Juan De'prey, though entirely self-taught, painted pieces that are far from primitive; his works are advanced and refined, demonstrating an independently gained mastery. Many have compared his work to that of the Mexican muralists, and De'prey himself has been called "the Puerto-Rican Gauguin." De'prey was experimental in his use of media, and even created his own technique of combining oil paint and charcoal. He painted with a tremendous love of both the process and the product. All of his subjects were approached with equal enthusiasm, landscapes and portraits alike.
De'prey lived in Brooklyn Heights, NY with his wife and three children, having immigrated to the United States in 1929. Even years after moving to New York, he continued to paint detailed scenes from memories of his native Puerto Rico in many of his works. These representations are loving, careful and detailed; they integrate uniquely Puerto Rican settings with individual experiences. Though De'prey began to gain prominence as an artist in New York City later in life, he went largely unrecognized in Puerto Rico until somewhat recently.
Early in his career, De'prey struggled to support his family and took a number of varied jobs, but he always found the time to paint. Before becoming a full-time artist around 1940, De'prey worked as an elevator operator in upper Manhattan. Here, he sold his paintings to building residents by displaying them in the back of the elevator car.
He later exhibited his work at the Washington Square Outdoor Art Show, and was finally noticed there by prominent gallery owners. Since his acceptance into the fine arts world, his beautiful and serene paintings have gradually gained wider appreciation in both Puerto Rico and the United States. His work has been exhibited in the Whitney Museum of Art, the Riverside Museum, the Eighth Street Gallery, Galeria Sudamerica, and solo shows at Galerie St. Etienne. And, though he was unable to see it in his lifetime, his works have finally entered the collection of the Museo del Arte in Puerto Rico.
Numerous significant works by Juan De'prey are available. Please contact the gallery further information.