In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are featuring this poster designed by Puerto Rican graphic artist Lorenzo Homar, announcing the first Latin-American Print Biennial in San Juan (Primera Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano) which took place in 1970. Around 180 artists participated in the Biennial with the support of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña). A silkscreen print, this poster features stylized topography on a red ground with minimal, yet visually striking graphic elements.
Homar was born in 1913 in the San Juan neighborhood of Puerta de Tierra to Spanish-born parents. The family relocated to New York City in 1928, seeking new opportunities, and settled in Spanish Harlem, El Barrio. Homar studied at the Art Students League in 1930, and then at Pratt Institute. At the same time, he worked as a designer for Cartier, where he developed an interest in calligraphy and typography that influenced his artistic practice.
An important Nuyorican artist, Homar developed a political consciousness on the city’s streets. He enlisted in the US Army during World War II where he served in military intelligence and learned cartography. He was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded.
Homar returned to Puerto Rico in 1950 at which time he co-founded the Center of Puerto Rican Art (Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño). In 1957, after winning a Guggenheim Fellowship, he went on to organize the Graphic Arts Workshop of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (El Taller de Gráfica del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña) where he taught until 1973, profoundly influencing two generations of Puerto Rican graphic artists. He remained active until his death in 2004.
Homar's graphic works spanning 1937-1999 are included in the Princeton University Library and his work is in the collections of Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, and in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and El Museo del Barrio, among others.
Image: Lorenzo Homar, “1ra Bienal del Grabado Latino-Americano en San Juan de Puerto Rico,” 1970, silkscreen-printed poster, 31 x 23 inches, HHAR 2893.