The Most Influential Latin American Artists

The Most Influential Latin American Artists

5 latin american artists

Latin American art has been growing its presence in the global market in past years with the opening of museums such as the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Colección Jumex in Mexico City, opened by leading Mexican art collector Eugenio López Alonso. The world’s major museums have also been growing both their staff and collections to focus on discovering and acquiring major Latin American art: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Tate Modern in London, and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. A series of exhibitions throughout China have placed Colombian master Fernando Botero‘s on equal footing with the other major 19th and 20th Century masters. Within the incredibly varied cultural landscape of Latin America, the most influential Latin American artists emerge as the dominant figures in transcend their genre to create a global impact on Art History itself.

These artists blend their native tradition and understanding with American and European influences to produce distinctive masterpieces materializing key characteristics of Latin American art. Their contributions have made a lasting impact in both local and international contexts, and continue to influence contemporary artists, collectors and investors worldwide. As the entire Latin American art market continues to enjoy price growth, it is important to learn about the movement’s leading figures.

Frida Kaho Self Portrait with Monkeys

FRIDA KAHLO | Mexico |

Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most easily recognized and well-known artist on the list, with her distinctive self-portraits and surrealist influenced works becoming almost emblematic as representations of Mexican culture and tradition. Affected greatly by traumatic physical and psychological events throughout her life, Kahlo painted autobiographical works with an introspective, deeply personal, and realistic style of painting that provokes viewers into understanding the artist’s suffering. Later in life Kahlo’s works became more demonstrative of issues of national as well as personal identity as she participated in the modernist indigenous movement in Mexico. Although usually recognized as second to her husband, famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo captures much more attention in the present day.


Diego Rivera Zapata paintingRegarded as the most influential Mexican artist in the 20th century, Diego Rivera was a founder of the Mexican muralist movement and was renown for contributing greatly to Mexico’s artistic renaissance. By synthesizing his pre-Columbian heritage with his various international travels, Rivera was able to create large-scale evocative murals that were innovative in their public accessibility and multicultural character. A devoted socialist, leftist politics and social commentary often emerge as major themes in Rivera’s works. In allegorical compositions, Rivera explores alternate and real human histories from the Mayan beginnings of Mexico, to post-revolutionary themes. Rivera’s works are documentary evidence of the evolving narratives of Mexican history, culture, and daily life.


FERNANDO BOTERO | Colombia |Painting by Fernando Botero

The most contemporary artist on the list, Fernando Botero is a multimedia Colombian artist that focuses on figurative painting and sculptural works. His adept fusion of European high-Renaissance methods with his native Latin American influences have allowed him to distinguish himself as a contemporary innovator in a once homogeneous market. A devout adherent to the most fundamental principles of the art tradition, Botero is tireless in his work to perfect his stylistic “Boterismo” that depicts figures in an enlarged and exaggerated manner. Consistently deemed one of the most popular and collectible artists by top auction houses, Botero is certainly one of the most famous living artists today.



Roberto Matta Sans Titre 1966Chilean born Roberto Matta is considered one of the most influential Latin American artists and was a seminal figure in the global art world with significant contributions to various movements such as Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. In 2015, Matta placed 263rd on the global ranking of art auction turnovers with a total of almost seven million. A 1946 canvas “La rencontre du vitreur avec le forçat de la lumièr” far exceeded its high $300,000 estimate this past year selling for a final price of $941,000. Matta’s works are characterized by an exploration of the subconscious mind in cosmic landscapes, scattered light patterns, and elliptical geometric forms. Referring to his works as “inscapes” Matta’s paintings investigated his own feelings towards the changing global landscape and tumultuous political events of the time.

WIFREDO LAM | Cuba |Wildredo Lam Painting

Wifredo Lam celebrated a particularly successful year in 2015, with a traveling retrospective that visited worldwide locations such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Tate Modern, and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. The Cuban artist ranks 165th on the global ranking for art auction turnover, and saw his third best result with the $2.6 million dollar sale of “Omens” in 2015. With an affordable market, and a price growth of 78% since 2000, collectors should take note of the Afro-Cuban artist’s influential position. By embracing a style of polymorphism that blended primitive influences with the art of the Americas, Lam created paintings to depict the universal, the cosmic, and the nature of man.