Art Exhibition: Antonio Martorell’s “El papel del retrato”

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Antonio Martorell exhibition “El papel del retrato” (a play on words meaning “The role of the portrait” or “The paper of the portrait”) opened on October 4, 2015, at the Ponce Art Museum [Museo de Arte de Ponce] and will be on view until February 8, 2016. It gathers the Puerto Rican artist’s drawings, prints, paintings, and mixed media from his over fifty-year trajectory. Curated by Humberto Figueroa, this show is part of the wider celebration of his fifty years of dedication to Puerto Rican arts and culture [see previous post Art Exhibition: IMALABRA, 50-year retrospective of Maestro Antonio Martorell]. Here are excerpts from the Ponce Art Museum description:

The exhibition “El papel del retrato,” captures the artist’s restless exploration of the forms and techniques of drawing and portraiture, and also presents a display of personalities from the artistic, intellectual, academic, and domestic world. The exhibition features a selection of works on paper in diverse techniques (graphite, charcoal, ink and pastel, collage, and woodcut prints) by artist Antonio Martorell.


“’El papel del retrato’ [is] the first exhibition to explore two crucial areas of Martorell’s artistic production: drawing, as an essential activity in his creative process, and portraiture, as an action that multiplies the presence of what is human in times of transformations and fissures of identity. For the artist, to draw is to establish a dialogue with your immediate frame of reference and, from that conversation, allow the hand to flow freely while the eye explores the contours and details of a face. Portraiture—drawn, painted or engraved—has been an artistic exercise approached by Martorell very early in his life, and immersing himself in this genre has served him in the need to establish links of communication with his models and the spectators,” said curator Humberto Figueroa.

“The portrait is a path of knowledge, it is a way to approach the other. It presupposes a conversation both with hand that draws as well as the conversation that occurs; it is a communication that goes back and forth,” says artist Antonio Martorell. [. . .]

For original description (in Spanish), see

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