The story of an artist

Life & art of Fernando Peña Defilló

Dialogue (1988) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

From the series: "Visions with closed eyes" (2013) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Transfiguration of Picasso (1998) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Zona Colonial's View (1950) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

The Artist is born

Fernando Peña Defilló was born just after the first quarter of the 20th century in the city of Santo Domingo, a small, sleepy city, which developed slowly and monotonously. 

From the series: "Landscapes of my interior" (2005) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Early dreams of freedom

 At the age of 7, he already knew he did not fit into the standards of De La Salle school. Since then, he realized that he was not interested in math and science classes, but he did like history and geography - they made him imagine the freedom to travel and dream. 

Fernando Peña Defilló in Palma, Mallorca (1958)Museo Fernando Peña Defilló

The understanding

Thus, he understood that his vocation was to discover the secrets of nature and the human condition. It was then that he knew that had been born for art, specifically for the plastic arts and even more specifically for painting.

Marine (1985) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Two main themes

Both themes (nature and the human condition) have always been the constant in his works, both figurative and abstract.

The mountain range (2002) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Butterfly (1978) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Fernando Peña Defilló in Santo Domingo (1943)Museo Fernando Peña Defilló

Finding true self

During his teens and into 20s, Fernando spent time in his father's library, where he found all the information that helped understand himself. Later, he entered the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, and it was then that his true artistic career began. 

Fernando Peña Defilló in Paris (1960)Museo Fernando Peña Defilló

Among the best

At that time, Fernando Peña Defilló studied alongside great figures, such as Domingo Liz, Mario Cruz, Óscar Renta, Ada Balcácer, Silvano Lora, who stood out as emblematic artists. He said, that it really was a privileged generation.

Regression Paris 60 (1997) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Among the greatest

In addition, due to ideological, political or religious confrontations – Fernando considered himself lucky to have very notable Spanish artists as teachers, of whom he remembered with the greatest affection and admiration. 

Fernando Peña Defilló in Madrid (1953)Museo Fernando Peña Defilló

A new chapter

The artist's arrival in Madrid constituted the personal big bang that integrated him into universal culture, not only in the world of art, but also in the meaning of life itself. Suddenly, Fernando found himself in the real world and in which he felt alive, and free, at last! 

From the series: "Landscapes of my interior", Fernando Peña Defilló, 2005, From the collection of: Museo Fernando Peña Defilló
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Broken heart, Fernando Peña Defilló, 2013, From the collection of: Museo Fernando Peña Defilló
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Figure with butterflies (1991) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Constant development

In Madrid, in addition to enrolling as a free student in the San Fernando art school, Defilló attended private classes in the studio-workshop of the famous painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz, where –among other aspiring painters, he met many great artists at time from around the world

Abstract Nature (1963) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Meeting a true friend

In San Fernando, Peña Defilló met Luis Feito, who was part of the El Paso group and had revolutionized Madrid in the fifties with his informalist proposal. With Feito, they established a brotherly friendship.

Caribbean Sprouts (1988) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

The realization

With the experience acquired both in Santo Domingo and in Europe with different and valuable teachers,  Peña Defilló came to the conclusion that, apart from the basics, they did not teach all the students about their personal techniques and formulas.

Lit Nature (2012) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

The real teachers

Fernando was able to realize that the real lessons were really hidden in the great and fabulous museums of Madrid, Paris, London and the whole of Italy (which he considered museum as a country). 

Jungle (2001) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

The visitor

So he decided to visit all important museums constantly, sometimes spending entire days going over and over again through their rooms.

Untitled (1997) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

In his own words

My authentic experience as an artist, my memories and the naked truth of my existence are clearly narrated in my paintings, which is the actual language that expresses me best.

Poppy (1976) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Back home

Fernando Peña Defilló suddenly felt it was time to go home. He returned to show the soul of the people of the Dominican Republic, especially those of  the countryside.

Still life with key (1998) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Present Body (1971) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Hearts (1995) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Fernando Peña Defilló in his museum by Ricardo Hazoury PiantiniMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

My place

"Due to those coincidences or ironies of fate, on the same street in the colonial zone where I turned 7, the paintings are now hanging in this museum –after more than eighty years of adventures and travels through this world,  as beautiful, as it is complicated"

Fernando Peña Defilló Museum Patio by Ricardo Hazoury PiantiniMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

"Thank you to the sensitivity and family zeal of my nephew George Manuel Hazoury Peña, director of the Peña Batlle Foundation, who was able to find, guided by a spiritual hand, the precise place to house my art legacy."

Astral butterfly (1991) by Fernando Peña DefillóMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

Fernando Peña Defilló passed away in 2016, but his art and legacy are immortal. Thanks to the beautiful museum, we are able to experience its timeless genius, and soul behind his work. 

The museum has progressed in a successful, but modest way. 

So, I will watch over it. Sitting on my cloud, and playing the harp, during all,  long eternity.

Fernando Peña Defilló Museum's entrance by Ricardo Hazoury PiantiniMuseo Fernando Peña Defilló

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