Nota publicada online

miércoles 4 de enero, 2023
Celebrating Ides Kihlen
2022: A year of great recognition
Costa Peuser, Marcela
por Marcela Costa Peuser
Andres Duprat, Director of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires with te artist.
Andres Duprat, Director of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires with te artist.

A whole year of celebrations: exhibitions, tributes and acknowledgments to an artist with a carrer as extensive as secret. During eigth decades Ides worked in her atelier, indifferent to fashion, movemements and, above all, indefferent to the art system: her interest was focussed on creation itself. An artist committed to her vocation.

Born in Santa Fe Province, on July 10 th, 1917, Ides Kihlen studied what she loved: painting and music.

She started her education when she was 14 years old at the “Escuela de Artes Decorativas de Buenos Aires”, led at that moment by Pio Collivadino. She was also Vicente Piug‘s student and she frequented Emilio Pettoruti and Juan Batlle Planas ateliers. In Paris, she studied with Andre Lhote too. As from 1961, she studied in the “Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Ernesto de la Cárcova" being Kenneth Kemble, an artist who belonged to the group of informalist, her professor. During the 80s she continued her atelier work with Adolfo Negro.

Ides studied, visited museums, painted and lived her own world. Her works had no titles or dates; some of them fell by the wayside. Her academic painting for more than twenty years took a turning point at the beginnig of the 80s allowing herself an amazing freedom.

Her paintings are characterized by her luminous and organic backgrounds inducing movement to the other elements appearing in her work; as if lines, fabrics and papers were  dancing, spilling over and leaving her work without permission. There are no limits for her, her restless mind explores different supports and backgrounds, she also worked with fluorescent paint. She used a broom to paint the backgrounds of her big sized works. Today, in her one hundred and five years , her hands are her favourite tool, determined hands that draw, paint and stick little papers with the same strength she still plays the keys on her piano.

Although she knew the referring artist of her times, she was always loyal to her free and playful style and was never interested in exhibiting. In 2000, Augusto Mengelle, Director of the Galeria Arroyo, discovered her work and took her to arteBA- an important Buenos Aires art exhibition- that resulted in a sales event; her image in particular, caught the interest of critics and collectors. That was how her first institutional exhibitions arrived: a retrospective at the Museo de Artes Decorativas in 2002, followed by Museo Caraffa from Córdoba and Centro Cultural Borges exhibitions and her participation in important international fairs and individual shows in oustanding galleries, all of this under the care of her daughters, Ingrid González Monteagudo and Silvia González Kihlen, who became her representatives, while Ides was still dedicated to what she loved: painting.

She celebrated her one hundred years with two very important exhibitions: “100 years of Abstract Art”, at the CCK and "All the year is Carnival" at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Buenos Aires with the issueing of a postal card on her work of value for collectors.


Ides went on with her wise life routine: painting since very early in the morning -almost 8 hours- composing and playing her music on the piano to end her day having a little glass of champagne.S he went through the pandemic in the same way, listening to the news and creating. "Every day of this quarentine is the same to any other. I paint since I get up and when the light is gone I play the piano and compose music. I am only worried by the other people sadness and the helplesness in the face of  the pandemic. I try not to think a lot and I immerse myself in my painting to go ahead”, she confessed when we interviewed her from Arte Online.

2022 was a year of great celebration to Ides Kihlen, to her work and her life .It started with an important exhibition in West Palm Beach organized by Via Margutta Gallery from Córdoba . In March, the same gallery presented her stand at the MAPA in Buenos Aires.

In April, an exhibition in honour of Ides was organized at the Museo de la Carcova by the Universidad Nacional de las Artes to her student and distinguished her with the Doctor Honoris Causa as an oustanding art and culture personality. “Portraits of a past present", curated by Ruben Betbeder and Dardo Fabián Flores exhibited Kihlen‘s work from her education time to the present, through a selection that resembled the profound transformation of her work that, however, always kept her essence: "a prodigiuos process of overcoming the false dichotomy figure/background, her interest in the geometric synthesis and her exquisite and  sensitive handling of color".

Ides was one hundred and five years old on July 10th , 2022 and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes cellebrated with "A tribute to Ides Kihlen" exhibition. The saloon on the second floor of the museum became a great musical partiture inhabited by Ides’ lyric and ludic compositions: her white, black and red series. Some of the creations of this amazing artist could also be heard there.

With María Florencia Galesio, curator and researcher of the musseum, the exhibition included a selection of 28 of Kihlen’s pieces , from the automatic creations which constantly cross her enquires on paint and music , to her most recently works of the “Pandemic" series in which black and  white are the  predominant colors. A well- deserved hommage, at our most important musseum, to this artist who, as Andrés Duprat –Director of Bellas Artes- said: “until a short time ago, her work was one the best secrets kept of the Argentine visual arts scene”.


Together with this institutional exhibitions the Aina Nowack Gallery presented in July and August “Celebrating Ides Kihlen”, in Mahón Menorca, Spain.

Coinciding with her birthday in July, the Hutchinson Modern & Contemporary Gallery, established in New York, presented Ides Kihlen Compositions”.

In October her works were exhibited at the Westbrook Modern Gallery in Carmel, California, and Pinta Miami paid a tribute to the artist in its December issue, with the help of Aina Nowack Gallery.

The Art Week was opened in October by Buenos Aires City with “Tu fiesta Ides” performance, a magnificent piece created by Mayra Bonard and Carlos Casella , with Andrea Satiel- Prodanza art director-text, to honor the artist as well. As the perfect end to these celebrations, the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes distinguished her with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Without a doubt, 2022 was the great year for Ides Kihlen, probably the longest-serving Argentine artist in activity and who makes her vocation the “leitmotif” of her life.


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