, Gómez Sicre assures that the Pompeian frescoes made Carreño approach the Picasso of the 1920s he had met in Paris, which led him to think that the young Cuban artist should come in contact with the classics”.
And certainly, the neoclassicism of Mario Carreño became richer, a process that was to become evident in his painting, and sometime later, in his art reviews.
In June he participated in important group exhibitions like the ones presented in the Royal Gallery of Paris and the Riverside Museum of New York.
September 1: outbreak of the Second World War after Germany invaded Poland. Two days later, England and France demanded Germany’s retreat from Poland. Germany refused. England and France declared war to Germany. Within a week, other countries took sides. Germany devastated Europe, crushing Poland, Denmark, Luxemburg, Holland, Belgium, Norway and France. Italy joined the group.
1940. He returned to Cuba from Italy, where the phantom of war was also threatening him. He sailed in a ship called Rex, which made its last trip at the height of the war. But during the ship’s scheduled transit in New York he suddenly desisted from resuming the journey and settled down in Greenwich Village, in Bleeker Street. “My idea was to return to Cuba, but when we arrived in New York I had to change plans. Everyone insisted on my staying, since according to them, Manhattan offered many opportunities to artists.”
He left a large number of paintings in Paris; Harlequin, a work that impacted maestro Picasso, was the only one he took to the United States.
He visited the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Frick Collection, enriching with the huge collections treasured by these and other North American museums.
He painted with extreme economy of inks. “A persistent shade of pink earth sometimes is very wisely contrasted with intense blues in the background. It is the period of large still lifes and large nudes without a location or temporariness. He paints cages, guitars, horses, beaches, infinite plains”.
In Cuba, his work Nude or Study (1937), awarded in 1938, was included in the important group exhibition 300 Years of Art in Cuba held in the University of Havana.
1941. He exhibited oils, gouaches and drawings in Perls Galleries of New York; sales increased and critics were very favorable to him.
He returned to Cuba.
He exhibited in the Lyceum Club of Vedado. On the inauguration day he met María Luisa Gómez Mena, whose Oriental beauty captivated him.
He participated in the Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Art held in the National Capitol on the occasion of the Second American Conference of National Commissions for Intellectual Cooperation.
He married María Luisa Gómez Mena. The civil wedding took place at the Notary of Dr. José Bernal del Cueto Fernández on October 9, 1941 (Leaf 59 – Volume 427 of the Civil Register of the North, today Civil Register of La Habana Vieja, Havana).
1942. The Havana Lyceum hosted him again. He included oils and gouaches in the show, which, according to Diario de la Marina had been painted in Paris, New York and Havana. His work had been gaining greater dramatic force. This exhibition informed the Island of the maturity attained by his art. The selection included the oil The Cyclone, which was purchased later on by the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA).
In Havana he met with Pablo Neruda and his wife, Delia del Carril.
He carried out some remarkable projects in the cultural scene of those days. He traveled across Cuba and fixed his residence at Sibarimar beach, near Havana; he became familiar with the surroundings and reflected them in his seascapes, fishermen, fish, creating a new repertoire. In it you could also perceive the effects left in him by a closer contact with colonial architecture and the Afro Cuban tradition, which offered incalculable possibilities still unexploited by him up to that time.
He began a process of painting “rediscovery” of his country.
He participated in a group exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art, Boston, Massachusetts.
1943. He resumed the Duco, interested in mastering it fully, for which purpose he came in very close contact with this technique through the work being performed by David Alfaro Siqueiros, who was living at the Carreño-Gómez Mena home in Cuba. He experimented with this material and took advantage of its rapid drying, even adding to it pieces of shells, cloth and rope. Guy Pérez Cisneros wrote in the magazine Grafos, published in Havana: ‘The Duco is grieving flesh and has its own will”.
He exhibited at the Boston Modern Art Institute.
He took part in the Exhibition of Modern Cuban Painting and Sculpture at the Hispanic Cuban Cultural Institution, Havana, Cuba.
He was included in a group exhibition of the Latin American Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
1944. Alfred H. Barr Jr., first director of the Museum of Modern Art of New York visited Havana, staying at the Carreño’s. The idea of making a book on Cuban painting came up; the expenses were covered by María Luisa Gómez Mena and the edition was directed by José Gómez Sicre under the title Pintura Cubana de Hoy / Cuban Painting Today.
