Cover photo for Alfredo Da Silva's Obituary
Alfredo Da Silva Profile Photo
Alfredo

Alfredo Da Silva

World renowned Fine Artist; Alfredo Da Silva, of Bolivia, passed away on January 26, 2020 in Alexandria, VA.

Alfredo Da Silva was born February 20, 1935, during the end of an inconclusive Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay. In 1938 a peace treaty was signed in Buenos Aires between Paraguay and Bolivia. After Chaco War, Bolivia was struggling to find some form of Democracy for the indigenous Indians that made up a large demographic. Many political parties tried to take power. Violent coups and counter-revolutions followed, but in 1952 Victor Paz Estenssoro left-wing Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario the MNR succeeds in seizing power. “Alfredo Da Silva was almost unknown in his own country until he went abroad and won the highest award for a foreign artist at the 1959 National Salon in Buenos Aires”.[2] In 1960 he was discovered by José Gómez Sicre who at the time was Chief of the Division of Visual Arts for the Pan American Union now called the Organization of American States or OAS for short.[3] In 1961 José Gómez Sicre invited him to have a one-man show at the Pan American Union Gallery in Washington D.C organized by the Organization of American States.[4] He was close friends with a celebrated Bolivian sculptor Marina Núñez del Prado who wrote about him in her book “Eternidad en Los Andes”.[5] He is recognized as one of the historical “generation of 52” by The National Art Museum (MNA).[6] The generation of 52 is marked by the Bolivian National Revolution which occurred on April 9, 1952.[7] The generation of 52 had two main artistic trends, the “social painters” and the “abstract painters”. Alfredo was part of the movement of abstract painters that did not accept social realism as the only mode for artistic expression.[8] According to Babs Myer from the “Times of Brazil” “Accepting “abstract expressionism” as the label most nearly describing his art, da Silva works from a base of “intuition creation,” expressing a world of intuition with rational shapes. He fuses the ancient past with the far distant future and creates a sense of time itself moving to the future or to the past, but always of one continuous whole. The circle, is always evident, and one may recognize ancient Indian building stones, fossilized bones, or structures for man’s use in some misty future in space”.[9] Later in 1981 his abstract work is recognized by Teresa Gisbert (Director of the institute of Bolivian Studies at the University of San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia), she described his work as “Outstanding for his treatment of surface qualities and his abstractionism”.[10]

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, Da Silva was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing the street near his home in Alexandria, Virginia.[1]

Background and academic career
He studied at the Potosí Academy of Fine Arts University Tomas Frias[11] and the Prilidiano Pueyredon Academy of Fine Arts[12] in Buenos Aires where, in 1958, he obtained his degree as teacher of drawing and painting. In 1962, he won a grant to study graphic Arts at the Pratt Institute of New York.

Art career
Alfredo Da Silva had his first show in 1951 at age 16. In 1959, he won first prize in a competition for foreign artists at the Salon National of Painting in Buenos Aires. In 1961 he was invited to have a one-man show at the Pan American Union in Washington, D.C.;[13] that same year he represented the Pan American Union at the Biennial of São Paulo. In 1962, he won a grant to study graphic Arts at the Pratt Institute of New York. In 1963, the Institute of Spanish Culture in Madrid invited him to participate in the exhibition of “Art of America and Spain ;” that same year he was awarded a fellowship[14] by the Guggenheim Foundation for the period of 1963–1964. In 1964, he was invited to participate at the II American Biennale of Cordoba, Argentina, where he won 3rd prize. In 1977 participated at II Biennale of Bolivia INBO, where he won grand prize. In 1980 he was invited to the II Biennale Iberoamericana of Art in Mexico where he had a show.

Early years 1943 – 1950
At the age eight Alfredo saw his brother Hugo Silva’s art who was studying in the local school of fine art and with a competitive spirit was motivated to do better. During this period he drew pencil sketches of still life and landscapes. Pencil was the only utensil he could afford until he went to school in 1951.

Growth 1951 – 1962
In 1951 he enrolled into the Potosí Academy of Fine Arts, Arts university Tomas Frias. Where he studied drawing, painting, sculpture, and graphic arts. Then in 1958 he went to the Prilidiano Pueyredon Academy of Fine art in Buenos Aires where, in December of that same year, he obtained his degree as teacher of drawing and painting. In 1962, he won a grant to study graphic Arts at the Pratt Institute of New York.

Maturity 1959 – 1980
In 1959 he won the highest award for a foreign artist at the National Salon in Buenos Aires. “Just two years later he was awarded a Pan American Fellowship in Washington, D.C., where he was given a one-man show and then invited to represent the Pan American Union at the Biennale of San Paulo”.

“During the 1960s, he continued to amass honors, including his Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pratt Graphic Center Grant, as his artwork attracted ever increasing attention and plaudits. Since then, he has participated in dozens of group exhibitions at such prominent venues as the Museum of Fine Arts, Mexico; the Contemporary Art Museum of Dallas, Texas; the Museum of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland; the gallery of the Central University of Caracas, Venezuela; the Institute of Contemporary Art in London; the Museum of Aberdeen, Scotland; and the Cultural Center of Villa Madrid, Spain. His work has also been exhibited in numerous one-man shows throughout North and South America and Europe and is in the permanent collections of the Coin Museum of Potosi, Bolivia; the National Museum of La Paz; the Metropolitan Museum of New York; and the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro; to name just a few of the public collections that boast his works. His many prizes include the Grand Prize at the II Biennale INBO in La Paz in 1977”.

Present – 1980–
Between 1974 -1976 he worked for ABC TV American Broadcasting CO., 1257 54St. New York Graphic Designer : illustrations for Storyboards, Slide Presentations, Covers, Jackets, Mechanical Brochures. Working with picture department to develop illustrations.

Between 1981 – 1986 he worked for U.S. News & World Report, 2400 N st., NW. Washington DC. Graphic Designer: Responsible for designing Supplements for U.S. News Magazine from inception through completion. Complete charge designing Direct Mail Promotion material, Brochures~, Booklets, Ads for Magazines & Newspapers. Conceptual abilities, produce quality comps, general production of mechanicals, select and evaluate photographs. Excellent typography, Experienced in Illustrations and Photography & dark room photo lab . Enjoys working on team projects and meeting deadlines.

Between 1987 – 1988 he worked for The World & I, Washington Times Publication. 2850; New York Ave. Ne. Washington DC . Art Director: Responsible for the overall look of the Magazine, support with the conceptual design & production for all graphic materials, coordinate the Art department activities with the editorial & production depts . Photo directing and select, evaluate photographs, Illustrations for the cover magazine and page design for special reports, assign work to Illustrators & Photographers.

Between 1988–present he worked for HJB Associates, 2228 South Quincy St. Arlington, VA. Part-time AS St . 1ITt Director: Design and production of Corporate Identity, Direct-I.1ail Catalogs, Brochures, Fliers, Annual Reports and Slide Presentations.

On May 21, 2005, he was a judge for the Congressional Art Competition “An Artistic Discovery” in Washington Dc.

Between March 16 and May 17, 2009, his art was part of an exhibit presented at the Museo de Antioquia, in Medellín, Colombia, on occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the celebration of the 50th Annual Meeting of Governors of the IDB. An exhibition gathering paintings, drawings and engravings by some of the most important Latin American and Caribbean 20th-century artists, drawn from the collections of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States, in Washington, D.C.

On January 26, 2020 Alfredo was struck and killed by a car in Alexandria, VA in what is believed to have been an accident.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 29, 2020

12:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Starts at 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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