Visiting Olga de Amaral and Jim Amaral

The second day of our visit to Bogotá was devoted to a visit to legendary Colombian textile artist Olga de Amaral and her artist-designer husband-partner Jim Amaral. They had first met as students at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, when the two attended the prestigious school in the 50s. Upon graduating, Jim, who was born and raised in California went to visit Olga at her hometown Bogotá, fell in love, and has never left. The two have since crafted the most spectacular life and careers, spanning half a century, and several countries, working together and separately in a remarkable colonial villa situated in the Northern part Bogotá. Jim creates bronze sculptures and objects full of symbolism, movements, and kinetic character, furniture, surreal drawings, and erotic paintings; Olga creates her famed large-scale woven abstract works, made of small pieces of woven cotton and Japanese paper, all covered in gold and silver leaf. She has become internationally known as a key figure in postwar Latin American abstract art. Their son Diega Amaral, a publisher and the most talented photographer, carefully photographs and documents his parents’ art, illuminating their creations and publishing their catalogs and books, while his daughter Valentina, a recent graduate from Christie’s Education program is responsible for all aspects of documentation, business relationship, and exhibitions. Meeting Jim in person was a true treat as he generously shares his life story and the process behind his art. 

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