The Sunday gatherings at the Sibarimar house became more frequent, attended, among others, by Felipe Orlando and his wife, writer Sara Hernández Catá; Ernest Hemingway, “who always arrived in a big boat”, as well as Manolo Altolaguirre and his wife, Concha Méndez. (17)
The Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA) purchased the piece entitled The Cyclone for its permanent collection.
He traveled to New York with the purpose of completing the preparation of the exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He traveled with Gómez Sicre while waiting for the arrival of María Luisa, who lacked a visa.
The Cuban Embassy in the United States announced that María Luisa definitely would not travel to that country because “she was been married in Spain, for the first time, to an officer of Franco’s army. There are serious accusations against him made by the Republican Army. The visa has been denied”.
In the absence of one of its main promoters, the great expo Pintores Modernos Cubanos / Cuban Modern Painters was inaugurated in the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA), organized and cured by José Gómez Sicre. The exhibition was made up by 75 oils, drawings and watercolors by thirteen renowned masters of Cuban painting, among them Fidelio Ponce, Amelia Peláez, Carlos Enríquez and Cundo Bermúdez.
María Luisa decided to close the Paseo del Prado gallery in Havana and traveled to Mexico.
A gradual deterioration of the Carreño matrimony began to take place, being inevitably dissolved on December 11, 1944; the sentence was made effective by the first level court of the north of the city of Havana on March 5, 1945, as registered in the Civil Registry of the North, today Civil Registry of La Habana Vieja, in Havana (Leaf 225 – Volume 74).
Carreño lectured at the New School for Social Research in New York. He met María Luisa Bermúdez.
1945. Carreño was invited by Mr. Dewitt Peters, director of the Centre d’ Art de Haiti, to bring an exhibition to that art center in Port-au-Prince, where a show on Cuban painting was to be held. “But the day when I was supposed to leave for Haiti I received a telex from Mr. Peters informing me that I should not travel because a revolution had broken out in that country, this being a further contribution to the history of American surrealism. Those were the days of President Gérard Lescot. Years later I traveled through that country, but no traces were left of the Centre d’ Art and Mr. Dewitt Peters had died”.
He exhibited part of the works destined for Haiti at The Pan American Union of Washington D.C.
He regularly visited the National Gallery museum, where he found true treasures of Italian primitive art.
He exhibited at the Museum of Art of San Francisco, California.
He took part in the First Salon “Vicente Escobar”, Salons of the National Anti-Fascist Front, Acera del Louvre, Havana, Cuba.
His works were included in the painting collection of the Cuban Legacy in Moscow, Russia.
1946. He worked with great dedication in his New York studio. He maintained constant communication with Havana.
He continued to have contact with the New School for Social Research in New York.
He exhibited in the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City.
He obtained the purchasing price of the Modern Publicity Contest, sponsored by the Container Corporation of America, in Chicago.
He was part of the expo 11 Cuban Painters, presented in La Plata Museum of Fine Arts, National Exhibition Halls, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1947. His painting began to show quite a personal style, “detached from the compositional effect drawn or inherited from the classic Renaissance background that appeared since I arrived from Europe. It became less heavy, introducing some color surfaces where tropical characters gradually emerged who could be peasants, plants or animals forming like a network of less complicated drawings with a basic design, which could recall pre Columbian tapestries and forms”.
During a brief stay in Havana and shortly before departing for Santiago de Chile, Carreño participated in a group exhibition of paintings organized in August at the Nautical Casino of Cojímar, in Havana, under the title of Colors and People from Cojímar, where, in addition, pieces by Cundo Bermúdez, Leopoldo Romañach, Luis Martínez Pedro, Felipe Orlando, Carlos Enríquez, Víctor Manuel, Enrique Labrador Ruiz, Alfredo Lozano and Armando Maribona were exhibited, as well as by Max Jiménez, a solo show of whom was initially conceived to take place there but was not carried out due to his ever more critical health condition that led to his death shortly after this exhibition, on May 3, in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Pan American Union in Washington edited a monographic work of his creation, with a text by art critic José Gómez Sicre.
He exhibited again in Perls Galleries, New York: Carreño: Recent Paintings.
1948: First visit to Chile.
He exhibited in the Pacific Hall in Santiago. He was fascinated by the beauty of the landscape with the huge mountain chain of Los Andes, “which erases the horizon”.
Due to the intense cold he got ill with pneumonia. “I was so cold that the only thing I wished was to be at a Cuban beach and tan in the ardent tropical sun, under a palm tree”.
He exhibited in the Chilean North American Institute, Santiago de Chile.
Moderna, Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela.
