Juan Manuel Sánchez

Costa Rica

Painter, sculptor and illustrator

1907-1990 Curridabat, 1907 Juan Manuel Sanchez is a painter, sculptor and illustrator. In 1924, took his first artistical steps, he entered, when he was 16 years old, in Don Manuel Zuñiga`s workshop of making of religious images, where he made several woodcarvings of saints and began working with stones. In those days, he was used visit the National Museum along with the sculptor Francisco Zuñiga and that`s where they get in touch with the pre- Hispanic `s culture legacy In the Second Exhibitions of Fine Arts of the Newspaper of Costa Rica, carried out in the National Theater in 1930, he came to the light as sculptor with three plasters and received the Gold Medal. His work as illustrator begins upon collaborating with illustrations and drawings for the magazine Repertorio Americano. In 1931 gets the Silver Medal in sculpture in the third Exhibition of Fine Arts, where he showed 10 sculptures, among them, “Culebra de Cascabel” and “Baco Indio”. In 1932 he began his didactic work upon been appointed professor of drawing and handicrafts in the Osejo School. He exhibits 12 sculptures and wins the Gold Medal in the fourth Exhibition of Fine Arts of the Newspaper of Costa Rica. That same year, he also receives an Honorable Mention in the exhibition of National Artists of the Normal School in Heredia. In 1933, he is appointed jury in the Fifth Exhibition of Fine Arts of the Costa Rican Newspaper. He works in his workshop in Barrio México and dedicates his efforts to the teaching in some schools as drawing professor. In 1936, he illustrates the fourth edition of "Cuentos de mi tia Panchita" written by Carmen Lyra. During 1940, he works hard and among the several sculptures he made, he created two portraits of Berta Solano, his wife. In 1941, he illustrates with drawings the book "Versos para niños" by Emma Gamboa. During the period from 1942 to 1945 he rules the Technical Departament of Drawing and Handcrafts of the Public Education Ministry and he`s appointed Professor in the High School of Costa Rica. During 1950, he teaches Art History in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Costa Rican University. He displayed his first individual exhibition in the National Museum of Costa Rica, where he showed 60 sculptures in stone and wood. When the House of Artists was about to be opened, in 1951, an exhibition of Fine Arts was organized and Sanchez participated with several works. He travels to Honduras hired by the Goverment of that country in order to colaborate in the planning of an Educative Reform and the Reorganization of the Academy of Fine Arts. During a trip to Mexico, in 1956, his friend the sculptor Francisco Zuñiga, introduced him to some artists and intellectuals of the Mexican culture, which was a rich experience for him. He illustrates, in 1959, the book “El Moto” by Joaquin Garcia Monge and ""Cuentos Grises"" by Carlos Gagini. In 1960, he quits his didactic work and he dedicates his time to the reading, sculpture and drawing. During 1964 and 1965 he carries out, for two consecutive years, an individual exhibition in the Gallery of Arts and Letters in San Jose. He received, in 1965, the National Prize "Aquileo J. Echeverria", which is one of the most prestigious prizes of Costa Rica. He illustrates the book “Mulita Mayor” by the Costa Rican writer Carlos Luis Saenz in 1967. He makes works with a religious theme such as Villancio and some figures of his wife in 1972. For three years, from 1980 to 1983, he individually exhibits in three occasions in the Museum of Costa Rican Art and in the Institute of Hispanic Culture of San Jose. He was given the maximum award of the Costa Rican Republic, the National Prize of Culture Magon in 1982. In 1987, his name was the title of the National Hall of Sculpture, which is periodically carried out in the Museum of Costa Rican Art. His last individual exhibition was displayed in the Enrique Echandi Gallery of the National Theater in l988. He dies in San Jose on April, 16th , 1990.