Leo Matiz

1918-1998

Leo Matiz, one of the most important Colombian photographers of the 20th century, documented more than 60 years of history in photographs. His body of work includes photographs of rural and urban landscapes, abstract architectural and natural features, portraits of well-known individuals in art and politics, and narrative photographs of native Latin Americans. Matiz started his career touring Columbia as a photographer and reporter for magazines. After, he traveled to Panama, crossing Central America on foot, and moved his work studio to Mexico. From 1940 to the late 40s, Matiz collaborated with numerous outstanding artists. He worked with Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Gabriel Figueroa on Mexican film projects and David Alfaro Siqueiros on the mural Cuauhtemoc against the Myth. He also had the privilege of capturing Frida Kahlo—a woman of great strength and sensitivity—in her everyday life, both at the Blue House and in Coyoacan.

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1944 [printed 1997] selenium toned gelatin silver print, edition of 41, signed paper size > 10 x 10 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo on the steps of the Blue House I, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1945 (printed 1998) gelatin silver print, edition of 25 stamped, numbered, annotated paper size > 14 x 11 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo at the Blue House I, Coyoacán, Mexico. photograph 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 35, stamped by The Estate of Leo Matiz paper size > 17.25 x 13.25 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo at the Blue House II, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 35, stamped by The Estate paper size > 17.25 x 13.25 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo, Mexico City photograph 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 25, signed paper size > 17.25 x 13.25 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo at the Blue House III, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1943 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 25, stamped by The Estate paper size > 17.25 x 13.25 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo at the Blue House IV, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1945 (printed 1998) gelatin silver print, AP stamped, annotated paper size > 14 x 11 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo Buying Cloth photograph 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 35, signed paper size > 12 x 10 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Frida Kahlo on the steps of the Blue House II, Coyoacán, Mexico photograph 1945 (printed 1998) gelatin silver print, edition 8/25 stamped, numbered, annotated paper size > 14 x 11 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Leo Matiz and Fernando Botero in front of the Leo Matiz Gallery during Botero’s first exhibition photo 1951 [printed later] gelatin silver print, AP, stamped 16 x 12 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Photograph of Fernando Botero painting “Nude with Canvas and Chair,” Colombia photo 1951 [printed later] gelatin silver print, stamped by the Leo Matiz Foundation paper size > 16 x 12 inches image size > 11.5 x 9.5 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Metal Coil, Columbia circa 1960s vintage gelatin silver print, selenium toned 8 x 9.75 inches stamped, signed on verso

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Rope, 9.5 x 8.25 circa 1960s vintage gelatin silver print 9.5 x 8.25 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

Model posing for David Alfaro Siqueiros’ Mural, “Cuahtemoc Against the Myth” photo 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print stamped, inscribed, blind stamp 12 x 10 inches

Leo Matiz
Leo Matiz

David Alfaro Siqueiros posing for the Mural, “Cuahtemoc Against the Myth” photo 1946 [printed later] gelatin silver print paper size > 12 x 9.5 inches

1/1

In 1948, Matiz moved to New York City and worked as a photo-journalist for Life Magazine. Under the direction of the United Nations, Matiz documented the intense conflict in the Middle East. During the assignment, he witnessed and photographed assassinations and shootings while concurrently experiencing his own personal suffering. By the 50s, Leo Matiz was presented an award for “Best Photo Journalist of Mexico” and was also regarded as on of the ten best living photographers in the world. Later, Matiz moved back to Columbia and opened his first studio in Bogotá. His space because an integral part of the bohemian scene for artists, writers, and intellectuals. In 1951, Matiz launched the premiere exhibition of paintings by a 19 y/o artist, Fernando Botero—who was heavily influenced at the time by the work of Pablo Picasso.

In 1995, Matiz was honored by the French government with a Knighthood of Arts and Letters for his extraordinary contribution to the art of photography. Leo Matiz died in 1998 leaving thousands of images to the historic and artistic legacy of photography. In the last decade, numerous international museums and galleries have exhibited his work, producing several books and museum collections—including the Museum of Modern Art.

 

Photographs © The Estate of Leo Matiz