Graciela Rodo Boulanger
Born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1935, Boulanger was raised in an artistic environment. Her mother, a concert pianist, and her father, a businessman and art connoisseur, nurtured her talents. She studied the piano and at age 11 enrolled in the School of Fine Arts. At 17 she went to Vienna to study both art and music, and at 22 Mme. Boulanger travelled to Argentina for the stimulating artistic environment of Buenos Aires. Continuing to study both piano and painting, she gave art exhibitions as well as concerts. It had been her desire to pursue both, however the two careers were so demanding that a choice had to be made. Boulanger decided to devote herself to her creative expression through painting.
While in Buenos Aires she had two of the most significant meetings of her life. She met Claude Boulanger, the French diplomat whom she would later marry, and saw her first etching by Johnny Friedlaender, considered to be one of the finest engravers in the world. As a result, she studied with Friedlaender at his Paris studio from 1961 until 1968.
Mme. Boulanger’s paintings contain brightly colored figures strongly contrasted by a neutral backgrounds. She explains, "The mountains in Bolivia are a drab color, very brown, very grey, and the people wear intensely bright colors…This light is very limpid and crystal clear, and the colors have a special resonance." Mme. Boulanger uses form, pattern and texture in many of her works to express motion and unify the composition. She conveys her vision as a means to explore the relationships inherent in all humanity. In her paintings we see through her eyes with the directness and innocence of a child. A recurring theme in her work is the special rapport between children and animals. The children are without fear of the animals, they are simply curious about their fellow creatures, inspiring an immediate emotional response.
Boulanger’s work has gained international fame and success and since her first one-woman show in Vienna in 1953, she has worked in many other mediums including etching, lithography, watercolor, pastel, and sculpture. In 1979 UNICEF designated her as their official artist for her “Year of the Child” poster. Also, two of her tapestries were presented in the public hall of the U.N. General Assembly. The Museum of Modern Art of Latin America in Washington DC gave her a retrospective show of her oeuvre in 1983. In 1986, the Metropolitan Opera of New York commissioned her to do the poster for their production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” and a show of her paintings with opera and ballet themes was held by the art gallery of Lincoln Center. Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn honored Mme. Boulanger by declaring October 16, 1987th as “Graciela Rodo Boulanger Day”, USA. In 1993, the World Federation of the United Nations chose to use one of her oil paintings, “Viaje Imaginario,” to illustrate a stamp issue and accompanying limited-edition print with the theme of endangered species. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Washington D.C.; the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; the Museum of Modern Art in La Paz; and the Modern Art Center in Zurich, to name a few.
Mme. Boulanger loves the ambiance of Europe and the cultural stimulation of New York, but she always returns to Bolivia to paint amidst the inspiration of the people and the mountains. Garciele Rodo Boulanger exhibits in the North East exclusively with Newbury Fine Arts and we look forward to her return to Boston for her next one-woman show.