Biography

Mercedes (Clementina Marta Del Carmen) Pardo (1921-2005, Venezuela)

The daughter of Rafael Pardo Becerra and Inés Mercedes Ponte Machado, Mercedes Pardo was one of the most important representatives of abstract art in Venezuela. Her work revolved mainly around painting but also extended to stained glass, enamel on metal, and graphics. Likewise, she created pieces involving architectural integration as well as theatrical sets and wardrobe. She taught and founded several creativity workshops. During her childhood, she was taught painting by Danish professor Ingeborg Fostberg, and at age thirteen, she began taking courses at the Academy of Fine Arts, which she continued in 1941 and completed in 1944. In 1945, she married Marco Bontá, a stained glass and mural painting professor from Chile, divorcing him shortly thereafter. She traveled to Chile to attend the Santiago Academy of Fine Arts (1947), where she had her first solo show. 

In 1949, she was awarded a fellowship by the Government (Ministry of Education), and then moved to Paris to enroll at the École du Louvre, where she studied art history under Cohe de la Ferti and Jean Cassou. During this period, she began producing collages and her first abstract works. In 1951, she married Alejandro Otero in London. 

In 1952, she returned to Venezuela and participated in the International Exhibition of Abstract Art (Cuatro Muros Gallery, Caracas). Abstractionism began to be recognized in Venezuela during the 1950s, and a climate of renewal for both artistic production and education was supported by Caracas University’s implementation of an artistic integration project and by the return of a generation of artists educated in France. Around 1956, Pardo began producing pieces that could be categorized as pre-informalist given their use of a rich pictorial layer, though her work tended toward a formal exploration of color effects. In 1956, she began doing stage sets with Elizabeth Schön’s Interval at the National Theater in Caracas. In 1960, she moved to Paris, where she painted abstract watercolors characterized by their lyrical brushstrokes, drips and blotches that created a highly dynamic artistic space. 

In 1962, she became a founding member of the San Antonio de Los Altos Cooperative School in the State of Miranda, known today as the Community School and initiated its craft workshops, where she also gave classes. Working in architecture integration, she produced a number of pieces, including a stained-glass window at the La Hoyada station of the Caracas subway (1983), a mosaic mural at the J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital (Caracas) and the ceiling of La Viña Shopping Center in Valencia (Carabobo State). In 1991, she held her most important anthological exhibition, Abodes of Color at the National Art Gallery. During her final years, she worked and lived in San Antonio de Los Altos (State of Miranda).

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1947

Sala del Pacífico, Santiago de Chile, Chile

1962

Fine Arts Museum, Caracas, Venezuela

1964

Signs, Sala Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela

1967

Signs, Cruz del Sur Bookstore, Caracas, Venezuela

1969

 

1 x 9 Color of Serigraphy, Fine Arts Museum, Caracas, Venezuela

1970

 

Recent works by Mercedes Pardo, Sala Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela

1971

Fine Arts Centre, Maracaibo, Venezuela

1974

Aele Gallery, Madrid, Spain

1977

 

 

Adler/Castillo Gallery, Caracas; El Parque Art Center, Valencia, State of Carabobo; Pecanins Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico

1978

 

 

Today, from Mercedes Pardo’s Studio, National Art Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela; Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, Mexico

1979

 

 

Color, Skin, Meditated Presence: Mercedes Pardo, National Art Gallery / Adler/Castillo Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

1980

 

Mercedes Pardo in Margarita: Paintings/Serigraphs, Francisco Narvaez Museum, Venezuela

1983

 

Inesauribile Venecia, Sagitario Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

1991

 

Abodes of Color, National Art Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

1993

 

Graphic work by Mercedes Pardo, Venezuelan Consulate, New York

1994

 

Graphic work by Mercedes Pardo, Los Espacios Cálidos, Caracas, Venezuela

1995

 

Graphic work by Mercedes Pardo, Ministry of Exterior Relationships, Caracas, Venezuela

1996

Sacred Museum, Caracas, Venezuela

2000

 

Mercedes Pardo: 1951–2000, MAO / Color and Form, GAN, Venezuela

2005

 

Pueblo de la Mar Cultural Center, Porlamar, State of Nueva Esparta / Unimet, Venezuela

Selected Public Collections

Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogota, Colombia

Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela

Banco Mercantil Foundation, Caracas, Venezuela

Cisneros Collection, Caracas, Venezuela

National Art Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela