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. WESTWOOD GLALERY NYC was the first U.s. fine art gallery to exhibit the photographic history of Leo Matiz in 2001.
Learn more about Leo Matiz's Retrospective.
Photographs © The Estate of Leo Matiz