Museum of Fine Arts Houston presents Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Antonio Berni’s Juanito and Ramona Series on view from November 10, 2013, to January 26, 2014. On view will be more than 130 sculptures, prints and plates created between 1956 and 1978.

Antonio Berni, La gran tentación, o La gran ilusión (The Great Temptation, or The Great Illusion), 1962, oil, wood, burlap, canvas, paper, ornaments, iron, cardboard, plastic, glass, glue, lithographic image, and feathers on plywood, Malba - Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires. © José Antonio Berni

Antonio Berni, La gran tentación, o La gran ilusión (The Great Temptation, or The Great Illusion), 1962, oil, wood, burlap, canvas, paper, ornaments, iron, cardboard, plastic, glass, glue, lithographic image, and feathers on plywood, Malba – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires. © José Antonio Berni


Berni was widely recognized early in his career as the founder and leading painter of the New Realist movement in Argentina. But in the mid-1950s, motivated by the social distress and poverty he witnessed in Argentina amid social unrest and the country’s unbridled industrialization, Berni abandoned painting for assemblage. He devoted much of the rest of his life to chronicling the tales of Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel, two fictitious characters whose experiences over the course of 25 years were crafted to expose the undercurrents of Argentinean society. Berni witnessed Juanito and Ramona become popular legends and folk heroes within his own lifetime. Legendary composers, like Astor Piazzolla and Ariel Petrocelli, and acclaimed singers, like Mercedes Sosa and Atahualpa Yupanqui, composed and interpreted ballads telling the stories of these exceptional characters.

Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. The MFAH also houses the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a major research institute, founded in 2001, and dedicated to research and publishing in the field of Latin American and Latino art. www.mfah.org

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