Julio de Diego was born May 9, 1900 in Madrid, Spain. At the age of 15 he was an apprentice to a set designer at an opera company, and his first exhibition was held in a gambling casino when he was only 17.
Due to his family's opposition to his art career, de Diego moved to Paris in 1922. In 1924, he came to the United States and settled in New York City, where he stayed until 1931. During this time, de Diego traveled to Tampa and designed sets and costumes for "The Wild Cat" at Centro Asturiano. In 1950, de Diego married Gypsy Rose Lee.
Between 1931-1942 de Diego lived in Chicago and exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. Other exhibition locations included the Chicago Renaissance Society, the New York World's Fair, the Whitney Museum, the Carnegie Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Associated American Artists, Bonstell Gallery, and Nierendorf Gallery.
De Diego's extraordinary creative talent is difficult to quantify as no comprehensive retrospective of the artist's work has ever been presented. If such an event were to occur, it is likely the artist would leapfrog past many lesser talents and land in a place at the highest echelon of American art. De Diego's technical virtuosity, inventiveness, and willingness to push beyond the established boundaries of the art world resulted in an artistic legacy which is at first difficult to comprehend. The artist easily moved from the personal to the ideological, and managed to eschew the artistic fashions of the day.
De Diego died in 1979 in Sarasota, FL.
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