Pedro Coronel is a Mexican artist who is regarded as one of the forefathers of mid-century Mexican art form innovation. The Generacion de la Ruptura includes Pedro Coronel as a member. Art critic Teresa del Conde gave the name Generación de la Ruptura (Breakaway Generation) to the generation of Mexican artists who rebelled against the established Mexican School of Painting, more commonly known as Mexican muralism after WWII. According to Santos Balmori, Coronel reinvented Mexican painting from its origins, establishing a new link between the past and the present.

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Pedro Coronel_©Laura Cohen

Early Life

Pedro Coronel was born into a wealthy family. Growing up in an artistic family where both parents were musicians who played the violin and clarinet. Along with Pedro Coronel, Rafael, his younger brother, is another well-known artist. Pedro was a restless child, a daydreamer, and a rebel. He frequently skipped classes because he disliked school, and it took him twelve years to complete his primary education. He much preferred to visit the quarry and observe the workers remove stones from the mountain. He gathered tops, marbles, and puppets when he was younger. This interest would eventually grow into a sizable collection of artwork from around the globe.

When he was thirteen years old, he enrolled in the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda,” where he studied under artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Frida Kahlo, and Francisco Ziga. Coronel developed relationships with Santos Balmori, Rivera, and Zuiga. Although Santos Balmori’s influence encouraged him to paint, he initially studied sculpture. He began to value colour as a result of this.

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Pedro Coronel working  on his  artwork_©prabook

After visiting Paris in 1946 as he started his art career, he decided to live there part-time from the late 1940s through the 1950s, spending half the time in Mexico City and half in Paris. He taught at La Esmeralda in the 1960s, spending most of his time in Mexico but also making frequent trips to Europe, Asia, and the US. At the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City during this time, he also collaborated with Mathias Goeritz, Rufino Tamayo, and Pedro Friedeberg.


Coronel has been described as having a stern, occasionally violent personality and speaking bluntly. He has, nonetheless, also been praised for his honesty and fairness. He used the term “life” in the sense of emotion when he said, “He who does not yell, he who does not tremble, had no right to live.” He claimed that the only reason he feared dying was that it would put an end to his paintings.

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Sculpture made by Pedro Coronel_©flickriver


Coronel began his career as a sculptor, but he soon switched to painting, with the latter becoming more important. Between 1949 and 1984, he produced the majority of his artistic output, which consisted primarily of oils on canvas and masonite, as well as sculptures in onyx and sandstone. During his formative years, he collaborated with Victor Brauner and the sculptor Constantin Brâncuși in Paris. In 1954, he had his first painting exhibition, which captivated the interest of art critics. From that point until the end of his career, he displayed his artwork in Mexico, France, Italy, the US, and Brazil.

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Adan Y Eva by Pedro Coronel_©inverarte

Philosophy and Workstyle

Even though spontaneity and freedom of expression were his goals, his work tended toward abstraction. Naturalist, structuralist, lyrical, chromatic, and the revival of native indigenous themes are some of the stages into which his work has been divided. Most of his early artwork is figurative. The juxtaposition fields, idealistic images, and convergence of reality and fantasy in this work are all created. In his later works, where forms and colours replace Image s, his style becomes more distinct and personal. From 1953 to 1957, Picasso and Expressionism are both influenced by his art, which features everyday objects like bottles, glasses, and lamps. Retrato de Mujer from 1953 and Naturaleza Muerta from 1956 are two noteworthy pieces from this era.

Allegories featuring legendary characters are more appealing at a later stage. These paintings include Mujeres Habitadas from 1960, El Advenimiento de Ella from 1958, and La Lucha from the same year. After that, his paintings started to get brighter and the lines started to get simpler, like in Los Fantoches Luminarios in 1962 and Rincon de Sueno in 1961. Rufino Tamayo’s influence can be seen in paintings like Interno Magico in 1963 from the years 1962 to 1963. Work became more abstract from 1966 to 1975.

The majority of his work was produced during this period as well. This later work is distinguished by pushing the use of color to the limit without going overboard. This use of color is similar to that of Rufino Tamayo, but Coronel innovates by using vivid, pure hues and by harmonizing background and form, in contrast to other painters, like his brother Rafael, who place the background second to the main subject. Red and yellow, are two hues that predominate in many of his works and are often associated with melancholy, passion, and loneliness.

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El Advenimiento de Ella _©Discursovisual.jpg


He amassed a large collection of pre-Hispanic, African, Asian, Greco-Romano, and Medieval art, as well as graphic art, over the course of his life, with over 1,800 pieces from various places and times, including Roman, Egyptian, and Chinese works, as well as art and handcrafts from Africa, the Mexican colonial period, and works by Goya, Picasso, Miró, and Chagall. This collection was displayed shortly before Coronel’s death, and the public response prompted him to donate it to the Mexican people; it has been part of the permanent collection of a museum named after him in Zacatecas since 1986.

On May 23, 1985, Coronel passed away in Mexico City. By his wishes, his remains were transferred to Zacatecas in 1986 and are now housed at the Pedro Coronel Museum.

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Pedro Coronel  at site _©Lider Empresarial

Museo Pedro Coronel

Before his passing, Coronel donated his art collection, which led to the establishment of the Museo Pedro Coronel, which President Miguel de la Madrid dedicated in 1985 in the city of Zacatecas. The former Real Colegio y Seminario de San Luis Gonzada, a Jesuit institution established in 1616, is where it is situated. In 1785, the Dominicans took over and started the Colegio de la Pursima Concepción. It served as a jail from the 19th century until 1962. It underwent renovations in 1983 to become the museum that it is today.

The state of Zacatecas, CONACULTA, and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes support the Pedro Coronel Biennal, an art competition that bears his name, which the Museo Pedro Coronel sponsors. Despite the museum’s existence, it can be difficult to view the painter’s works in a public setting. The Miguel Alemán Foundation and the organization agreed to a preservation and promotion agreement in 2010 for the artist’s work.

Pedro Coronel Museum _©travelbymexico

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INVERARTE ART GALLERY , 2022. Zacatecas, 1921 – Mexico City, 1985. [Online]
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Spellmangllery, 2022. PEDRO CORONEL. [Online]
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Wikipedia, 2022. Generación de la Ruptura. [Online]
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Wikipedia, 2022. Pedro Coronel. [Online]
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Architect Neha Bhardwaj has a master's degree in architecture pedagogy. She loves to teach architecture and works hard to make it understandable for her students. Along with architecture, she enjoys writing about her feelings and views poetry as a form of architecture or vice versa.

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