biography anchor

Carlos Cruz-Diez



1923 Caracas, Venezuela

2019 Paris, France

From 1940 until 1945, Carlos Cruz-Diez studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Caracas. During this early period his works primarily display a realistic style of painting. Cruz-Diez then also worked as a graphic artist for various companies, later holding the position of art director for the advertising agency McCann-Erickson in Caracas. This is when he became interested in the effective uses of color.
From 1953 to 1955, Cruz-Diez was an illustrator for the “El National” newspaper, while also teaching art history at the Academy of Fine Arts in Caracas. In 1955, he went for two years to Barcelona, also travelling to Paris several times and immersing himself in the theories of the Bauhaus school of architecture. He also studied scientific theories of colour as well as geometric abstractions.
After returning to Venezuela, Cruz-Diez opened the Studio for Visual Art, where he investigated the interaction of colour and kinetic art. Carlos Cruz-Diez worked as acting director and professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts of Caracas and as professor for typology and graphic design for the School of Journalism at the University in Caracas. In 1960, he went to Paris again, where he worked as advisor of the cultural center of Noroit in Arras from 1965 and as lecturer for kinetic techniques at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1972. He was appointed professor and director of the art department of IDEA – Institut International d’Etudes Avancées in Caracas in 1986.
Cruz-Diez is considered one of the most important artists of Venezuela and has been honored with many awards.


-Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
-Tate Modern, London
-Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
-Centre Pompidou, Paris
-Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
-Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

AWARDS (selection)

-1966 Grand Prize, III Bienal Americana de Arte, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Faculty of Science, Córdoba, Argentina
-1967 International Painting Prize, IX Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
-1971 National Art Award, Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes (INCIBA), Caracas, Venezuela
-1981 Order Andrés Bello, First Class, Caracas, Venezuela
-1986 Rank of Officer, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, France
– 1992 Gold Medal, Norwegian International Print Triennale, Oslo, Norway
– 1994 Rank of Commander, Orden Heráldica Cristóbal Colón, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
– 2002 Rank of Commandeur, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, France
– 2011 Golden Medal, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, New York, United States
-2015 Turner Medal, City University, London, United Kingdom
– 2016 The International Trebbia Award, Trebbia Foundation, Prague, Czech Republic
-2017 SCAD deFINE ART honoree, Trustees Theater, SCAD University, Savannah, United States


For an extensive exhibition list, please followw the link to the artist’s website:


ARTNEWS: Carlos Cruz-Diez, Op Art Pioneer Whose Work Challenged Perception, Is Dead at 95

Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Colors we Create
Carlos Cruz-Diez was interviewed in his studio in Panama in April 2016.
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016