Héctor Rafael Rodríguez-Irizarry. Visual Artist • Painter • Draughtsman • Teaching Artist • Artist Curator.

Born of Puerto Rican parents in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and raised in Puerto Rico. The artist has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Painting from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and a Master of Art Education from Universidad Ana G. Méndez. At Syracuse University, Héctor Rafael studied under the tutelage of artists Sharon Gold, Jerome Witkin and Michael Sickler. His art education continued right after completing his B.F.A. in an unconventional manner. Héctor Rafael worked as an Art Handler and Cataloguer at Christie’s New York (1996-2002); where he was able to study firsthand the artwork of some of the great masters in the history of art. 

The artist's paintings have been included in exhibitions in Puerto Rico, Chicago, Los Angeles,  New York, Miami, Boston, Istanbul (Turkey), London (United Kingdom), Barcelona (Spain), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Lisbon (Portugal), Florence, Mantua and Venice (Italy). His role as an educator has made him very influential in a new generation of Puerto Rican artists and professionals in creative fields.  In 2019 Héctor Rafael was recognized in Europe for his artistic merit during the Bienal Internacional de Arte de Barcelona at the Museu Europeu d'Art Modern (MEAM) in Barcelona, Spain and in Mantova Biennale Internazionale d’ Arte Contemporanea at Museo Diocesano Francesco Gonzaga in Mantua, Italy. Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Effetto Arte Foundation granted three awards recognizing his artistic and stylistic merit in 2023: 1° International Prize Donatello at Palazzo Borghese in Florence, the International Prize Leonardo Da Vinci at Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan and the International Prize Michelangelo at Teatro Italia in Rome, Italy. In 2024 Héctor Rafael received for the second time the International Prize Botticelli at Palazzo Borguese in Florence, Italy (the first time was in 2019).

The artist’s work is part of prestigious private and public collections including Colección Reyes Veray,  Museo de Arte de Caguas, Museo de Arte Francisco Oller and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) in Chicago, Illinois.

Education:

Universidad de Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Gurabo

Master of Art Education – Summa Cum Laude

Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts – Cum Laude
Major in Painting. Minor in Illustration.



Solo Exhibitions:

2019   Transmutación Colectiva, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), Chicago, Illinois. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael and Jorge Félix.

2017   Ser, Galería Cidreña, Cidra, Puerto Rico. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael and Javier Velez García. 

2016   Biomórfico, Museo de las Américas, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael.

2013   Horizontes y Fragmentos, Pamil Fine Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael and gallery owners Paco González and Mildred Ascar González.

2010 Transfigurado, Galería Yemayá, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael and Beto Torrens.

2009   El Gigante, Galería Yemayá, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael and Beto Torrens.

2007   Cuadriculado, Galería Pintadera, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael and art dealer Robert Hernández.

2006   Revelaciones, Galería Pintadera, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael and art dealer Robert Hernández.

2004-2005  Latente,  A. Cueto Gallery, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael and gallery director Arnaldo Cueto. 

2003    Atletas Cósmicos, RoKa Espacio, Santurce, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Héctor Rafael and art dealer Arnaldo Cueto.

Biennials:

2019 Mantova Biennale Internazionale d’ Arte Contemporanea, Museo Diocesano Francesco Gonzaga, Mantua, Italy

2019 Bienal Internacional de Arte de Barcelona, Museu Europeu d'Art Modern (MEAM), Barcelona, Spain

2007 Biennale Internazionale dell’ Arte Contemporanea di Firenze, Fortezza da Basso, Florence, Italy

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2024  Diálogo, Pamil Fine Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Parallel exhibition of Poli/Gráfica de Puerto Rico: América Latina y el Caribe, curated by gallery owners Paco González and Mildred Ascar González.

2023 - 2024  En la Otra Orilla,  Museo de Arte de Caguas (MUAC), Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2023 - 2024  Encuentros, Pamil Fine Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by gallery owners Paco González and Mildred Ascar González.

2021-2022  Sucesiones: narrativas gráficas en el dibujo, Museo de Arte Francisco Oller, Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Curated by MAFO team.

