Fanny Sanín

Fanny Sanín

Born 1938

Artist Details

Birth Place
Bogotá, Colombia
Phonetic Spelling
FAN-ee sah-NEEN
Geometric Abstraction
Places of Residence
London; New York City
The Chelsea School of Art and Central School of Art, London, 1967; University of Illinois, Urbana, 1962–63; University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, 1956–60
Retrospective Exhibitions

Color and Symmetry—Retrospective Exhibition 19871999, 2000, Luis Angel Arango Library, Bogotá, Colombia, and Avianca Cultural Center, Barranquilla, Colombia; Retrospective Exhibition, 1987, Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá,  Colombia; Traveling Retrospective Exhibition, 1987, Avianca Cultural Center, Barranquilla, Colombia; Museum of Modern Art, Medellín, Colombia; and Museum of Modern Art, Cartagena, Colombia

NMWA Exhibitions

Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín, 2017
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 19871997, 1997–98
Latin American Women Artists, 19151995, 1996

About the Artist

Fanny Sanín, one of Colombia’s second-generation abstract artists, turned to geometric abstraction in 1969 and never looked back.

Initially, Sanín created works using a gestural abstract style, like contemporaries Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell, but found her true voice in the geometry of hard-edge, symmetrical compositions filled with flat planes of color.

As a student, Sanín explored sculpture, architectural drawing, theatre set design, and printmaking, but ultimately dedicated herself to painting. She believes the medium allows her to delve most deeply into pure abstraction, devoid of figurative representation. Color and form are the artist’s only subject matter. Her methodical artistic process—meditative in nature—includes creating multitudes of preparatory studies and mixing her own hues. 

Living in England early in her career provided Sanín with access to the greater European art world and introduced her to paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Barnet Newman, Kenneth Noland, Mark Rothko, and Frank Stella. Their adept and radical employment of scale and color proved inspirational. Sanín also points to Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse as influences. 

Though Sanín has lived and worked in New York City since 1971, her paintings have been seen worldwide in group and solo exhibitions, as well as in museums collections.

National Museum of Women in the Arts