A painting showing a bright red campfire on an orange ground, against a blue sky with clouds

Hacia el paraíso (Towards Paradise)

Beginning in 1948, María Izquierdo suffered a series of strokes, each of which left her partially paralyzed. She slowly recovered, but physical stress and disability hindered her ability to paint frequently. She did, however, keep working. Hacia el paraíso was painted a year before her death.

Izquierdo went on to complete a few more works before she died in December of 1955, often recycling such old themes as horses, the circus, portraits, and still lifes, many now painted with a hesitant hand. One work that she produced during the end of her life, however, symbolizes her deeper cognizance of a plane of being to which she could only allude in her many earlier works containing metaphysical themes. Toward Paradise, 1954, pictures a brilliant flame set against an orange field and blue sky. A small box at the top of the composition schematically represents a room inhabited by two miniscule figures. It is as if Izquierdo, for once, revealed what she never could – or would – before. Instead of merely imagining what might exist in the realms beyond her small windows, we now behold a scene of radiant openness and fulfillment. María Izquierdo ultimately envisioned a world quite different from that which she painted for much of her career. As before, this world was aglow in radiant color, but it was also timeless, infinite, and universal – the spark of a world in formation.

Elizabeth Ferrer, “A Singular Path: The Artistic Development of María Izquierdo,” The True Poetry: The Art of María Izquierdo, p. 29