Monday, January 4, 2010

The Art of Fernando Llort

Happy new year! I hope you had a fantastic time welcoming 2010. I thought I would kick off the year with some beautiful artwork by Fernando Llort.

As I have mentioned, I was born in El Salvador. My family moved to the U.S. when I was 18 months old. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who instilled in us a deep appreciation for our culture, language and for El Sal. My sister and I spoke Spanish at home and spent summers with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in El Salvador - it was quite a magical place as a child.

One of El Salvador's treasures is the artwork of Fernando Llort. It has come to symbolize the nation and is considered the epitome of the country's folk art.

Fernando Llort

Llort was born in El Salvador in 1949. After finishing his university studies, he continued his education in France and Belgium as well as the United States. Upon his return to El Salvador in the early 1970s, Llort saw the beginning of the unrest that would eventually lead to civil war in the 1980s. He left the capital city of San Salvador in 1972 and moved to a small town in the northern part of the country called La Palma.

Llort's time in La Palma would lay the foundation for what has become the nation's artwork. As he painted and explored his own art he also taught the citizens of La Palma (a humble, rural town) how to create crafts using his artwork which led to the creation of an artisan cooperative called La Semilla de Dios, or God's Seed. Through this cooperative, the citizens of La Palma were empowered with a skilled trade that provided sustainability for their community.

The facade of the San Salvador cathedral, designed by Llort

I am giving you a very digested version - this all happened against the backdrop of civil war and a very deep religious faith that Llort brought to and shared with the community. It is a beautiful story that came from a very dark period for the country.


Since then, Llort's artwork has gained in popularity and is ubiquitous throughout El Salvador. You'll find it everywhere - beach towels, pottery, linens, t-shirts, coffee mugs. The original crafts are still created in La Palma, but many now create crafts in this style throughout the country.


And although Llort's work is found all over your typical tourist fare, it never loses its beauty. The colors of his pieces are so dynamic. And perhaps I find his work so appealing as it reminds me of El Salvador every time I see it.


Fernando Llort stil creates his art today in many different mediums, although I don't think he creates as much as he used to. He maintains a gallery in San Salvador called El Arbol de Dios, or Tree of God, that showcases his work and sells some of the crafts.


If you are interested in work by Llort for your home, here are sites that sell some of his items (where I have gotten most of the images used in this post):

- Fernando Llort's official web site -
- Ella House Fine Art -
- Ten Thousand Villages -
- All Posters -

Carter and I visited El Salvador in May - it was his first time seeing the country and meeting most of my extended family. It was a great trip - and we picked up many items with Llort's artwork (as I usually do when I visit). This year, I decorated the kitchen with Christmas items that we got:

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of Llort's work - I think his pieces are a beautiful addition to the home. Or at least to my home...I know art is personal and his especially reminds me of my family and our history, so I always love seeing it!


  1. Fantastic! Hubster and I are big fans of folk art, and try to collect as much as we can.

  2. I love the colors and charm of Llort's work! It reminds me a lot of some of the artwork my mom had (she grew up in San Antonio) when we were growing up.

  3. Hi Daniela!
    My mother found your blog while she was searching for Fernando Llort. She passed your link along to me since I love design blogs. I too have El Salvadorian heritage through my mother who was born there. I love Fernando Llort's work and grew up with similar pieces in my home growing up!

  4. Hi Senora H! Bienvenida! I just checked out your blog and love it! Llort's work is beatiful - and I think any of us who grew up in the States probably have some of his beautiful pieces in our home. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back soon!!

  5. Anonymous4/22/2010

    Hi Daniela,
    I am also a Salvadorean living in the US. I was born in ES and raised in the US and ES. I have a Salvadorean Father and American mom. I was in ES when the Arbol de Dios was erected and my mom is a huge fan of Fernando. As a matter of fact 3 years or so ago I was in ES and made a B-Line straight to Arbol de Dios and purchased on of his ceramic Paintings I have it framed and on display in my living room it gets lots of attention from friends and coworkers. My youngest son 2 years old likes to stare at it for long periods of time. It reminds me of home...

  6. Thank you for your blog about Fernando Llort. You did a great job of giving us a sketch of Fernando and his artwork. I have several pieces of his art and they are my prize possessions.

    I am a Heinz 57 US citizen but I married a Salvadoran and we have a beautiful daughter Juanita who embraces both cultures, languages and countries.

    I would like to link this blog to one of my own.


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