Miguel Marina
Artist Statement
Image Gallery



Born in Bilbao, Spain, on February 10, 1915 to Cecilio Marina and Constancia Barredo, Marina lived and studied there until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July, 1936.  He was commissioned a captain and fought on the side of the Republic until its defeat by General Francisco Franco, when he fled to France.  From there, he crossed the Atlantic to Venezuela in a small fishing vessel with a group of six other refugees.  The trip took 40 days.  He lived in Venezuela for a year, earning his living as a professional soccer player, before moving to the Dominican Republic, which was then under the rule of General Rafael Trujillo.  In order to escape the dictatorship there, he sailed aboard a Yugoslav merchant ship as a stoker, bringing supplies to war-torn England. 

Miguel describes his voyage (in Spanish):

Miguel describes his experiences during the war (in Spanish):

Read more in the Miguel Marina extended biography >>

Marina began to paint seriously when he settled in the United States, close to the end of World War II.  In New York City, he assisted José Vela Zanetti on his Lucha por la paz mural at the United Nations Building.  Marina's first one-man show was at the Casa de Cultura in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1956.  After moving to Santa Barbara, California, in 1959, Marina had a series of one-man shows at the Esther Bear Gallery in Montecito until Mrs. Bear’s retirement in 1977.  During those years while represented by Mrs. Bear, Marina was also included in group shows in Los Angeles and in Pasadena.  His work was published in a September, 1968 issue of The Center Magazine, a publication of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions,  and was on the magazine’s cover in the spring of 1971.  In Madrid, Marina was shown at the Galería Antonio Machado, and was represented in the Exposición nacional de arte contemporáneo.  

Miguel MarinaIn 1966, Marina was outraged by the accidental dropping of several hydrogen bombs by the United States on land near the small fishing village of Palomares in the Almería region of Spain.  He created the Palomares series, a collection of paintings and drawings filled with scatological imagery, distorted bodies and poisoned tomato crops produced by the radioactive plutonium released by the explosions.  One of his Palomares murals hangs in the Casa de Cultura in Guernica.  In 1981, Marina illustrated Cántigas de bendizer by X. Rubia Barcia, published by Ediciós do castro, La Coruña, Spain.  In the last decade of his life until his death on December 13, 1989 however, Marina completely withdrew from the art world, and while those years saw the creation of some of his best work, he had no more exhibitions.   From November 17, 2009 to January 10, 2010, paintings from Marina's Estaciones and Palomares series were exhibited in El nexo español: artistas españoles en Nueva York, 1930-1960 at the Instituto Cervantes in New York City. In 2015, the centenary of the artist’s birth, Professor Anthony L. Geist of the University of Washington organized a retrospective of Marina’s work in his native city of Bilbao. A trilingual catalogue with reproductions of his work and a short biography was produced for the exhibit. In 2016, the exhibition traveled to the Musée Basque et de l’histoire de Bayonne in Bayonne, France.

Learn more. Visit the Miguel Marina extended biography >>