Humberto Chaves Cuervo - In memoriam

AÑO CHAVES: un tiempo para celebrar la vida y obra de un artista: Humberto Chaves - Pintor

Humberto Chaves: Self portrait. Pen and ink. 1952


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.

What's new on the page:

Humberto Chaves and female world. The history of a happy encounter


Other content:

Biography of master painter Humberto Chaves

Dossier El Libertador: history of a painting

Mater Dei. Works by Humberto Chaves on the Virgen Mary

Transportation Series

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

Transportation Series

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.

On the other hand, the Magdalena River is now dying, polluted and reduced, with nothing to replace it, and paradoxically, land transportation today is done on roads that go up and down mountains, when they should follow the course of rivers. In any case, in times of drought, the River decreased its flow until it compromised the navigation of the steamships. 

Viaduct of Sinifaná - Amagá Railway viaduct

Mater DEI

Works by Humberto Chaves on the Virgin Mary

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.

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!

The critical days of the pandemic coincide with the days of giving a positive assessment of our project, since although 2020 has been a catastrophic year for humanity, for the preparation of the Chaves Year it has not been an obstacle or threat, because everything what has been achieved is a gift, an addition.

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