Enrique Montenegro, Reclining Nude

Enrique Montenegro, Reclining Nude, 1955

Enrique Montenegro
1917 Valparaiso, Chile – 2003 Albuquerque, New Mexico
Reclining Nude
oil on canvas
46 x 63 in.
Albuquerque, Museum, gift of Raymond C. Chatfield, M.D., 1981.147.2
photo by David Nufer

Enrique Montenegro’s Reclining Nude demonstrates the tensions present in art of the time, hovering between figuration and abstraction. Montenegro was an integral figure in the lively modern art world of Albuquerque in the 1940s and ‘50s. As a painting professor at the University of New Mexico, Montenegro championed a young Richard Diebenkorn (later a massively famous California painter) whose graduate degree was threatened with nullification when recalcitrant, realist painting professors resisted Diebenkorn’s urge to paint in the Abstract Expressionist style that was even in the late 1950s already becoming passé in New York.