Fernando Rivero

Born in Málaga, Spain in 1914, he was an artist in every sense of the word. As a child, he drew everything he saw. He graduated from the Real Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and studied architecture at both the Escuela Nacional de Artes Gráficas and the Escuela de Arquitectura, all in Madrid. He also studied painting with Daniel Vázquez Díaz, considered an important figure of Spanish modern painting. His career spanned Spain, Sweden, France, Mexico, the United States and Puerto Rico. His versatility was evident in the many media he used for his works, including: paintings (oil, watercolor and acrylic), ceramics, drawings, mosaics, fabrics, intarsia, architectural design of furniture and interiors, original prints in many media - lithograph, etching, aquatint, drypoint, linoleum, woodcut and silkscreen - and wardrobe and set designs. His ceramics were chosen by the famous Spanish critic Eugenio D'ors for the "Salón de los Once" exhibition of the Academia Breve de Crítica de Arte of Madrid in 1953. His paintings and prints have been exhibited in important galleries across Spain, Paris, London, Stockholm, Mexico, New York and San Juan.

Among his major works in architectural and interior design in Spain are the Castellana Hilton and Suecia y Wellington Hotels in Madrid, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela, and the Parador de Turismo of Cordoba; in Puerto Rico, the Porta Coeli Church in San Germán and the San Gerónimo Fort in San Juan are a few of his works, among others. He collaborated with the design of critically acclaimed dance, ballet, opera and theater companies in Madrid (Lope de Vega Theater, Teatro de La Zarzuela), Paris (Marigni Theater, Champs Elysées Theater), London (Cambridge Theater), Mexico (Teatro Bellas Artes), as well as in Sweden, Germany, Puerto Rico, New York, San Francisco and other North American cities, to name a few. In Madrid he designed sets, wardrobe and lighting for the Spanish Dance companies of Pilar López, José Greco, and Ximénez-Vargas.

In Puerto Rico, he worked with the Ballets de San Juan, Taller de Histriones, the Casals Festival, the Drama Department of the University of Puerto Rico, and Cisne Productions, among others. In 1950 in Sweden he was a consultant to the State Theater (Gothenburg) and the Royal Opera of Stockholm. He was also hired by the French government to enlarge the studios of the Beaux Arts School and was invited to do advanced studies in ceramics. At this time, he produced for the Ballet Vicente Escudero the sets and wardrobe of the Suite Flamenca and for the Ballet Español de Pilar López, in the Champs Elysées Theater, El Amor Brujo and El Sombrero de Tres Picos.

As Artistic Director of WIPR TV, the television station of the Puerto Rico Department of Instruction, he directed the set, wardrobe and ambiance design of more than 35 works, ranging from opera and ballet to classic Greek theater. During various stages of his life he taught set design, serving in his last post as professor of sets and wardrobe at the Drama Department of the University of Puerto Rico. The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture dedicated its 38th Festival of Puerto Rican Theater to him, recognizing his talent and extraordinary contribution to the artistic development of the island. He died in San Juan, Puerto Rico July 3, 1997. Source: Arte Foundation