Florencio Molina Campos, the gaucho painter:
“I try to look in the distant years of my boyhood to find the first feeling of what was eventually to become, with music and reading, the passion of my life: painting.”
Florencio Molina Campos.
On October 3rd, 1891, in the Buenos Aires parish of San Nicolás, Eduardo O´Gorman – brother of the famous Camila – baptized with the name Florencio de los Angeles the man that we know today as Florencio Molina Campos.
He was the son of Florencio Molina Salas and Josefina del Corazón de Jesús Campos y Campos.
School vacations – he attended the Colegio La Salle, Colegio El Salvador, and Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires – were spent at his father´s family Estancia , “Los Angeles”, in El Tuyú, and later at “La Matilda”, an Estancia leased by his family in Chajarí, in the Province of Entre Ríos.
From an early age he drew landscapes, country people, and the scenes of country life that he had observed and recorded during his school vacations.
After his father’s death, in 1907, he had to take jobs at the Post Office, the Sociedad Rural Argentina, and the Department of Public Works. His efforts to achieve independence first as a cattle dealer and later on a farm in the Chaco were doomed to failure.
In 1926, at the age of thirty-five and encouraged by a friend, he exhibited a number of drawings and paintings at the annual exposition in the Central Hall of the Sociedad Rural.
President Alvear visited the show and bought two of Molina Carnpos’ works. The rest of his pictures were quickly sold out and he became the popular gaucho painter in Argentina.
The next year, he exhibited in the old Rambla in Mar del Plata, where he met María Elvira Ponce Aguirre, who later became his second wife.
From 1931 to 1944 he produced calendar illustrations for the Fábrica Argentina de Alpargatas, and these are now considered his best and most important painting.
Walt Disney, an admirer of Molina Campos´ work, hired him as and adviser on several films, but the results did not satisfy the artist, who saw that the image of the Argentine gaucho was being debased.
His illustrations for Estanislao del Campo’s Fausto, published by Kraft, are unforgettable.
From 1944 to 1958 the gaucho painter illustrated calendars for the Minneapolis-Moline farm machinery manufacturer.
These calendars became famous throughout the United States, where he lived
for many years.
Florencio Molina Campos, born in Buenos Aires on the twenty-first of August 1891,
died in the city of his birth on the sixteenth of November 1959.
Based in Juan Carlos Ocampo´s book.
You can visit this and some other gauchos museums, galleries and culture attractions in this Tour: Cultural & Arts Legacy of the Gauchos Day Tour