Adolfo Sanchez

1957–1990

Biography by Adolfo's Brother, Oliver Sanchez

Adolfo Rene Sanchez was a Cuban-American painter who died from AIDS related complications in 1990 at the age of 31 in New York City. Adolfo moved to NY from Miami Florida in 1977 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. He worked as an illustrator for publications such as Essence, Conde-Nast and other periodicals. With a natural gift for realist painting, he also worked as a portrait artist. His circle of friends quickly grew to include fellow artists Bruno Schmidt, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring, Tseng Kwong Chi and many others in the Downtown 80’s art scene. His work was exhibited at Art Mart Gallery in the East Village, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Gracie Mansion and others. His work soon gained market value with positive review in ArtForum by Dan Cameron and other arts publications as well as inclusion in the Margulies Collection and others. Adolfo had an active social life and enjoyed frequenting dance clubs such as The Garage, Danceteria, Club 57 and others. His gentle empathetic demeanor was congenial to many and his talent as a painter quickly gained him accolades from most. Adolfo drew inspiration from traditional cuban music, all manner of literature and artists such as Salvador Dali, Diego Rivera, James Rosenquist and the pantheon of great painters.

Tragically, no one was aware of the perils that lay ahead at onset of the AIDS epidemic. With encroaching dread, the scourge narrowed with unrelenting misery and incalculable loss. Within a decade the creative community Adolfo called family was decimated, leaving a legacy of the fragility of life and the indomitable power of love.

He is survived by his brother Oliver Sanchez. They both had works included in the recent exhibition Club 57 Art and Performance in the East Village 1978-1983 in the Museum of Modern Art MoMA in NYC, 2018.

Born in the provincial town of Camagüey, Cuba his family fled Castro’s revolution in 1960. His father Oliverio Sanchez was murdered in 1958 during the tumultuous times. His mother Martha Menendez was an artist and devout Catholic. Adolfo was the middle child having two siblings, the eldest Adriana (1956-1998) and his brother Oliver. Their second cousin was painter Emilio Sanchez best know for his tropical architecture paintings. His aunt Angela Sanchez Tischler has written her memoirs entitled Los Desenguaños available at Amazon Books.It is the story of a family, country and intellect.