1949. He felt a great “need of the Tropics, and my nostalgia for the Caribbean had no limits. From that nostalgic experience emerged the book Antillanas, published that year by the Pacífico Publishing House. Later, as time went by, those drawings became themes for watercolors and oils, which I exhibited in different galleries”.
He took advantage of Santiago’s proximity to Buenos Aires and exhibited his paintings in the Samos and Bonino gallery, in the Argentinean capital.
He returned to New York yearning to paint and “ponder”’ over South American memories. He rented a studio that belonged to engraver Peterdy. It was located opposite Central Park (370 Central Park West). In his autobiography he recalled that the workshop was so roomy that, in addition to painting, it was possible for him to teach there, as a form of improving his economy.
In New York he found a very different atmosphere from the one he had left two years before. Now, according to him, the atmosphere was tense as a result of the Korean War and ‘McCarthy’s’ precautions. In connection with this, the New School for Social Research had only a few students left. Some murals painted by maestro Clemente Orozco had been covered.”
He took part in the expo Painting. Sculpture. APEC. Lyceum, Havana, Cuba.
1950. He developed an interest for abstract painting at a time when international art was opening its doors to action painting and Pollock was making the news with dripping. Abstract art was dominated by Mondrian, Albers, Moholy-Nagy.”
“Indeed, something quite different to what I had left behind when I left in 1948. It was only natural that, with such an environment, my painting would also gradually transform into more bare forms; my humble “guajiros” (peasants) derived to the geometrical trend. Everything headed to the square.”
He exhibited some of his recent pieces in The New School for Social Research, New York.
He took part in the Fourth National Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, Centro Asturiano, Havana, Cuba.
1951. He exhibited in Perls Galleries, New York.
He returned to Cuba. He worked as a professor in San Alejandro Academy.
He carried out several private commissions, among them a mural in Havana Hilton hotel, which was erased by the authorities some time later. “My painting was becoming ever more abstract; however, I wanted to grant it a strong Caribbean undertone…”
Medal of Honor at the Inter American Art Exhibition of the University of Florida.
He exhibited in the Lyceum, Havana, Cuba, and in the Art Gallery of Matanzas, Cuba.
He participated in the group exhibition Art cubain contemporain, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France.
He participated in the Fifth National Salon of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, Centro Asturiano of Havana, Cuba.
He participated in the I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de Sâo Paulo, Trianon, Avenida Paulista, Sâo Paulo, Brazil.
He participated in Lateinamerikanische Kunst der Gegenwart, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Essen, in Germany.
1952. Fulgencio Batista’s military coup overthrew President Prío Socarrás three months before new elections were convoked. Carreño lost his post at San Alejandro Academy. “But since I wanted to remain in Cuba, I resisted the temptation of returning to New York.”
The show Carreño and Portocarrero was inaugurated in Galería Alcora, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He participated in the XXVI Bienal di Venezia, Venice, Italy.
He participated in the exhibition 7 Cuban Painters, Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.; Boston Contemporary Art Institute, Boston, Massachusetts; J.B. Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; Ottawa National Gallery, Ottawa, Canada.
1953. His works were among those of Cuban painters sent to the Second Art Biennial of Sâo Paulo, Brazil. “In addition, I went on publishing an art magazine entitled Noticias de Arte, which in those days proved to be very necessary in Cuba as general information on the art events in the country and abroad.”
He participated in the Sixth National Salon of Painting and Sculpture, Halls of the National Capitol, Havana, Cuba.
He won the acknowledgment of the critics and collectors at the Second Art Biennial of Sâo Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, Sâo Paulo, Brazil.
His work was present in the International Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1954. His pieces remained in the International Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He participated in the Contemporary Cuban Art. Tribute to José Martí exhibition, Lyceum, Havana, Cuba.
He was invited to the First University Art Festival, University of Havana, Cuba.
He obtained the National Prize of Painting of the Official Salon of Havana.
1955. His paintings were generally defined by some essential characteristics: the absence of facial features in his characters, particularly in the feminine figures; recreation of Renaissance style windows, open to the landscape and through which elements from the “outside” penetrated in a subtle, natural way into the compositions, as well as other discordant or strange objects that set his creations in surrealist environments. Geometry also became part of his iconographic work.
1956. He exhibited in the Gulf Caribbean Art Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, Texas; Fine Arts Museum of Dallas, Texas; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts; Williams-Proctor Munson Institute, Utica, New York; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado.
His work was included in Recent Paintings from Cuba. Roland de Aenlle Gallery, New York.
Luis Oyarzún, Director of the Art Department at the University of Chile, offered him a two-year contract to give courses on The Evolution of Current Art.
