John Nieto 1936-2018

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John Nieto was one of America’s most dynamic contemporary artists, concentrating on themes that transcended mere representation. He utilized intense primary colors, applied in bold strokes to give dimension and character to the canvas. In his etchings and drawings, Nieto employed classic linear techniques to create images of great detail and depth. In all of Nieto’s art, sensitivity and respect for his subject are projected. He concentrated on capturing in his work his unique vision of the subjects he painted on canvases of vibrant, electric hues. The bold imagery of Nieto’s dynamic style is the essence of his art through which he sought to evoke a reaction or response from the viewer. His art is a synthesis of his philosophy and his technical versatility, a powerful expression of pride and vitality. Nieto was unique among contemporary American artists. His personal philosophies were a vital element of his consummate style. Nieto stated, “I employ a subject matter that is familiar and express it the way I see it”.


This was accomplished via his use of vibrant color and strong assertive line. The combination of his sensitivity with his technical versatility became the vehicle that allowed him to transcend the ordinary. After participating in an exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. John met with President Reagan in the Oval Office of the White House and presented him with the painting “Delegate to the White House”. The painting hung in Washington for the duration of the President’s term in office and now has been included in the presidential library.

Nieto’s distinctive style, a combination of subject matter, bold comparisons and searing color, is instantly recognizable and collectors throughout the United States and abroad prize his work. He has produced bronze sculptures, etchings, lithographs, and silkscreen prints, in addition to drawings in pastel crayons and charcoal. In his later years, however, he was devoted almost exclusively to painting. In 1981 John participated by invitation in the “Salon d’Autumn” at the Grand Palais, Paris, France. In 1989 he mounted a one-man show at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. Each summer he had an annual exhibition in Santa Fe, NM at Ventana Fine Art. John Nieto’s family roots ran deep in New Mexico, as it was his ancestral birthplace for more than 300 years. After prolonged ill health, John passed away in July of 2018 at his home in Texas.