(b Cartagena, Dec 18, 1920; d Bogotá, Apr 1, 2004).
Colombian painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, and stage designer. He studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1941 to 1943 and subsequently visited Italy, where he studied fresco and etching techniques before settling again in Colombia. Consistently devoted to the human form, he initially depicted figures with angular heads and striped tunics in a strong light, with symbolic objects such as eggs, masks, or cages.
In such later paintings as Boy with Umbrella (1964; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas) Grau’s figures were transformed into plump, fleshy, and voluptuous beings, richly arrayed with lace, feathers, hats, and fans, like characters taken from the theater or from popular turn-of-the-century postcards. His scenes were gradually filled with anecdotal details and numerous objects, including cupboards, easels, boxes, masks, and flowers, through which he suggested emotionally charged atmospheres. Grau also produced murals, prints, stage sets, films, and especially sculptures. The first of these were assemblages of antique and industrial objects, but he subsequently made cast-bronze sculptures that convey a sensuousness, mystery, and nostalgia similar to that evoked by his paintings....