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The Sebastian Hotel in Vail, Colorado showcases art of renowned Mexican artists

Painted steel sculpture by Manuel Felguérez in the library
Painted steel sculpture by Manuel Felguérez in the library
Claudia Carbone

In the heart of Vail Village, the stunningly beautiful Sebastian—a Timbers Resort—is as much an art gallery as it is a boutique hotel. Its owners from Mexico City, Alejandro and Matilde Marti, have assembled a selection of paintings, sculptures, antiques and art books from their own collection and displayed them in prominent places around the hotel. In fact, the art is important enough that the town includes it in its free walking tours of public art. Most notable are the contemporary works of Mexican artists Leonora Carrington, Gunther Gerzso, Manuel Felguérez and Victor Chaca.

Though she was born in Great Britain, Leonora Carrington is considered a Mexican artist as she lived most of her life in Mexico City after escaping from the Nazis in France and then a mental institution in Spain. Her work was influenced by her lover, surrealist artist Max Ernst, and Picasso and Dali, who called her, “the most important female artist.” In Mexico she was inspired by its legends and mysticism, and she created hundreds of paintings and sculptures along with writing books. She died in 2011 at age 94.

Gunther Gerzso was an award-winning set designer in Mexico before he started painting as a hobby. In 1944, he joined Leonora Carrington's group of surrealist painters, but he later replaced surrealism with abstracts. In 1978 he received the Premio Nacional de Artes, the highest distinction for art awarded by the Mexican government. Gerzso died in 2000.

Well into his 80s, Manuel Felguérez continues to create and show his abstract art that often contains geometric figures. His long career includes paintings and sculptures, and a combination of sculpture with murals. In 1988, he received the prestigious Premio Nacional de Artes. He lives and works in Mexico and has a home in Colorado. The four paintings and eight sculptures displayed at The Sebastian are from a collection he created in honor of his 80th birthday. They debuted at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Victor Chaca comes from a family of carpenters and was one himself until, at age 52, he was able to earn a living from his art, which often includes chairs, ladders and other carpentry imagery in his colorful, intricate pieces. The artist works with sand and other media to create texture on canvas. Now 56, the painter/sculptor lives in Juchitan, Oaxaca where he was born.