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Francisco Manuel Oller Cestero


View of the Guaraguao Print by Francisco Oller

The Battle of Trevino

The Battle of Trevino Print by Francisco Oller

View of the Guaraguao

Our Lady of Lourdes Print by Francisco Oller

Our Lady of Lourdes

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The Battle of Trevino Print by Francisco Oller

The Battle of Trevino

Francisco Oller (June 17, 1833 – May 17, 1917) was a Puerto Rican visual artist. Oller is the only Latin American painter to have played a role in the development of Impressionism.

Early years

Oller (birth name: Francisco Manuel Oller y Cestero [note 1]) was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, the third of four children of Cayetano Juan Oller y Fromesta and María del Carmen Cestero Dávila.[2] When he was eleven he began to study art under the tutelage of Juan Cleto Noa, a painter who had an art academy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, Oller demonstrated that he had an enormous talent in art and in 1848, General Juan Prim, Governor of Puerto Rico, offered Oller the opportunity to continue his studies in Rome. However, the offer was not accepted as Oller's mother felt that he was too young to travel abroad by himself.

When Oller was eighteen, he moved to Madrid, Spain, where he studied painting at the Royal Academy of San Fernando, under the tutelage of Don Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, director of the Prado Museum. In 1858, he moved to Paris, France where he studied under Thomas Couture. Later he enrolled to study art in the Louvre under the instruction of Gustave Courbet.[3] During his free time, Oller, who had a baritone type of singing voice, worked and participated in local Italian operas. He frequently visited cafés where he met with fellow artists. He also became a friend of fellow Puerto Ricans Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán and Salvador Carbonell del Toro, who were expatriates in France because of their political beliefs. In 1859, Oller exhibited some of his artistic works next to those of Bazille, Renoir, Monet, and Sisley.[3]

For a short time, Paul Cézanne was one of Oller's students, although their professional relationship deteriorated with time. By 1865, Oller was known[by whom?] as the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic Impressionist artist. In 1868, he founded The Free Academy of Art of Puerto Rico.

Later years

In 1884, he founded an art school for young women which was later to be known as the Universidad Nacional. In 1871, Spain honored Oller by naming him a member of the Caballeros de la Orden de Carlos III (which translates to Knighthood of the Order of Carlos III), and a year later he became the official painter of the Royal Court of Amadeo I. Oller developed an interest in bringing out the reality of Puerto Rico's landscape, its people, and culture through his works of art. Oller's paintings can be found in museums worldwide, including the Louvre in France.

Francisco Oller died on May 17, 1917 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


The town of Cataño in Puerto Rico, named a high school after him and the City of New York renamed P.S.61 in The Bronx P.S. Francisco Oller. There is also a Francisco Oller Library in the Escuela de Artes Plásticas (School of Plastic Arts) in San Juan. The Francisco Oller Museum where many artists, such as Tomás Batista, exhibit their work is located in the city of Bayamón. In Buffalo, New York there is a Francisco Oller and Diego Rivera Museum of Art where Manuel Rivera-Ortiz and other artists have exhibited their work.

List of some of Oller's works

El pleito de la herencia (1854–1856)
Retrato de Manuel Sicardó (1866–1868)
El Estudiante (1874)
Las lavanderas (1887–1888)
La Escuela del Maestro Rafael Cordero (1890–1892)
El Velorio (1893)
Bodegón con piñas
El Cesante
Hacienda La Fortuna de Ponce (1885) [See [4] and [5]]


This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Oller and the second or maternal family name is Cestero.


"Feature Exhibition: Mi Puerto Rico". Newark Museum. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
http://nobox.net/voz/prog_216.mp3 (Spanish) "Oller en Europa": Haydée Venegas' interview by La Voz del Centro
Raynor, Vivien (February 10, 1984). "Francisco Oller, Puerto Rico Glimpsed". The New York Times. |chapter= ignored (help)
“Hacienda Fortunata” (sic) de Francisco Oller a la colección del Brooklyn Museum. Coalición Artistas de PR. COA / REVISTA DE ARTES PLÁSTICAS DE PUERTO RICO Y EL CARIBE: Puerto Rican & Caribbean Contemporary Art and the Diaspora / Arte Contemporáneo. 17 Junio 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
Photograph - PONCE - A Sugar Refinery or Plantation near City of Ponce, P. R. circa 1898. [Identified by a viewer as Hacienda La Matilde] - Vintage Photo measures 7 x 5 inches. Flickr. Retrieved 5 September 2013.


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