He obtained the Guggenheim International Prize, New York, United States.
1957. He participated in the IV Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de Sâo Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, Sâo Paulo, Brazil.
Contemporary Drawings from Latin America, Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.
Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Painting, University of St. Thomas of Vilanova, Havana, Cuba.
Carreño 1950-1957, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba.
He exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela, which purchased his work Late Afternoon in Red for its permanent collection.
He returned to Havana.
“When I returned to Havana I noticed that the atmosphere was politically more strained than when I left. I found a new letter from the University of Chile urging me to decide about the courses they were requesting from me. This was possibly what made me decide to undertake my South American trip.”
Toward the end of that year he arrived in Valparaíso, main Chilean port, in the M/S Reina del Mar.
1958. Early in January he began to teach art courses in the University of Santa María.
He exhibited in the Sol de Bronce Gallery, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
1959. In Chile he carried out numerous and diverse teaching activities.
Together with Nemesio Antúnez and other artists and architects, he founded the School of Art of the Catholic University, which received the help and collaboration of the Art Department of the University of Yale, United States. He began there as a professor of the painting workshops until 1969, when he was appointed vice director of that School, where he worked as a professor of Painting for more than twenty years”.
Already established in Chile, his other fatherland—as he used to say— Carreño held a very outstanding place in the art universe of the 20th century.
He visited Cuba. In Havana he met Fidel Castro.
He completed another series of courses on The Evolution of Current Art at the University of Concepción, 500 kilometers south of Santiago, to fulfill the contract with the University of Chile.
He obtained the prize of the Art Critics Circle.
He taught the subject Color at the School of Architecture of the University of Chile.
He exhibited at the University of Chile, Santiago de Chile.
1960. He returned to figuration. Having nourished, however, from the abstract period, he then offered like a summary of experiences with works of surrealist atmosphere, tuned down by his own penchant for classicism, freely interpreted in contemporary terms.
It was thus how the modernity that followed the 1960s presented an unequalled craftsman, a creator who, starting from realism, broached with total boldness and lack of inhibition in abstract painting, geometry, figuration, concrete art and the most excellent demonstration of drawing.
1961. Exhibited in Reifschneider Hall, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He dedicated that year basically to create two murals: one for San Ignacio School, in Santiago, in 7 x 12 meter long glass mosaics, and the other for the Casino at Viña del Mar, which had a piece of metal and paint. Three panels of 8 x 15 meters each”.
1962. He returned to France. He exhibited in Hauteffeville Gallery, Paris.
The Museum of Céret (France) purchased two of his works.
He participated as a guest in the exhibition L’ art latino-américain à Paris, celebrated in the Museum of Modern Art of Paris.
1963. He visited Brussels and Amsterdam.
He visited the Royal Museum of Brussels and was impressed by two paintings by master Diericck Bouts on The Trial of Emperor Othon.
In Amsterdam he was highly moved when contemplating Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch in the Ryksmuseum.
He returned to Chile and exhibited in the Carmen Waugh Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
1964. He exhibited in the School of Art, Catholic University, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He worked arduously in the collection of drawings for the exhibition A Petrified World.
1965. He inaugurated the exhibition A Petrified World, Carmen Waugh Gallery, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
“This period of these drawings was a bit complicated for me. After several years dedicated to make abstract paintings I stopped making them because I was greatly impacted by the horrors of war. When I was in Europe it seemed to me incongruent, in the face of so much horror, to continue painting in abstract form. I quit it because I realized that I could not express myself in that form, and decided to do it with figurative elements. With these thoughts about the war conflict in mind, I wrote the following for the catalog:
‘This series of drawings suggesting A Petrified World has been the result of my concern and fear facing the possibility of a new world war as contrasted with the helplessness of the majority of humankind, incapable of preventing such a catastrophe, since experience tells us that the final decision has always been in the hands of a few.’”
1966. He moved his studio to 61 Bellavista St., in Santiago. “It was quite a peculiar place, like a big old house divided into several workshops where some artists worked: painters, architects, draftsmen, photographers; it looked like a big apiary where characters of different autonomies, friends, acquaintances, indifferent ones and even enemies went in and out. In short, it happened that suddenly someone you knew appeared: an architect painter like Javier Prieto, whose good friend I am, or Carlos Ortúzar, whom I always recall with my greatest appreciation, and painter Ida González, who in time became my wife.”
He took part in the show Art from Latin America since the Independence, Art Gallery of the University of Yale, New Haven, Connecticut.
