One of the first works of art that began The Michael Aaron Gallagher Fine Art Collection was a bold, colorful sketch by the artist Juan Alberto Cruz.
Born in 1941 in Puerto Rico, Cruz eventually moved to Syracuse, New York in 1975. His recent retrospective at The Everson Museum of Art showcased the extraordinary work he has created in the years since. Occasionally referred to as “The Puerto Rican Picasso,” Cruz brings topics of social injustice to light through the lens of his own cultural heritage.
According to a title card at his Everson exhibit, “Cruz often deliberately leaves his paintings and collages untitled as a way to allow viewers to interpret the work themselves. He believes that by titling a work, its meaning becomes too direct.”
Knowing about Michael’s interest in cubism, his mother arranged a visit in the mid-2000s with the artist (whom she knew at the time) at his studio.
From that visit onward, Michael’s desire was to be able to add another piece of art by Cruz to his collection.
In the summer of 2019, Michael had the opportunity to visit the Juan Cruz Retrospective at The Everson Museum, which rekindled his search for the artist and his work. Although he has tried several times over the years to contact the artist in order to visit his studio again, his attempts have been unsuccessful.
Fortunately, during his search, he discovered a Juan Cruz oil painting for sale, which he later acquired. Painted in 1990, this untitled triptych of a winged sheep with the face of a man and a dog on its back, continues to be a conversation piece with viewers. Perhaps, it too will one day hang on the walls of a museum, showcasing the brilliant creative mind of a truly great modern artist.
Watch A Clip From The Juan Cruz Retrospective: