Rafael Fernández - Biography
1935: On October 24th in a home in Barrio La Constructora,
on the southern side of the capital, Rafael Ángel Fernández
Piedra was born. He was the fourth son of Claudio and Silvia.
1950 - 1953: After 15 years of outside games and bullfights,
he entered the “Casa del Artista “(Home of the
Artists); Quico Quirós, Paco Amighetti, Lucho Ranucci,
Carlos Salazar and Dinorah Bolandi would be his teachers.
1954: For the first time and in the National Theater Rafa
exhibited 11 paintings. On this occasion he shared the show
with Claudio Monge.
1957: The first individual exhibition of Rafa’s (at
this time he signed
Rangel) was in the Arlequín Theater. The critics were
more than generous and his works were reviewed by many of
the country’s intellectuals.
1958: Thanks to a scholarship in January, he traveled to
Nicaragua to study in the “Escuela de Bellas Artes”
in Managua (the School of Fine Arts) under the master Rodrigo
1961: He participated as a guest in the First Art Festival
organized by Grupo Ocho. After seeing his painting the master
Manuel de la Cruz insisted on meeting him and invited him
to be a part of his Workshop.
1968: “The Dirección General de Artes y Letras”
gives him a scholarship to travel to Spain for the first time.
There he has exhibitions and begins to work in the circle
of Fine Arts in Madrid and wins first prize in a drawing contest
organized by the association.
1971: Between April and May, in Knox and Campbell Galleries,
in Arizona, he held what would be his first series of individual
shows in the United States. Two years later, he held an exhibition
in the Gallery of the Pan-American Union of the OAS in Washington
Since then, he has held more than six shows in this country.
1972: He won for the second time, the National Prize in Painting
“Aquileo Echeverría”. In 1968, he was the
winner but because he disagreed with the jury he rejected
1974: He created a mural of 45 x 2.5 meters for the Clinic
Marcial Fallas in Desamparados (C.R) titled “Alegoría
al trabajo” (Allegory to work)
1975: He again received the National Prize in Painting “Aquileo
Echeverría” and declared “the first prize
flattered me, the second stimulated me but the third embarrassed
1976-1978: He took courses in Artistic Lithograph in the
Centro Regional de Artes Gráfica (CREAGRAF), he alternatively
exhibited paintings and graphic work in Panama, Nicaragua,
Germany, Great Britain and also Costa Rica and created the
“Parque de la Expresión “(Park of Expression)
Sunday encounters in art, music and theater for children and
1981: This year he exhibited around 90 works of art in the
Institute of International Culture in Honduras ( Instituto
Hondureño de Cultura Interamericana), in the Galería
Arte 80 in Panamá, and in the Eleanor Jeck Gallery
in Arizona. In these paintings the ethereal women begin to
appear and that now populate so many of his paintings suggesting
nostalgia, serenity and indifference.
1982: He created an association with the artists Otto Apuy,
Edwin Cantillo and Gerardo González and later joining
Álvaro Bracci and Mariano Prado. He was invited to
paint a mural of 2 x 4 meters for the Museum Vial Rafael Bogarín
1983: In addition to many exhibits in and out of the country,
he published a book with visual stories “Psicorafismos”
and created the “Museo de la Miniatura” (Miniature
1985: He moved to Spain where he had successful exhibits
in places such as the Galerías Infantas, in Madrid,
and Gaudí, in Barcelona. There he won prizes such as
in Santiago en el 52 Salón de Otoño in the Centro
Cultural de la Villa de Madrid and in Galerías Preciados.
1987: He had an exhibit in the United Nations in Washington.
His paintings caused such intense emotions that one of the
spectators destroyed one of the paintings.
1989: One year after returning to Costa Rica he created a
mural of 5.20 x2.10 meters celebrating the country’s
one hundred years of democracy. Its name is “The Patria”
and is exhibited in the Club Unión.
