Mabel Alvarez

Mabel Alvarez (1891-1985)

Mabel Alvarez (1891 - 1985) was an American artist best-known for her portraits, landscapes, and floral paintings. Alvarez was born in Waialua, Oahu in Hawaii. Alvarez’s father was of Spanish decent and as the son of the business manager to the Spanish king, was given the opportunity to move to Hawaii to work as a physician to Chinese and Japanese workers immigrants. He was later the personal physician to Queen Liluokalani. As a young woman she moved to California with her family.

In 1915, Alvarez attended a prominent art school in Los Angeles directed by William Cahill. As a student, she painted a mural for the Pan-California Exposition in San Diego, which gained her acclaim in the art community.

In 1918, she began exploring symbolism and surrealist styles influenced by Will Levington Comfort, a Los Angeles philosopher of the period. In 1931 she became acquainted with Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, founders of the Synchromy art movement. As a pupil of Matisse and Cezanne, the Synchromist were interested in explorations of color and rhythm. Alvarez became profoundly interested in the movement and produced some of her most important early paintings.

In 1937, she returned to Hawaii for a year and painted portraits, figure studies, and still lifes. During trip to the Caribbean islands in the 1950s led to brightening of her palette and using many oranges, reds, and bright pinks in tropical genre scenes. Later travels to Mexico reinforced these tendencies. As she got older, she turned more and more to religious and symbolic subjects. S he spent the last several years of her life in a Los Angeles nursing home and died at age 94 on March 13, 1985.

She exhibited nationwide including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum and in 1999 became one of a group of important American artists showcased in Paris by the U.S. State Department. In August, 1999, a special exhibition of her work, titled "A Radiant Thread," was held at the Adamson-Duvannes Galleries in Los Angeles.

Source: "American Art Review", David Forbes, Encounters With Paradise,

© 2024 Alissa Anderson Campbell. All rights reserved. No portion of content from this website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the owner of Anderson Art and Appraisals."