The Szekely family collection of sculpture, paintings, mosaic, ceramics and more adorn the Ranch, indoors and out, for guests' edification and enjoyment. Colorful folk art from the major craft regions of Mexico can be seen in public areas as well as guest residences.
The Villas Health Center Art Gallery displays 30-plus works by contemporary Latin American artists, along with the famous J.P. Morgan Collection of primitive Brazilian art.
Well-known artists, craftsmen, writers, poets and photograpers often spend a week working and teaching at the Ranch. In addition, there is an on-site art studio which offers workshops in jewelry making, as well as a weekly fine art program that includes classes in sculpture, drawing and painting. Enjoy a glass of local Baja California wine with resident artist Jennifer Brandt and sculptor Jose Ignacio Castaneda at an exibition of their works in the gallery adjoining the art studio.
Brief bios of several of the artists are included here. To fully appreciate and discover their works, join a tour led by our artist-in-residence during your stay.
This San Diego artist is known for his innovative design work and sensitivity to the environment. He utilizes craft materials ranging from metals, clay, cements and wood to stained glass. His comprehensive design approach allows him to create memorable buildings, chapels, and parks -- places for healing the soul and renewing the spirit. James Hubbell is the creator of the stained glass doors and window in the Administration Building, Kuchumaa Passage, and the mosaic center piece in the Dining Hall buffet area.
The artist was born in Almadina, a small town in the interior of Bahia, Brazil, in 1949. Jose set out in 1966 for Rio de Janeiro and began painting in 1968 in a studio with fellow artists Leonardo Cunha and Mary Lino. His themes involve rural, interior-like scenes. He plays with shapes, masses, volumes, motions and tempos.
Antonio Baptista de Souza came to Brazil as a boy from Santa Cristina, Portugal. He learned to be a potter with his father and became known as Poteiro –one who makes pots. He developed from a potter into a celebrated ceramicist and was later encouraged to paint by a local artist, Siron Franco. Poteiro is essentially a storyteller, weaving tales of men, animals and saints, which he collects from the streets, the Bible and his dreams.
Born in Guaxupe, Minas Gerais in 1939, Vitor settled in Sao Paulo, where he worked as a news agent and in advertising. In 1967, he launched himself as a painter of original art. He began exhibiting in 1971, and went on to develop a sound and well-appreciated artistic career. In his painting, Vitor recreates the magical world of his boyhood.
Born in 1905 in Morro de Barro Hermelho in Rio de Janeiro, Silvia graduated as a teacher from Escola Normal do Distrito Federal, and as a lawyer from Faculdade de Direito do Rio de Janeiro. A writer, translator and professional journalist, she found literature the first vehicle for her intellectual expression. After 1943, she dedicated herself to painting –her real vocation which gained her lasting popularity.
As a young woman in Warsaw, Poland, she began her artistic career creating models for the puppet theatre in Gdansk. She moved on in the '60s to a research center for Polish "pop" art and was artistic director at Art Intrography Cooperative in Warsaw. Magdalena then migrated to Italy before moving to Brazil in 1975, settling in Sao Paulo. She incorporates in her pictures the exuberance of Brazilian flora and fauna –a world rich in colors and shapes.
Victor Hugo Castaneda
The artist was born in La Palma, Michoacan, Mexico, in 1947. In 1969 he began his career as an artist at the National School of Paint and Sculpture La Esmeralda at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City. During his artistic studies he collaborated with world-renowned artists. His inspirations include tropical women; natives of the indomitable sierras; and women from forgotten mesas, paths and springs, clouds that cut the solar planes, and from glimmerings and anxieties. Casteñeda pays homage to the significance of women, and to the beautiful as opposed to the ordinary.
Well-known artists, craftsmen, writers, poets, and photographers often spend a week working and teaching at the Ranch (see Events Calendar).
Jose Ignacio Castaneda
Born in Mexico City in 1968, Nacho Castaneda is part of the fifth generation of Castaneda sculptors. He began working in marble at the age of fourteen, and in metals at nineteen. He earned two FIne Art degrees from the National School of Fine Arts San Carlos, where he studied sculpture, painting and engraving. He has been exhibiting his work since 1989 and teaching since 1997. In 2008, he began teaching sculpture at Rancho La Puerta. Castaneda creates sculptures both in the family tradition of figurative females, and abstract works inspired by organic forms and his own ideas about genetic shifts and the evolution of life.
Born in New York, Brandt came west in her mid-twenties. Trained as a classical actor and vocalist, she was a performer for the first half of her life, and was co-founder and artistic director of a critically-acclaimed theatre company in Los Angeles. In 2001, when she realized she just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, she quit the theatre and returned to her first love--painting, drawing and creating beautiful things with her hands. In 2004, she became resident artist at Rancho La Puerta, where she teaches painting, drawing and jewelry making, as well as creating and exhibiting her art. Brandt works in various media--pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, sculpture--and is passionate about history and art and the still point where all branches of knowledge converge.