Group exhibition at the Art Museum of the University of Texas, Houston, Texas.
Expo La Jolla, Art Museum, La Jolla, California.
He participated in the Expo Isaac Delgado Art Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Group exhibition in the San Francisco Art Museum, San Francisco, California.
1967. He was offered an apartment in Providencia corner to Pedro de Valdivia. “…a three-story building with a large basement and huge shop windows to the street. It was called The Gallery; it had many shops and all kinds of establishments, even a photo salon, a shop of bags and goods of all kinds. I then called Ida to help me organize the new workshop on Providencia Street, and already the next day I was accommodating the easels and remaining materials to start making the new paintings. I had much work, because I had been requested a show at the Museum of Art in Caracas, and it was something I was doing with great enthusiasm.”
He recommenced the series A Petrified World in oil. “…I wanted to repeat that theme, but with oils. And as I was painting them, it seemed to me it was the best there was in that technique”.
He received the visit in his workshop of his friend Rufino Tamayo, the Mexican painter, who was visiting Chile on his way to Buenos Aires.
He took part in the American Biennial of Engraving.
1968. He exhibited in the Central Art Gallery, Santiago de Chile, where he was to exhibit again in 1969 and 1970.
He traveled to New York. He met Joan Miró at the workshop of Rumanian painter André Racz in New York.
The Museum of Modern Art of New York (MOMA) presented for the first time in Santiago the exhibition From Cézanne to Joan Miró. “Mr. Monroe Wheeler, advisor to the Museum of Modern Art of New York, was the director of this grandiose exhibition; director for the Chilean side was sculptor Federico Assler, who was also in charge of mounting the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of Chile. In Chile it was sponsored by the journal El Mercurio.”
René Silva Espejo, director of El Mercurio, requested him “not only to review and take care of everything concerning the exhibition From Cézanne to Joan Miró, but also of the Art Section of El Mercurio, because the person in charge of that art page, Mr. Antonio Romera, was seriously ill”.
Mariana, the first daughter of the couple formed by Carreño and Ida, was born in the Central Clinic of Santiago.
1969. He obtained the Chilean citizenship, which was granted him on April 9, 1969 through a document signed by the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Edmundo Pérez Zujovic.”
He finished a mural that was several meters long, with glass mosaics, on the façade of San Ignacio School, in Pocuro, suburb of Providencia.
Andrea, the second daughter, was born in the Central Clinic of Santiago.
1970. He was overwhelmed by the recurrent requests of reviews from colleagues interested in appearing in his commentaries in El Mercurio. “It became something unbearable, and since it was I who had to write them, we decided to move to another apartment.”
Shortly after, toward the end of the year, the family definitely settled in a comfortable two-story apartment on 87 Las Urbinas Street, where he set up a space just for writing purposes.
He stopped writing reviews for El Mercurio.
He prepared his next exhibition. Pablo Neruda offered to write the words to the catalog.
His friend Salvador Allende was elected President of the Republic of Chile.
1971. He devoted himself mainly to paint in his new studio of Las Urbinas.
1972. He taught and gave conferences in different cultural institutions and universities of Chile. He enjoyed the home atmosphere with his little daughters.
1973. September 11: coup d’État in Chile.
Salvador Allende immolated himself in Palacio de la Moneda. A battalion of Pinochet’s soldiers broke into his house in Valenzuela Castillo Street.
His great friend Pablo Neruda died.
1974. The nostalgia produced by the events that followed the coup d’État did not allow him to focus on his work. He suffered the loss of great friends: some departed in exile, others dead or disappeared.
He took part in two group exhibitions in the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Washington D.C., United States.
1975. Year of personal economic readjustments and discreet confrontations with the Chilean authorities from Pinochet’s government.
1976. With the purpose of liberating tensions, he traveled with his family to the picturesque region of Chiloé. He took up painting again and began to prepare his next exhibition.
He exhibited in the Imagen Skriba Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
Inconceivably, his car was stopped, together with nineteen other whose property was transferred to the State. He had to appear immediately before the Minister of the Interior.
1977. The provocations and harassment continued on the part of the Pinochet police.
He exhibited in the Chilean North American Institute, Santiago de Chile, and in the Imagen Skriba Gallery, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He participated in the Contemporary Chilean Painting expo, Los Condes Cultural Institute, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
1978. He exhibited his paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela.
Two officials from the Ministry of the Interior notified him of his immediate expelling from the country while “at the same time, they were asking me to accompany them to the Ministry. …Thanks to the persistence of Ida, who mobilized all the friends who saved me from being expelled, I did not have to add to the long list of exiles”.
