Federico Castellón


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Printmaker, painter, and draftsman. Particularly known for etchings, he specialized in dreamlike scenes inspired by surrealism. Born in Almeria, Spain, Federico Cristencia Castellón y Martinez emigrated with his family to Brooklyn in 1921, was naturalized as a citizen in 1943, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He had almost no formal instruction in art but traveled in Europe on several occasions. In the early 1930s he developed a style related to the veristic form of surrealism just coming to be admired in the United States through the work of Salvador Dalí. He died in New York. Castellón's work characteristically features vast, desolate spaces peopled by enigmatic people and objects. In the brightly sunlit but troubling painting, The Dark Figure (Whitney Museum, 1938), a menacing individual, garbed and hooded in black, wrings his hands in the foreground. Grouped before a wall behind him is a nightmarish arrangement of people and body parts, along with indecipherable elements and four drooping rings held aloft.

Subjects: Art.

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