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Digging Deeper: Once Upon A Time

When was the last time you browsed the Permanent Collection at the FAC? On display Dec. 1, 2012–Aug. 25, 2013 is Martin Saldaña: Once Upon A Time, a colorful exhibition of imaginative oil paintings. 

Martin Saldaña, Three Girls in Garden and One Boy. Oil on Board, Undated, FA 1995.11.15
Saldaña was 76 years old when he took his first art class at the Denver Art Museum. He is considered a self-taught folk artist, whose work is simple, direct, and highly personal. 


Saldaña documented whimsical memories from his childhood in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, portraying ranch life, landscapes, and his great love of animals. The prolific artist painted every day, completing a new piece about every three days and amassing an impressive body of work. Saldaña died in 1965 at the age of 91. 

Martin Saldaña, Bird of Paradise and Birds and River (detail). Oil on canvas, undated.
Gift of Jeanette S. Fowler of Tacoma, WA. 1995.11.8


“As it is with memory, Saldaña’s paintings blur the line between imagination and reality, they are fond remembrances of boyhood from a kind, elderly man.
Joy Armstrong, Assistant Curator, Fine Arts Center

Loving these works from our Permanent Collection? Try your own hand at painting under the guidance of a professional at the Bemis School of Art this summer. All ages and skill levels are welcome!