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Wed, 03.05.1924

Clara Ledesma Terrazas, Afro Dominican Artist born

Clara Ledesma Terrazas

*Clara Ledesma Terrazas was born on this date in 1924.  She was an Afro Dominican artist and teacher.  

Clara Ledesma was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.   She initially studied art under Yoryi Morel in his academy in that city. Ledesma later enrolled in the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, graduating in 1948. "Ledesma was one of the first women to join the National School of Fine Arts."  Her professors included Celeste Woss y Gil and George Hausdorf, while her primary mentor was painting professor Josep Gausachs. Fellow students included Gilberto Hernández Ortega and Eligio Pichardo.   

After graduating, she taught drawing at the National School of Fine Arts. In 1949, Ledesma had her first solo exhibition, and in 1951 she opened a studio/gallery where she displayed her works and those of other artists. With the proceeds from a very successful solo exhibition in 1952, Ledesma traveled to Europe to further her education. She studied painting in Barcelona and Madrid and exhibited her works in galleries in Spain. Ledesma also traveled to Lisbon and Paris to visit important museums.

She was particularly influenced by the works of Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, and Paul Klee. During her stay in Europe, Ledesma met and married Bolivian artist Walter Terrazas, who returned to Santo Domingo with her in 1954.  She studied painting at prestigious academies abroad and then returned to the country where she presented works she had conducted in Europe.

In Santo Domingo, she worked closely with other important Dominican artists, including Gilberto Hernández Ortega, Josep Gausachs, and Jaime Colson. In 1955, she was named vice director of the National School of Fine Arts.  In 1961, Ledesma and her husband moved to New York City, where she opened another gallery. She lived and worked in New York City for the rest of her life.

Ledesma had numerous international solo exhibitions, including events in Madrid, Mexico City, and New York City, and participated in group exhibitions in Brazil, Spain, Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, Argentina, and Puerto Rico.  Ledesma's style ranged from Expressionism and Surrealism to Abstraction. She is known for using brilliant colors, imaginative figures, and the feeling of magic and mysticism created in her paintings and drawings.

In 1955, journalist Horia Tanasescu described her work, "At times ironic, often playful, but taking great care in the production of her paintings, this artist introduces an enthusiasm for life to the national art scene that is in striking contrast to the solemnity of the majority of her fellow artists." "Ledesma also touched on social realism in her work, with her most noted series underlining the racial inequities of the time.” "She tried to represent native paintings with concern but away from the drama. One of her best stage was marked by the issue of blackness." 

Her artwork can be found in various private collections worldwide. It can also be found in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Miami, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico, the Contemporary Art of Madrid, and the Gallery of Modern Art. Ledesma's work has also been featured in the Sarduy Gallery of New York, Art Gallery Nader, Signs of New York, and the Gallery of Modern Art in Santo Domingo. Clara Ledesma Terrazas died on May 25, 1999. 

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