Services set for artist Rudy Ayoroa

November 03, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Rodolfo "Rudy" E. Ayoroa, 76, of Greenview Drive, died Friday in Danville.

His works hang in the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn and the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America and here in Danville, where he made his home.

Born in LaPaz, Bolivia, he was a painter and a sculptor. He was at the forefront of the kinetic art movement in the mid-1950s. Geometric elements and contrasting warm and blue colors dominated his paintings and prints. In sculpture, he used Plexiglass bent into geometric shapes to reflect light and provoke a sense of perpetual motion, according to a flier for his 1980 exhibit at Centre College.

The late art critic Marta Traba, who founded the Museum of Modern art in Bogot, said Ayoroa was "one of the truly great artists of his generation coming from Latin America."


In the mid-1980s, he moved to Danville with his former wife, Jane Ayoroa, who was born here.

He said in a 1985 interview that adjusting to Danville was "the easiest thing that ever happened to me."

Local dentist John Hankla said Ayoroa was his best friend and one of the most creative people he had ever met.

They met when Ayoroa came to him for a dental appointment.

"He made me laugh," Hankla said. "There was never a time when I was with Rudy that I didn't enjoy being around him."

Hankla said Ayoroa had a mischievous sense of humor and that all who met him smiled.

While here, he developed an interest in painting Civil War battle scenes. He did a large number of paintings depicting the Battle of Perryville and was commissioned by Lebanon to sculpt Major General George H. Thomas.

Local artist Wilma Brown said Ayoroa was the primary established painter in Danville and that his death is "a great loss to the arts here."

She said he could capture the spirit of a person when he painted them. His paintings were "dynamic," she said.

Ayoroa's work is displayed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Library of Congress; National Museum of American Art; Smithsonian Institute; Museum of Modern Art of Latin America at the Organization of American States, Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, Columbia and National Museum of Fine Arts in La Paz, Bolivia.

He was educated at the University of Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1964 he moved to Washington, D.C., and had been a visiting professor at American University.

His last international one-man exhibition was in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1997.

A memorial service for Ayoroa will be 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Presbyterian Church of Danville by the Rev. Dale Beighle.

Born Sept. 16, 1927, he was the son of Esther Soria-Galvarro of LaPaz, Bolivia, and the late Gen. Robert Ayoroa. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge.

Other survivors include four sons, Roberto, Leonardo and Rodolfo Ayoroa Jr., all of Potomac, Md., and Joshua Ayoroa of Danville; two daughters, Sandra Alvarado of Silver Springs, Md., and Gabriela Ayoroa of Germantown, Md.; two brothers, Jose Ayoroa of Potomac and Gaston Ayoroa of Germantown; a sister, Nazira Simon of Potomac; and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 5 p.m. Tuesday at the church.

Preston-Pruitt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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