Julio daCunha

July 23, 2019

I’ve spent the last month immersed in the paintings of Julio daCunha, which will go on view in a retrospective at the Delaware Art Museum in early 2020. daCunha produced a body of work that is both diverse and recognizable as his own—brilliant and startling juxtapositions of color, flattened compositions with bold lines and inventive geometric forms, subjects that include perennially-challenging myths and pure abstraction. The exhibition is part of the Museum’s ongoing Distinguished Artist Series, which recognizes artists who have made a significant impact on the local art community. While daCunha was born in Colombia, attended the world-renowned Cranbrook Art Academy, and exhibited and sold his work internationally, he became deeply invested in Delaware after moving to the state in 1956. There he exhibited in local galleries and served as a professor at the University of Delaware for 35 years.

As the Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about how daCunha’s work was received. He maintained personal scrapbooks, which feature exhibition pamphlets, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. Numerous associates—friends, fellow-artists, and gallery owners who supported his career—are eager to share their memories. In the process we have been introduced to artwork by daCunha that is in private collections, and we hope to discover more.

Given daCunha’s investment in the Wilmington and Newark regions, we are now sharing our celebration of his work with the broader public. If readers have been impacted by daCunha as a person and as an artist, we would welcome them being in contact with the Museum by sending any thoughts or images to mwinslow@delart.org. And for those not yet familiar with daCunha’s legacy, we ask that you mark your calendars for the beginning of 2020 and the opportunity to encounter his life’s work in person.

Olivia Armandroff
2019 Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow
Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Class of 2020, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Entanglements II, 1975. Julio daCunha (born 1929). Oil on canvas, 33 3/8 × 39 1/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sewell C. Biggs, 1975. © Julio daCunha.

Venus’ Entourage, 1990. Julio daCunha (born 1929). Digital print [Ink jet], composition: 10 3/4 × 13 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the estate of John Stephens Crawford, 2016. © Julio daCunha.

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