South American contemporary artists

The Factors That Have Influenced the Development of Latin American Art

Four decades ago, Latin American artists were little known in the U.S. and other parts of the globe. Fast forward to today, you’ll find artwork from Latin American painters displayed in the best galleries in Coral Gables and other major cities in North America. Today, South American contemporary artists continue to introduce Latin Art to the top Miami art galleries and other art galleries worldwide. As a result, about 2.8% of Hispanic and Latino artists have their work displayed in prominent museums. Many more have their art displayed in local art galleries in Miami and other cosmopolitan cities.

Let’s explore how unique Latin American Art emerged and the South American contemporary artists who influenced Latin art significantly.

An Overview Of Latin American Art

Before we dig in, let’s first define what Latin American art is. For the most part, Latin American art is understood to include artwork made in Central and South America and the Caribbean. As such, artists from South American countries, like Brazil, Argentina, and Columbia, and artists from Caribbean countries that speak Spanish such as Cuba, may be referred to as Latin American artists.

Latin art also refers to artwork made by Latin American painters who live in other regions like North America or Europe. A good example is Pablo Leonardo Martinez, who was born in Cuba but lives in Spain. Also, states such as Florida and California have many Hispanic artists from the Caribbean and Central and South America. As such, they are often referred to as Latin American artists, and their artwork is labeled as Latin American art.

With that said, let’s explore the development of Latin art and the events that influenced its growth.

Influence By European Art During the Colonial Period

European countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal introduced their fine art to Latin America during the colonization period. This influenced indigenous Latin art, and a new art style called Indochristian art was born. Most of the artwork was influenced by religious topics. Ultimately, a Cuzco school was set up in Peru, which led to the popularization of the Cuzqueña paintings. Eventually, this gave birth to the casta painting movement that spread to Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Casta paintings became the first form of secular art in Latin America during the colonial period.

Mexican Muralism

Muralism is perhaps the most popular and significant art style to originate from Latin America, and in this case, Mexico. Murals from influential artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco illustrated the Mexican revolution, Marxism, labor inequalities, Mexican culture, and the industrial revolution. Mexican Muralism played a big part in fortifying Latin American art in the international art industry. Mexican muralism movement remained mainstream for about five decades, from 1920 to about 1970. Even today, you’ll find several South American contemporary artists borrowing from Muralism.


Surrealism significantly influenced Latin American art. Popular Mexican surrealist artists such as Frida Kahlo used this style in their artwork. Surrealism came about in Europe after World War 1 and grew to influence Latin art significantly. Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most successful Mexican surrealist artist. She integrated Realism, Surrealism, and Symbolism in her paintings, which were mostly self-portraits and illustrations of traditional Mexican culture. Other Hispanic artists who influenced Latin American surrealism include Alberto Gironella, Roberto Aizenberg, Mario Carreño Morales, Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antúnez, and Wifredo Lam.

Contemporary Latin America Art

In the last three or four decades, Latin art has gained international attention, and influential Latin American artists such as Fernando Toledo and Mauricio Contreas are globally acclaimed. Additionally, you can find contemporary Latin American art from the best art galleries in Coral Gables and other top cities. With Latin art getting more international acclaim, South American contemporary artists are finding more success in the European and U.S. art industries.

Latin American art has come a long way from being little-known in the 20th century to become one of the most sought-after artworks in the current art industry. You can find unique fine art from South American contemporary artists in an art gallery near you.