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Arce group

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  • Puerto Rico

Luce Artist Biography

The Arce group was a family of artists in Puerto Rico that included brothers Ignacio (about 1858-1928), Pedro (1857-1951), and Juan (1862-1932), as well as Ignacio’s daughter Petra (1904-1925). The brothers were all born in the western region of Lares, but only Ignacio and his daughter remained in the area, working in rural Piletas; the other brothers moved to the northern city of Arecibo on the coast. Puerto Rican santeros, makers of santos, or devotional images of saints, were believed to be inspired by God to create their works. Sometimes, however, their inspiration worked in surprising ways. A legend involving the Arce family tells of Pedro’s dream: He saw himself carving a crucifix when, suddenly, drops of blood oozed from the side of the image. He was so stunned by this dream that he never again carved a crucifix. (Irene Curbelo, The Expressive Other: Understanding and Enjoying Puerto Rican Santos, 2003)