2020  Acervo, historia y futuro, Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2019 Alchemic Body, The Line Contemporary Art Space, London, United Kingdom. Curated by architect Luca Curci.

2019 Segnalati, Meeting Art Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal. Curated by Dott. Salvatore Russo.

2019 Polifonía, Quinta Dominica, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Curated by Carlos Acero Ruiz (AICA) and Miguel Ángel Fornerín (AICA).

2018 Presencia, Canvas Miami Gallery, Miami, Florida. Curated by Silvia Medina.

2018 Bodies, Surfaces International Art and Architecture Festival, Palazzo Ca' Zanardi, Venice, Italy. Curated by architect Luca Curci.

2018-2022  Encuentros, Pamil Fine Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by gallery owners Paco González and Mildred Ascar González.

2017 Perspectiva de Género: exposición de hombres artistas, Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2016 Future Landscapes, Borders International Art and Architecture Festival, Palazzo Ca' Zanardi, Venice, Italy. Curated by architect Luca Curci. 

2015 16a Muestra Nacional de Artes de Puerto Rico, Museo Casa Blanca, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by Abdiel D. Segarra Ríos.

2015 Al Ras del Filo, Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2015 Ecléctica, Espacio Emergente, Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Curated by MAFO team.

2013-2014 Retro, Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2011-2013 Carry-On: Puerto Rico Inspected, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; Abrazo Interno Gallery, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, New York, NY; Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC), Chicago, IL;  Georgia College Museum, Milledgeville, GA. Curated by artists Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez and Beto Torrens.

2010 Aroma del color, Pamil Fine Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by Maud Duquella, Aileen Castañeda, Carmelo Fontánez and Rafael Trelles.

2009 Carlos Osorio y el Valle Criollo, Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

2008 Instants, Dolmabahce Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. Curated by Erenus Art Gallery.

2008 Exposición Reyes Veray, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC), San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by architect and art collector Otto Reyes, Adlín Ríos Rigau, Manuel Álvarez Lezama (AICA), Enrique García Gutierrez (AICA) and Hiromi Shiba Lecompte (AICA).

2008 Ciclos, two person exhibition, Galería Yemayá, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael, Gretchen Ruíz and Beto Torrens.

2007-2008 Terruño y el paraíso perdido, Museo de Las Américas, San Juan; Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Curated by artist Elsa María Meléndez.

1997-2002 Christie’s Annual Staff Exhibition, Christie’s, New York. Curated by artist Laura Paterson.

1997 Naked Landscapes, Spazi Contemporary Art Gallery, Housatonic, Massachusetts.

1995 Polimorfo, two person exhibition, Shaffer Art Building, Syracuse University. Curated by artists Héctor Rafael and Beto Torrens.

Auctions:

2018 Elton John Aids Foundation Benefit Silent Auction & Cocktail Reception, Los Angeles, California

2008 Somos Reflejo , Benefit Auction – Miguel Cotto’s El Ángel Foundation, Hotel La Concha, San Juan, Puerto Rico

2001 A Few of My Favorite Things, Free Arts for the Abused Children Benefit Auction, Honorary Chairperson - Harrison Ford, Sotheby’s, New York

Awards:

2024  2° International Prize Botticelli, granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Effetto Arte Foundation at Borghese Palace in Florence, Italy.

2023  International Prize Michelangelo - The Genius of Italy, granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Effetto Arte Foundation at Teatro Italia in Rome, Italy.

2023  5° International Prize Leonardo Da Vinci, granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Effetto Arte Foundation at Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan, Italy.

2023  1° International Prize Donatello, granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Effetto Arte Foundation at Borghese Palace in Florence, Italy.

2019 International Prize Artist of the Year granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica and Art Now at Teatro Sociale di Mantova in Mantua, Italy

2019 International Prize Diego Velázquez, Bienal de Arte de Barcelona, Gomis Palace, Barcelona, Spain

2019  1° International Prize Botticelli  granted by Russo Studio di Consulenza Artistica at Borghese Palace in Florence, Italy.

