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230 years of the foundation of Guatemala City

Neighborhood Ciudad Vieja, zone 10

Pride of my neighborhood: Humberto Garavito (Plastic Artist)


Painting by Humberto Garavito.

Guatemala City, November 2006/Humberto Garavito was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, on January 26, 1897.  In 1912, at fifteen years of age, Garavito began to study art with Master Joaquín Gutiérrez.  Later, he attended the San Carlos Academy in Mexico.

In 1919, Garavito was granted a scholarship to pursue his art studies at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid, Spain.  He became a citizen of Paris and did not return to Guatemala until 1927

In Guatemala he served as Director of the Fine Arts Academy, which today we know as the “Rafael Rodríguez Padilla” National Fine Arts School.


Some of his favorite themes were the Guatemalan landscapes, especially the volcanoes with which he was fascinated.  He also delved in portraits.  His early sketches received praise from Jaime Sabartés, the Catalonian friend and secretary of Picasso, who nicknamed Garavito “the child artist”.

An essay by researcher Silvia Herrera Ubico about Garavito’s work states, “Garavito established the groundwork for the national arts.  Thanks to him, art went from being a repetition of European topics to becoming a true study and expression of our way of life.  Garavito is one of the artists that established the groundwork for the landscapes and pictorial traditions of Guatemala (G&T: 2003: 23)


Garavito was granted the following awards: (1921) First Place, Arts, Commemorative Exhibition of the First Centennial of the Central American Independence; (1939) winner, Atitlán Lake Triptych; (1961) Order of the Quetzal; (1988) the School of Fine Arts of Quetzaltenango is named in his honor.


Today, his artwork is distributed throughout private collections, museums, and galleries.  The walls of the Italian Club, in the Ciudad Vieja neighborhood, are ornamented with some of Garavito’s portraits.  The artist died in Guatemala City on June 1, 1970, at 73 years of age.  The next day, his remains were taken to his birthplace, where he peacefully rests until this day.


Beloved Neighborhood Program
Dra. Frieda Liliana Morales Barco


Lecturas: 3123