Juan Carlos Figari Castro

autorretrato                       por su padre 


Juan Carlos was born to Pedro Figari and his wife, María de Castro, in 1894. He became an architect, taught drawing in high school, and in Arts and Crafts at the time his father was director.

         He was his  father’s “right hand” in Montevideo, and went on being so when he left on his creative adventure.

         It seems that as much as Juan Carlos wanted to collaborate, Pedro wanted to lean on him. I have the feeling it was practically a symbiose.

         Juan Carlos was an excellent draftsman and a good painter in his own right, and would have been surely great had he been able to get off the ground, but during his short life his goal was to be next to his father in every sense.

         They would often share the brush in the same painting, which can be appreciated, sometimes quite clearly. Besides, some pictures are signed, apart from “P. Figari”, “Juan Carlos”, or “Col.” (for collabor…). It is my feeling that that second signature was added by the father in homage of his son. In the case of one painting that I own, in a print of it in a book published in 1930, 3 years after the death of Juan Carlos but 3 years before Pedro stopped painting, it bears only the first signature and now it has “J. Carlos” too.

Considering how hard it was for us to reach at the paintings stacked at my grandmother's, it isn't difficult to imagine how it must have cost Pedro to reach at them among six times as many, if he wanted to add the name of his son when he wanted to honour him, so I dare guess that more than often that homage wasn't accomplished.

        In the case of "P. Figari - Col.", my guess is that it is more contemporary to the painting of the picture.

        Anoter guess of mine is that some paintings classified by Herrera MacLean as Pedro's, were exclusively or mostly the work of Juan Carlos. But the three were so close, that it proves how intimate the work of father and son was.

          According to their painting together, the shows they also held together, as long as Juan Carlos lived. In 1927, diving off the yacht of Raúl Monsegur, rich Argentine, friend and Mecenas of Figari, right off Marseille, Juan Carlos caught a ear infection, and died three days later after the infection reached his brain. But even the day before he died, they both opened a show in Paris, vernissage that Juan Carlos attended with a bandaged head. He was buried in Père Lachaise.

                                                             Fernando Saavedra