1979. He exhibited in The Art Contact Gallery, Coconut Grove, Florida.
Group exhibition in the Lowe Art Museum, Miami, Florida.
He was awarded in the contests of the Chilean Safety Society for the painting of the mural at the Worker’s Hospital in Concepción.
His creative activity was intensified.
1980. He exhibited in Galería Época, Santiago de Chile, Chile, and in Forma Art Gallery, Miami, Florida, United States.
He participated in the group exhibition Second Iberian American Domecq Art Exhibition, Carrillo Gil Art Museum, Mexico City, Mexico.
His works were included in the exhibition Two Centuries of Cuban Art 1759-1959, Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida.
He participated in a group exhibition at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.
1981. A quiet year. He kept painting, but with less intensity.
He participated in group exhibitions in the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Recent Purchases, Washington, D.C.
Group exhibition The Figure in the Art of Latin America. Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida.
1982. He received the National Prize in Art, in Santiago de Chile.
He was distinguished with the Gold Medal of the Pontifical Catholic University.
1983. He received a prize for the mural in the Worker’s Clinic in Rancagua.
He celebrated his 70th birthday.
1984. He exhibited in Galería Época, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He preferred the warm home atmosphere in the company of his three dear women: Mariana, Andrea and Ida.
1985. His painting activity decreased. He suffered from lumbar pains. He had significant losses of vision. A slow and gradual impairment of his health began.
1986. He exhibited in Acathus Gallery, Miami, Florida. He was in constant need of medical attention.
1987. Little painting activity. He prepared two retrospective exhibitions in Chile and Uruguay.
Group exhibition Latin American Drawing. Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois.
Group exhibition Out Cuba and Out of Cuba. Miami, Florida.
Group exhibition The Recent Events on the Latin American Map. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
He participated in the group exhibition Latin America. Treasures of Private Collections in Miami. Fine Arts Center, Miami, Florida.
He obtained the prize of the Cintas Foundation, Miami, Florida.
1988. He presented a retrospective of his work (1945-1988) in the Arte Actual Gallery, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He presented that same project in the National Museum of Fine and Visual Arts, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Group exhibition in The Bronx Museum of Arts, New York, New York.
Group exhibition in the Mitchell Wolfson Inter American Art Gallery, World Center, Campus, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida.
He took part in the exhibition The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970, The Bronx Museum of Arts, New York; El Paso Museum of Arts, El Paso, Texas; San Diego Museum of Arts, San Diego, California, United States.
He took part in the group exhibition of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Arts Center, Florida.
Expo Cintas’ Grant Holders: A Decade Later, Metro Dade Cultural Center, Miami, Florida.
1990. Slight improvement of his health condition. Scarcely leaves the house, little painting.
1991. He inaugurated a Retrospective Exhibition (1945-1991) in the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
He wrote and published the Book of Mario Carreño (autobiography), Ediciones Pacífico, Santiago de Chile.
1992. Ediciones Mar del Plata, Santiago de Chile, used one of his works for the cover of the book Saber del corazón, by poet Fernando González-Urízar. That same iconography was later reproduced in a magazine, illustrating the text Tirso’s Dream, by Hebrew poet and journalist Dalia Ravikovitz (1936–2005).
1993. 80th birthday. He traveled for the last time to Havana to inaugurate his great exhibition entitled Mario Carreño. The Cuban Years, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba. It was the last meeting with his native land and with some of the artists and intellectuals of his generation who were still alive.
He exhibited twice at Las Conde Cultural Institute in Santiago de Chile the collection on his eightieth anniversary: The Cuban Years of Mario Carreño and Mario Carreño. 80 Drawings.
1994.At the age of 81, the Cuban-Chilean Mario Carreño, due to his ever more unbearable health problems, ended a long period of profuse art creation which had begun around 1925.
1995. Expo Mario Carreño: A Retrospective. Painting from Latin America at Sotheby’s. La Puerta del Sol, Coral Gables, Florida.
Group exhibition Orígenes. (magazine on art and literature). …The Arrows of His Own Trail. Latin American Gallery, Casa de las Américas, Havana, Cuba.
1996. He received the Medal of Honor of the Pablo Neruda Foundation.
1997. Long nights of pain and insomnia.
1998. His health problems worsened.
1999. December 20, 1999, from Santiago de Chile, the fatidic news spread throughout the world: at the age of 86, one of the most remarkable artists in the history of universal art ceased to exist.