Miguel Miramontes Carmona
Renowned sculptor Miguel Miramontes Carmona, a longtime Chapala resident, died in a Guadalajara hospital Wednesday, October 14 at the age of 97.
Born May 8, 1918 in Guadalajara, Miramontes was raised in a poor family. At a young age he learned trade skills as a tailor, silversmith and artisan of religious figures. He was also an avid sportsman who practiced boxing and had a short career as a professional soccer player.
At the age of 29 he emigrated to the nation’s capital where he enrolled at the prestigious San Carlos Art Academy. Returning to his native city in the early 1950’s, he joined the academic staff at the University of Guadalajara’s newly established School of Plastic Arts to found and head the sculpture department for three decades.
During the early years of his long career as a master sculptor, he rubbed elbows with all stars of Mexico’s 20th Century art movement such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Following his retirement in 1984, Miramontes and his family settled in Chapala. The sculpture studio set up at their Las Redes home became a sanctuary for continuing creative endeavors to the last days of his life.
His artistic legacy comprises more than 50 sculptures that grace public spaces in the Guadalajara metro area alone, including 13 of the statues ensconced in Rotunda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, the whimsical Niños Meones (pissing boys) fountain located near the Degollado Theater, the figure of Independence hero José María Morelos on Calzada Independencia, the stone obelisk at the Glorieta del Álamo commemorating the Mexican Revolution and the monument of the 1970 Soccer World Cup situated outside the Estadio Jalisco.
Miramontes also created the bronze statue of composer Pepe Guizar standing at the north end of Chapala’s Avenida Madero, the Niños Héroes bas-relief monument in the median strip opposite city hall, and the sculpture Los Sobrevivientes (the survivors) installed at the entrance of the Centro Cultural de Ajijic. He provided various pieces on loan for display at the Centro Cultural Gonzalez Gallo. Other important works are found in Puerto Vallarta and Houston, Texas.
The sculptor’s last public appearance was at the August 27 inauguration of Chapala’s Centro Cultural Antigua Presidencia where the rotating art exhibition gallery is named in his honor.
Miramontes is survived by his widow, Teresa Moranchell Canchola, and their daughter Claudia. Plans for funeral and burial services to be held in Guadalajara were still pending at press time.