Ignacio Iturria's Biography

Ignacio Iturria is a contemporary Uruguayan painter known for his lush imaginative depictions of dreams and memories. Reminiscent of the work of both Philip Guston and Salvador Dalí, Iturria’s thick paint and convincing cast shadows create shallow pictorial spaces inhabited by muddy-brown rivers, toy-like figures, and weathered furniture. Born on April 1, 1949 in Montevideo, Uruguay, he studied commercial art and graphic design in college before turning to painting full time. Interested in his Spanish heritage, Iturria traced his roots to the Basque region of Spain. In an effort to connect to his family’s past, Iturria spent several years living in small seaside town near Barcelona. Upon returning to Uruguay, the painter embraced the landscape of his birthplace, especially the murky Río de la Plata, a visually dominant feature of Montevideo’s landscape.

“People say I paint the human condition,” he has said. “But what I paint is a place’s psychological state, and that’s why I need to be here.”

Iturria is a prolific artist and is generous with oil paint, building up lush textures on surfaces ranging from traditional (canvas) to unconventional (corrugated cardboard). His palette is dominated by muddy browns and earth tones that reflect the colors of the Plate River and the southern Atlantic Ocean, which formed the backdrop to his childhood in Montevideo. He merges representation and surrealism in his compositions, concentrating on the domestic details and spaces of his childhood and of urban living. Tiny human figures often populate Iturria’s small, austere spaces, going about their business in seeming isolation, serving as stand-ins for urban dwellers everywhere.

Over the past decades, Iturria has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., and the Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase College in New York. He continues to live and work in Montevideo, Uruguay.