Unquestionably one of the most important Colombian artists of the century, Obregón was born in Barcelona in 1920 and grew up in Colombia and England before studying art in Boston. He returned to Barcelona when he was 27 to serve as the Colombian Vice-Consul for a year. When he was 28 he was named director of a leading art school in Colombia, but left the post after a year to live in Paris and to launch his career as an artist. He exhibited there and elsewhere in France as well as in Germany and Switzerland. Influenced by Picasso, Graham Sutherland and various Colombian masters, his unique style was apparent by 1955. In 1962 he was awarded first place in the most important annual salon in Colombia. In 1965 he represented his country with a pavillion of his own at the Ninth São Paulo Biennial, where he was presented the premier award for a Latin American artist, the Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho Grand Prize. Much of his work features Colombian themes, such as a barracuda or condor, rendered in stylistic broad strokes of dramatic color. Street violence and other current events are the themes of a number of his last paintings.
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