José Campeche y Jordán
José Campeche was the most significant Puerto Rican painter of portraits and religious imagery. Of Afro-Caribbean ancestry, he was the son of a slave who purchased his freedom. Although primarily self-taught, Campeche was influenced by the exiled Spanish court painter Luis Paret y Alcázar, who lived in Puerto Rico from 1775 through 1778.
Jonathan Yorba Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)
- Luce Artist BiographyJosé Campeche was the most important painter of portraits and religious imagery in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Puerto Rico. He learned his skills from his father, a slave who purchased his freedom by carving altarpieces. José worked as a decorator and gilder before becoming a prominent portraitist. He probably learned about composition, style, and painting technique from imported prints and books as well as from the exiled Spanish court painter Luis Paret y Alcázar, who lived in Puerto Rico from 1775 through 1778. The details of Campeche's life remain mysterious because his belongings were destroyed after his death.