Emilio Martinez’s first solo museum exhibition Van Gogh, Lautrec, and me in NSU Art Museum. Curated by Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum.


The exhibition will address the struggles, dreams, and aspirations of two artists whose dedication to their craft effort and faith Martinez deeply admires. It focuses on two recent series of works that explore his fascination with Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh and French-born Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec. He was prompted to research these artists’ friendship after discovering that Lautrec had included Van Gogh as a reveler in one of his paintings of the Cabaret Moulin Rouge. The two artists had met in Paris as art students at the studio of Fernand Corman. Lautrec is credited as one of the first to recognize and encourage Van Gogh’s talent. Both artists were outsiders who suffered the mockery of their peers—Van Gogh for his eccentric behavior and Lautrec for the stunted growth of his legs and distorted facial features due to a genetic bone disorder.  Both died young, Van Gogh at age 37, having sold hardly any paintings, and Lautrec at 36 at the height of his fame.


In 2021, Martinez was inspired to create the first series on view in this exhibition after seeing Julian Schnabel’s riveting film Eternity’s Gate (2018) about the turbulent final years and art of Van Gogh. Under the spell of Van Gogh, Martinez created mixed-media collages of macabre fanged beasts that incorporate elements from book reproductions of such Van Gogh paintings as Starry Night (1889) and Sunflowers (1889). For Martinez, these fanciful and frightening creatures convey the emotional weight and humanist “verve” of Van Gogh’s visionary work. This series led to a cross-centuries collaboration with Lautrec in which Martinez added his own embellishments to book reproductions of Lautrec’s paintings and posters. Each work in the Van Gogh and Lautrec series suggests a narrative that reflects Martinez’ engagement with the struggles, dreams and aspirations of these two artists whose dedication, effort and faith he deeply admires.

Miami-based artist Emilio Martinez (b.  1981, Tegucigalpa, Honduras), immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 13 years old. Martinez’ mixed-media work is based on his childhood memories and dreams, which he recorded in his sketchbooks. Through his work he conveys his anxieties and experiences of dislocation by using spiritual symbols derived from ancient, Indigenous peoples and making expressionistic marks.


His artworks have been  exhibited at the University of Syracuse   the Instituto Cultural de México,  Miami, and in the exhibitions Visionary  Aponte: Art & Black Freedom, first presented at the Little Haiti  Cultural Center, Miami, in 2017; it traveled to the King Juan Carlos I of Spain  Center, New York University, New York (2018); Power Plant Gallery, Duke  University, Durham (2018); I Paint My Reality: Surrealism in Latin America, NSU  Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (2019); Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana,  Cuba (2019); Galeria Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba (2019); and Fine Arts  Gallery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville (2020). His work is represented in private & institutional collections in the United States such as NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and internationally.

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