1993 Carnation Scholarship Award, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Art Fairs:

2020 Art Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Intracoastal Waterways Luxury Properties, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

2008 International Caribbean Art Fair, The Waterfront, Chelsea Art District, New York, NY

Selected Articles, Essays, Catalogues and Books:

Acero Ruíz, Carlos, AICA (2019).  Un encuentro entre artistas dominicanos y puertorriqueños, Polifonía Exhibition Catalogue, Quinta Dominica, Dominican Republic.

Álvarez Lezama, Manuel,  AICA (2008), La Colección Reyes Veray ante los retos de las nuevas – y a veces controvertibles - miradas estéticas y éticas desde los años noventa,  Colección Reyes Veray Exhibition Catalogue, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Puerto Rico.

Curci, Lucca (2019). ItsLiquid Interview at The Line Contemporary Art Space, London, UK. Retrieved from https://www.itsliquid.com/interviewhectorrafael.html?fbclid=IwAR3JWu7uIDExk_STOq6CvrPI7dmt6SIxhRdoSJr

Curci, Lucca (2016). Interview during Future Landscapes, Palazzo Ca'Zanardi, Venice, Italy. Retrieved from http://www.itsliquid.com/interview-hector-rafael.html

Fornerín, Miguel Angel, AICA (2019). Polifonía, el arte contemporáneo del Caribe, Polifonía Exhibition Catalogue, Quinta Dominica, Dominican Republic.

García Gutiérrez, Enrique, AICA (2009). El Gigante...pinturas de Héctor Rafael, El Gigante Exhibition Catalogue, Galería Yemayá, Puerto Rico.

Medina, Silvia (2018). Presence - An Interactive Mosaic of Puerto Rico's Creative Diversity, Art Districts Florida Magazine, No.57, Miami, Florida.

Meléndez, Elsa María (2010), Retro, Retro Exhibition CatalogueMuseo de Arte de Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Peláez, José A. (2006). Revelaciones sobre Héctor Rafael, Revelaciones Exhibition Catalogue, Galería Pintadera, Puerto Rico.

Ramos, Zoé (2013) Oteando sobrearte y cultura, Periódico La Voz Hispana, July 2013, p. 19, NY, New York.

Rodríguez, Jorge (2018), Presencia artística en Florida, El Vocero de Puerto Rico, November 20, 2018, p.26, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rodríguez, Jorge (2018), Boricua une su talento al de Elton John, El Vocero de Puerto Rico, March 5, 2018, p.21, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rodríguez, Jorge (2017), Abstractos Monumentales, Escenario, El Vocero de Puerto Rico, August 11, 2017, p.19, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rodríguez, Jorge (2016). Arte Boricua en Venecia, El Vocero de Puerto Rico, October 10, 2016, p.23, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Russo, Salvatore (2019). Segnalati, p.67-69, Lisbon, Portugal.

Russo, Francesco and Russo, Salvatore (2023). Michelangelo - The Genius of Italy, Milan, Italy.

Russo, Francesco and Russo, Salvatore (2023). Leonardo Da Vinci - The Universal Artist, Rome, Italy.

Russo, Salvatore (2023). Contemporary Celebrity Masters, Vol. 1, 2 , & 4, Florence, Italy.

Shiba Lecompte, Hiromi, AICA (2008), Ciclos: reencuentro de dos pinceles, Galería Yemayá, Puerto Rico.

Vélez, Pedro (2009), Carlos Osorio y el Valle Criollo, Tres Museos Criollos, Municipio Autónomo de Caguas, p.86.

Vélez, Pedro (2007). Héctor Rafael y la abstracción expansiva, Cuadriculado Exhibition Catalogue, Galería Pintadera, Puerto Rico.

Employment:

Colegio Católico Notre Dame

Head of the Department of Art

2013 - Present

Art Teacher

2003 - Present

Christie's New York

Maritime and Sporting Art Department

Cataloguer and Art Handler

2000 - 2002

Latin American Art Department

Cataloguer and Art Handler

1996 - 2000


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