3rd Quarter 2015

In the Studio of Francisco Z˙˝iga   (1912-1998)

Francisco Z˙˝igaĺs sculpture is a hybrid of the old world and the new. His focus is on the stocky figures and forms of southeastern Mexico, almost exclusively female, which he renders in a classical style. He shows them in quiet moments, in communion with nature or each other, in tender moments of maternity.

Born in 1912 in San JosÚ, Francisco Z˙˝iga was exposed to the arts early by his father, who ran a workshop of religious sculpture. Although he received his formal training at the School of Fine Arts in San JosÚ, he continued to work in the family business. By 21 years of age, he was an accomplished sculptor, draftsman, and engraver. He decided to go to Europe to study in 1936, but was thwarted by the Spanish Civil War. He went instead to Mexico where he spent most of his life. There, he completed his studies under designer Manuel RodrÝguez Lozano and sculptor Oliverio MartÝnez. He cultivated his interest in the indigenous people of Latin America by making many visits to Mexico Cityĺs Anthropology Museum. In 1938, Zu˝iga became a professor at La Esmeralda, the renowned school of painting and sculpture at the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts. He taught there until 1970.

Z˙˝iga worked in wood, onyx, clay, plaster, marble, and alabaster. But his best known sculpting medium was cast bronze. A talented draughtsman, he used his drawing in the formation of his sculptures and in his lithography. He also worked in watercolor and pastels on paper.

Z˙˝iga is considered one of Central Americaĺs most important sculptors. In 1973, Costa Rica awarded him the National Culture Prize. In 1992, the Mexican government granted him the Mexican Award for the Arts, the countryĺs highest distinction for an artist. He died in Mexico in 1998.

Untitled, 1979 pastel on paper

Conversation, 1965
water color & ink

La Calera, 1977 bronze

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