Tucson’s Folk Artist ~ Salvador Corona

For a few years there was a venue in downtown Tucson called The Maker House inside of the Bates Mansion. The Maker House venue is long gone, but I was fortunate enough to attend an event there and got a chance to enjoy the many architectural elements of the building. For example, the ceilings are spectacular with mounding like I’ve never seen. And then there is the mural by Salvador Corona.  

Mural – Bates Mansion – downtown Tucson


Salvador Corona, in his early years in Mexico, was a bullfighter. After being gored by a bull, and with encouragement from a colleague, he turning to painting.

  

He depicted 17th and 18th century colonial Mexico based on stories he heard while growing up in the Mexican state of Chihuahua; stylized landscapes; scenes of Tucson; etc.

In 1939, at the request of the Mexican government, he traveled to New York City’s World’s Fair to represent Mexico.

Bed detail


His painted furniture attracted the attention of many wealthy American patrons, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Commissions followed.

After getting a commission to paint the rotunda in The Manning house in downtown Tucson he came to live in Tucson, wife and daughters in tow, in about 1950. He died in 1990. His studio and residence was located at 1701 East Speedway Boulevard, and then 902 North 4th Avenue. 

He was, for many years, one of Tucson’s leading artists. His folk art paintings of Colonial Mexico can still be found in some Tucson homes and businesses. He is also well known for his smaller-than-a-mural objects. Boxes, trays, frames, beds, screens, etc. 

 While in Tucson his work was sold exclusively through Frank Patania Thunderbird shops located next to the Fox Theatre and in the Josias Joesler designed Broadway Village. 

 
There have been two major exhibitions of his work: in 1989 at the Arizona Historical Society and in 2010 at the Arizona State Museum.

Today, his works can sell for a pretty penny, so keep an eye out for his distinctive style.


 

Carol Fenn, 1-2017