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Mexpert's Blog

Travel news and information on Mexico from Mexico.

Painter Johan Falkman

Many of us are inclined to think that, with the advent of photography, the art of portrait painting has gone the way of the dodo bird. Not so, proves Swedish painter Johan Falkman, whose newly inaugurated one-man show at Mexico City’s San Ildefonso museum features more than 90 of his “psychological portraits.”

Touted for reinventing the genre through his expressionist style, Falkman says his greatest inspiration has been Mexico’s muralists, including Siqueiros, Orozco and O’Gorman. Their influence is evident in his group and individual studies in oil featuring bold strokes, highly textured surfaces and vibrant colors more typical of tropical Mexico than northern Sweden, where artists tend to use more muted shades, says exhibit curator Leticia Lopez Orozco.

Falkman’s subjects are other Swedes, from well-known doctors to actors to members of the royal family, and occasionally himself. “All of the characters I have painted in this exhibition are experts at playing their roles,” says the artist, which is one reason he selected them. Are his subjects generally happy with the end result? “Some are quite happy, but there have also been people who have been completely destroyed by it,” he admits with a laugh. “Some people have been very shocked by my depiction of them, probably because I have focused on an aspect of their personality they were not aware of.”

Falkman talks with art critic Robert C. Morgan about his career and artistic process Saturday, March 24, at 1pm (in English, with simultaneous translation). Also, art students and teachers are invited to watch the artist at work, from Tuesday, March 27, to Thursday, March 29, 10 am to 1 pm; reservations required by calling 5789 2505 or emailing

  • Johan Falkman, La alteridad en el espejo
  • Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
  • Justo Sierra 16, Centro Historico
  • Until July 15, 2012



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