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Leo Matiz

Leo Matiz, one of the most important Colombian photographers of the 20th century, documented more than 60 years of history in photographs. His work includes photographs of rural and urban landscapes, abstract forms found in architecture and nature, in addition to portraits of well-known individuals in the fields of art and politics and narrative photographs of native Latin Americans. A frequent traveler since his teenage years, Matiz started his career as a photographer touring Columbia as a reporter working for magazines. Then he traveled to Panama, traversed Central America on foot and went on to work in Mexico. Matiz lived in Mexico for approximately ten years from 1940 on and collaborated with numerous artists, such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Gabriel Figueroa on Mexican film projects and David Alfaro Siqueiros on the mural "Cuauhtemoc against the Myth". He also photographed Frida Kahlo, characterizing her strength and sensitivity in a number of images, some taken in the Blue House, others in her daily life, all capturing her mystique and power.

In 1948, Matiz moved to New York City and worked as a photo-journalist for Life magazine and the United Nations, documenting the intense conflict in the Middle East. During these assignments he witnessed and photographed assassinations and shootings, while experiencing his own personal pain and suffering. By the end of the 1940's, Leo Matiz was presented the award for Best Photo Journalist of Mexico and was also considered one of the ten best living photographers in the world. Later, Matiz opened the first studio/gallery in Bogotá, Colombia, which soon became an integral part of the bohemian scene for artists, writers and intellectuals. In 1951, Matiz launched the premiere exhibition of paintings by a 19 year old artist, Fernando Botero, and photographed his first paintings, strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso.

Matiz was honored by the French government in 1995 with a Knighthood of Arts and Letters for his extraordinary contribution to the art of photography. Leo Matiz died in 1998, leaving us thousands of images as a contribution to the historic and artistic legacy of photography. In the last decade, there have been numerous international museum and gallery exhibitions of his work and the photographs are part of museum, institutional and private collections.

Photographs © The Estate of Leo Matiz

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2013 - La Magia de Leo Matiz viaja a los Emiratos Árabes, Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • 2013 - Frida Rediscovered by Leo Matiz, M + V Art, Miami

  • 2010 - Macondo visto por Leo Matiz, Centro Hispanoamericano de Cultura, Cuba

  • 2010 - Frida y los olvidados, Galería Campagne Premiere, Berlin

  • 2009 - El México de Leo Matiz, Mexican Institute in San Antonio, Texas

  • 2007 - Frida Kahlo a través de Leo Matiz, Museo de Arte y Cultura de Colsubsidio, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 2007 - El Encanto Enigmático de Leo Matiz, Instituto de México en Atlanta, Georgia

  • 2004 - Leo Matiz, Primer Galerista de Fernando Botero, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 2004 - El Encanto Enigmático de Leo Matiz, Museo Latino de Omaha

  • 2003 - El Encanto Enigmático de Leo Matiz, Museo Diego Rivera, Guanajuato, México

  • 2001 - Retrospective: Rare Photographs from the Estate, Westwood Gallery, NYC

  • 1995 - Los personajes de Leo Matiz, Instituto Europeo de Diseño, Milan

  • 1993 - Fotografías , Galería Con Sarc, Chiasso, Switzerland

  • 1992 - Retrospectiva, Galería “Il Diaframma,” Milan, Italy

  • 1992 - Retrospectiva, Provincia de Milano, Milan, Italy

  • 1989 - Fotografías de Venezuela, Ateneo de Caracas, Salón Margot Benacerraf, Caracas, Venezuela

  • 1988 - Homenaje 50 años de trabajo, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 1984 - Luz, líneas y sombras, Galería Leo Matiz, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 1980 - Paisajes, Galería Colseguros, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 1954 - Retrospectiva, XX Conferencia Panamericana, Caracas, Venezuela

  • 1952 - Fotografías, Circulo de Reporteros Gráficos, Bogotá, Colombia

  • 1944 - Watercolors and Paintings, Advertising Club of New York, NYC

  • 1943 - Tipos y Costumbres de México, Estudio Leo Matiz, México

  • 1942 - El Pueblo de México, Galería de Arte Decoración, México

  • 1941 - Dibujos y Caricaturas, Casino San Salvador, El Salvador

  • 1941 - Fotos y Dibujos, Museo de Bellas Artes, México

  • 1940 - Dibujos, Embajada de Colombia, San José, Costa Rica

  • 1937 - Dibujos, Teatro Variedades, Santa Maria Colombia

  • 1933 - Caricaturas, Cafetería Excelsior, Santa Maria, Colombia

Group Exhibitions

  • 2016 - Mirror Mirror: Rare Photographs of Frida Kahlo, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix

  • 2015 - Abstracting the Grid: Matiz + Laserna, M + V Art, Miami

  • 2015 - The Art Design Project Collection at the Rudolf Budja Gallery, M + V Art, Miami

  • 2010 - Frida Kahlo, Museo Gropius, Berlin

  • 2008 - La Muerte está viva, Galería Mundo, Bogotá, Columbia

  • 2002 - Frida & Fridomania, Organización de Estados Americans,Washington, D.C.

  • 1996 - Latin American Photography, Miami Dade County Public Library, Miami

  • 1994 - Fotografía latinoamericana, Instituto Latinoamericano, Rome

  • 1994 - Frida Kahlo, Galería Carla Sozzani, Milan

  • 1981 - 1° Salón de Photografía de Caracas, Gobernación del Distrito Federal, Caracas, Venezuela

  • 1949 - Fotografías Tratado de Paz Medio Oriente, Organización de Naciones Unidas, Lake Success, New York

  • 1940 - Dibujos, Embajada de Colombia, San José, Costa Rica

  • Museum of Modern Art, NYC

  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

  • Miami Public Library, Miami

  • Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

  • Organization of American States, Washington, D.C.

  • Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, México

  • Museo Nactional de Arte, México

  • Museo Mural Diego Rivera, México

  • Fernando Botero Collection, Monte Carlo

  • Museo del Santo, Padova, Italy

  • Museo de la Fotografía, Bérgamo, Italy

  • Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia

  • Museo de Antropología, México

  • Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California

  • Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia

  • Galería Colseguros, Bogotá, Colombia

  • Leo Matiz: Pasiones en Blanco y Negro, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • The Third Eye of Leo Matiz, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Macondo Visto Por Leo Matiz, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • The Metaphor of the Eye, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • L'arte per l'arte. Matiz e Siqueiros cinquanta'anni dopo, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Los hombres del campo. Leo Matiz, Fotografia, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Leo Matiz, L'objectif magique / El lente mágico, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • El tercer ojo. The third eye of Leo Matiz, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Leo Matiz, Fotografie , Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Aquí estuvo el Libertador, Photograph by Leo Matiz

  • Bavaria. Story of a Great Company, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Asi es Caracas, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • The Divine Eye, Photographs by Leo Matiz

  • Leo Matiz, Photographs by Leo Matiz