1990: All of the press announced: The painting, “the
Caravana”, by Rafa Fernández was sold in 1.000.000.!
This initiated a market that in the following decades no other
national artist has achieved.
1992: He exhibited in Maison de l’Amerique Latine in
París, France. The sculptors José Sancho and
Jorge Jiménez Deredia completed the show.
1998: The Museum José Luis Cuevas in México,
The Museum Ralli of Contemporary Art in Punta del Este, Uruguay
“the Museum of Hombre” en Quito, Ecuador, invited
him to form a permanent part of their collections.
2001: His work, “Eterno femenino”, painted for
the National Theater, the maximum coliseum of arts in the
country, became his eternal legacy to Costa Ricans. This same
year he was invited to the 49th Edition de la Bienal in Venice.
2002 He received the Magón award, the maximum award
given for his life-time contributions in Costa Rican culture.
2004: In The Museum of Arte Costarricense exhibited: “Magia,
pasión y ensueños”, an exhibit of 60 paintings
of the artist.
2005: The work “La mirada furtiva”, in which Rafa
Fernández showed 36 oleos in a small format constituted
a rebirth for the artist. This same year he was invited to
permanently exhibit a self-portrait in the Uffizi Gallery,
in Florence Italy. There his painting is shown along with
other immortal artists such as Chagall, Rembrandt and Delacroix.
2009: His exhibition, “Lunas del silencio” In
the Museum Calderón Guardia was a complete success:
25 oleos in a large format presented a new facet in Rafa’s
career, an expressionist and free to create.
Six months later the VIII Edición de Valoarte gave
him homage dedicating a complete hall to the exhibition of
some of his more recent works: small and medium oleos that
marked the genesis
“Pequeñas voces nocturnas. “ It was a show
that celebrated the closing of a prolific year of the artist.
2010: He presented an anthological show of his lithographic
work in the halls of the Corte Suprema de Justicia. He exhibited
25 of his latest work in the Sala Kaleidoscopio and inaugurated
in Octubre the work “Alquimia“for the Galería
Arthis of Guatemala which celebrate his 60 years of his artistic
30 individual and collective exhibitions:
1992 Art Miami "94, Convention Center, Florida, U.S.A.
"Latin American Art Spirit", Valanti Gallery, San
José, Costa Rica
Rayo Museum, Roldanillo, Colombia
Art Miami "93, Convention Center, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
1993 Fia "92, Iberoamerican Art Fair, Bogota, Colombia
Kandinsky Gallery, San José, Costa Rica
1991 Fiart "91, International Art Fair, Bogota, Colombia
Gaudi Hall, Barcelona, Spain
1990 Antonio Palacios Hall, Madrid Community, Spain
1989 Latin American House, Paris, France
1988 Matiz Gallery, San José, Costa Rica
1987 O.N.U. , New York, U.S.A.
"Nido Textil" Award, Madrid, Spain
1986 Infantas Gallery, Madrid, Spain
1985 Infantas Gallery, Madrid, Spain
Gaudi Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Santiago Award of Santiago in Painting and 2nd. Medal in Drawing,
Autumn Hall, Madrid, Spain
Corte Inglés Award at the XXII Exhibition in San Isidro,
Selected artwork Casa León, Ponferrada, Spain
Eureka Gallery, Madrid, Spain
XXII San Isidro Exhibition, Madrid, Spain
1984 Matiz Gallery, San José, Costa Rica
Sotheby´s November Auction, New York, U.S.A.
Cofradía Plaza de la Cultura, San José, Costa
Cristóbal Colón Award, Cultural Center Conde
Duque, Madrid, Spain
1st. Hispanic Plastic Sample, Kreisler Gallery, Madrid, Spain
1983 1st. Edit. Drawing Book "Psicarafismos", San
José, Costa Rica
1980 Arte 2000 Gallery, San José, Costa Rica
1980 Valanti Gallery, San José, Costa Rica