Francisco Benítez (b. 1967) was raised in New Mexico, New York, and Spain. His mother, flamenco dancer and choreographer, María Benítez, and his father, a Spanish set designer, Cecilio Benítez, influenced his subsequent interest in tenebrist painting and baroque art. Benítez studied Classics at St. John’s College (Santa Fe), and then academic painting techniques and anatomy/figure drawing at the Art Student’s League in New York City. Benítez subsequently obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico, during which time he studied abroad at the Facultad de Bellas Artes in Granada, Spain, through an exchange program, and later did graduate-level independent study.
Benítez lived in Southern France for over four years, during which he participated in a number of museum shows. He exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice, and co-organized, curated, and participated in an exhibition featuring cutting-edge New Mexico artists at the Musée Denys-Puech in Rodez, France. Benítez also had several one-person and group shows in Southern France as well as in Paris.
At present, Benítez divides his time between Europe and Santa Fe. His active exhibition schedule in the US is enhanced by projects in France and Italy. In 2002 he had a one-person exhibition in Messina, Sicily, accompanied by a catalog, as well as another exhibition in 2006 held at the Monastero del Ritiro in Syracuse, Sicily, in conjunction with the Festival of Ancient Greek Theatre. The exhibition was met with much critical attention and large numbers of visitors.
Benitez’ work is included in numerous private collections, some high-profile, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier’s, throughout the United States, as well as in France, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, etc. His work is on permanent display at the New Mexico State Legislature’s public art collection, as well as at the National Hispanic Culture Center and the Conseil Général de l’Aveyron in France. He has lectured on painting of the baroque period, as well as having his work featured on the covers of various books and publications.