April 17th marks the birth of Puerto Vallarta’s most famous artist, Manuel Lepe. The city marks this day as an official day of observation for Lepe and his work that has become internationally known.
This year, the city of Puerto Vallarta presented a postal stamp to commemorate the artist and hopes to have it approved and available in 2018. The proposal will need to be sent to Mexico City for approval by Correos de Mexico, the Mexican postal service.
Lepe was never formally trained as an artist, and completed only four years of elementary school. His paintings symbolizing people through the years, mostly in his paintings based on landscape and view of his native village, Puerto Vallarta.
He became internationally recognized through exhibitions of his work in many museums in the United States. He was named National Artist by President Luis Echeverria Alvares in 1979.
On April 16, 2010, Puerto Vallarta honored Manuel Lepe with the title of “Favorite Son of Vallarta.”
With his work considered within the Naïve art, Manuel Lepe managed to reach recognition among contemporary artists worldwide. His work went beyond the borders of Mexico and was included in the French Directory “Painters of the Century.”
Lepe held forty-three exhibitions in his lifetime. Probably the most important at the Museum of Art and Science, Los Angeles, California in 1979, an exhibition that was enjoyed by over a million visitors.
He died in 1984 in Guadalajara from a cerebral aneurysm. His workshop in Puerto Vallarta is preserved as a gallery and museum. Some of his works are on display there as well as at the Peter Gray Museum of Art on the Coastal Campus of the University of Guadalajara, North of Puerto Vallarta.