Humberto Chaves Cuervo - In memoriam

Un sitio para conocer y celebrar la vida y obra de un artista: Humberto Chaves - Pintor

A site to discover the life and work of an artist: Humberto Chaves - Painter

Humberto Chaves In Memorian by María Teresa Lopera Chaves is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional License.


Humberto Chaves Cuervo (1891 - 1971) was a master painter who left his mark in fields as diverse as painting, advertising, drawing, illustration and decoration, and with themes such as landscape, portraiture, still lifes, urban progress in Medellín, Antioquia's economic history and religious and historical painting, always within its realistic conception inspired by the search for beauty as an ideal of art. The Chaves Cuervo - Pintor Project is dedicated to the investigation and dissemination of his life and work, thus contributing to the rescue of our cultural heritage and the visibility of the roots of our regional identity.

Biography of the master painter Humberto Chaves

Biography of the master painter Humberto Chaves - pdf

Artistic career

Humberto Chaves Cuervo - 130 years of his birth

“The child's foot does not yet know that it is a foot,

and wants to be a butterfly or an apple.

But then the glass and the stones, the streets,

the stairs, and the roads of the hard earth

they teach the foot that it cannot fly,

that it cannot be round fruit on a branch.

The child's foot was then defeated,

he fell in battle, he was a prisoner,

condemned to live in a shoe ”.

Pablo Neruda.At the foot from his child

Quoted by: Sorayda Peguero "The white sheep"

El Espectador. Diciembre 26 de 2015

Perhaps it was a bright day like today, when 130 years ago you saw the light for the first time, and that first was the light of Medellín, the small country that you inhabited, recognized and painted, the same one that a father gave you who did not fit into the churches or luxurious houses, and that he was only there to paint and decorate them, filling your childhood with colors, brushes and charcoals, and the same city where your mother died so soon, filling your soul with incredible nostalgia; the same city where you knew as a child the horrors of war and the arbitrariness of destiny, but also, the city where you found Maria, your home and your daily life so full of challenges.

We know that a serious transmutation occurred in your soul, and that perhaps your once bare feet were defeated by the harshness of the pavement, but your love for the light, the color and the beauty you never grew up before could never defeat, because as the child ready to play when the least occasion allows it, you were always there, ready with your eyes and your hands as a child painter soon to recognize the ethereal and fleeting moment when the soap bubble returns to be a drop, showing us how the light plays about everything we are and about what surrounds us.

That day in August was promising and no one imagined that today 130 years later we would return to your name and appreciate that strange mixture of tragedy and color with which you went through your existence, filling us with testimonies of the beauty that surrounds us, because that is your works, a I sing of respect for the other, an exploration without limits and without pause on this small homeland that your descendants still inhabit today.

Maria Teresa Lopera Chaves

The boy with the soap bubble - Design of María Teresa Lopera Chaves about an advertisement of Humberto Chaves Cuervo

Humberto Chaves Cuervo - sketch - 21 November 1921- Many of Humberto Chaves's works are dedicated to women: his wife and daughters were portrayed at different moments in life; he also paid attention to peasant women and workers, always with realism and respect.



Homenaje a las madres del mundo - Tribute to the mothers of the world - Hommage aux mères du monde - 向世界各地的母亲致敬 - Дань матерям мира - Homenagem às mães do mundo - Partem tributorum ex hoc mundo ad matres - Omaggio alle madri del mondo - Eerbetoon aan de moeders van de wereld - Huldeblyk aan die moeders van die wêreld - Hommage an die Mütter der Welt - تحية لأمهات العالم - Hyllning till världens mammor - 世界の母親へのオマージュ - Homenatge a les mares del món

Mater DEI

Mater Dei - pdf

Works by Humberto Chaves on the Virgin Mary

Transportation Series

Transportation Series - pdf

The Fabricato company commissioned the master Chaves to paint 14 oil paintings showing the means of transportation used in Antioquia to overcome its mountainous and difficult Andean geography.

Of all the means of transport, the one that turned out to be the most contradictory is the railroad: since 1870 there was already the aspiration to build it and several generations pledged their hope and their resources to build the railways of Antioquia and Amagá, and the most difficult section, the bankruptcy tunnel; The railroad was declining as the means of land transport par excellence, as it was displaced by motorized cargo vehicles, and the teaching of other countries where trains still coexist as part of a multimodal transport system was not applied.

Viaduct of Sinifaná - Amagá Railway viaduct

THE SADDLE - oil on canvas - Humberto Chaves Cuervo - 1947

Each painting tells a story like the saddle: from a certain point going up the Nare River, the terrain became so difficult that even the beasts could not travel through it, the only option was to be transported on the back of a carrier in a saddle.

Baron Humboldt declined to enter Antioquia territory because he considered it inconceivable that a human being could carry out this work. In 1861, overcoming his first reservations, the French doctor Charles Saffray did know the Antioquia territory and ended up declaring his admiration for the dignity and skill of the men who carried the saddles.

Here we continue!

Our thanks for each of your visits, they encourage us to continue our research. We look forward to sharing the results of the research with you and therefore invite you to visit us frequently. As always, our email and contact details remain open for your suggestions or contributions.

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The Project reaches its goal

The Humberto Chaves Cuervo - Painter Project has achieved its objective: to prepare the celebration of the CHAVES YEAR, since 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the artist's death and will be celebrated through cultural, recreational and civic activities.

We will publish the results of our research in its English version on this page and we invite you to visit us frequently.


María Teresa Lopera Chaves

Tel. 313 76 011 09



Calle 12 sur No.43A- 255 Ap.807

Medellín - Colombia

Postal Code:  050022