Salas Borquez

born on: 
17 Dec, 1979
2014 - Musée de la Marine, Palais Chaillot, Paris, France
2011 - Musée de la Marine, Palais Chaillot, Paris, France
Congratulatory letter from the Minister of Defense
2010 - Prize of the Institute of History and Maritime Culture of Spain, Naval Museum of Madrid, Spain
2013 - Museum of the Citadel of Saint Tropez, France
2013 - Yacht Club of France, Paris, France
2010 - Naval Museum of Madrid, Spain
2022 - The Hamptons Art & Design- M Fine Arts Gallery - New York - USA
2022 - M Fine Arts Gallery - Boston- USA
2021 - "L'outre Vague", Center Cristel of art publisher, Saint Malo, France
2021 - "La marche des flors", Media library Camille Flammarion, Pornichet, France
2021 - "La marche des flots", Gaîa Gallery, Media library Pornichet, France
2020 - Absolute Art Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2020 - "Paysage - Pays Sages " 100 ECS, Paris, France
2019 - "Le Sillage" St Sauveur Chapel, Saint Malo, France
2019 - Galerie Daniel Besseiche Collection, Dinard, France
2019 - The Museum Maritime of the Sea, USA
2019 - "Hurlements", Galerie Daniel Besseiche, Paris, France
2018 - Shenzhen International Art Fair, China
2018 - "Abyssale'', Galerie en Ré, Bois Colombes, France
2018 - Guangzhou International art, China
2018 - Festival H20, Blois, France
2017 - Shenzhen International Art Fair, China
2017 - Galeria Animal Collection, Santiago, Chile
2017 - Palais du Heysel, Brussels Art fair, Belgium
2017 - Galerie Noej, Paris, France
2017 - Art Pekin, Beijing, China
2016 - Shangai Art Fair, ArtBank, China
2016 - Art BeiJing, ArtBank, Beijing, China
2016 - Icon Gallery, Arlington / Washington, USA
2016 - Art JiNan, ArtBank, Jinan, China
2016 - Forum Kunst, Arquitektur / Essen, Germany
2016 - Rotterdam Maritime Museum, Museum Collection, Netherlands
2015 - Palacio Pignatelli, Barcelona, Spain
2014 - Madrid Cultural Center, Madrid, Spain
2014 - Palais Chaillot , Musée Nationale de la Marine, Paris, France
2013 - Art Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
2013 - Geist Galleries, Mayfair, London, UK
2013 - La Citadelle de Saint Tropez - Musée d'Histoire Maritime, inauguration of the museum, Saint Tropez, France
2013 - The Museum Maritime of the Sea, Connecticut, USA
Salas Borquez
opened up his studio to us. Watch the video of our visit to learn more about the artist's approach.

The works of the contemporary Chilean painter Franco Salas Borquez depict the sea, the sole subject of his paintings. Fascinated by the ocean, the artist chose painting as an intermediary between his senses and this very unique natural environment so he could express its power and beauty through his brush strokes.

Franco Salas Borquez, a self-taught painter with an unusual background

Franco Salas Borquez is a contemporary painter, who was born on the island of Chiloé in 1979. He has been painting since his childhood and uses it as a way of being able to take a step back from the sea that surrounds him, as well as employing it in the dual search for identity and a sense of the graphic. He confesses: "I believe that painting is a way of finding yourself." Therefore, he has been experimenting graphically throughout his personal journey towards becoming a painter whose sole output is in celebration of the sea.

This graphic research involves the use of different techniques such as ink on canvas, pencil on paper, marble dust and oil on canvas and has become the practical base for Franco Salas Borquez's self-taught style. As well as painting, the artist was formerly a professional chess player, a profession where he travelled the world to attend competitions.

In the early 2000s, he was selected by the Chilean Embassy in Paris to join a cultural programme to teach Spanish in French schools and at the IUFM in Paris and Strasbourg. So he set up his studio in France, and for some time he attended a studio of Parisian artists before opting for solo painting, which he deemed necessary for being able to develop in his work, which has since become prolific: "A painter's work is something that takes place in the studio and it requires solitude. Sometimes you feed off others so much that you lose yourself." 

Painting as contemplation of the sea

An islander by birth, Franco Salas Borquez has a close relationship with the sea, since this natural element represents much more than a landscape for him. Hailing from a family of sailors that he sometimes accompanied to sea, he has experienced just how powerful the ocean can be, and his desire to paint it is fuelled by fear just as much as by fascination. He states: "I was fascinated by painting, and it was as a painter that I returned to the sea." It was therefore with the help of oil paint and canvas that he found the means to reflect on the sea, as painting gave him enough distance to really appreciate the power of the waves instead of being afraid of them.

Franco Salas Borquez sees depicting the sea as a constant challenge, and although he has dedicated his career to it, he does not seek to reveal the mystery which is such an intrinsic part of this landscape. Through his paintings, he manages to overcome the genuine vertigo experienced at sea in order to create an aesthetic vertigo in both his works and their reception.

To achieve this, Franco Salas Borquez reflects carefully about every gesture when creating his nature and landscape paintings. He declares: "Painting the sea requires fluid strokes, and the fluidity of the brush stroke distances me from the material. It’s like a link to something metaphysical, which is real but transparent and symbolic." Thus, he creates his paintings through an intuitive but rigorous process where the strokes are as fluid as the subject represented on the canvas. The rigorousness he applies to his work must not exclude a certain indefinable quality: without ever losing control, the artist seeks to surpass himself as a means of creating works that touch everybody universally, recalling humanity's weakness in the face of the elements.

Franco Salas Borquez considers painting as a pictorial challenge, and he prefers spontaneity to the pure thought required by his former profession of chess player, and is happy to compare the two: "The sea is ultimately a fairly limited subject, but I like to play with these limits, it fascinates me. It's like a game of chess where the board has 24 pieces, but there are infinite possibilities of combinations."

Internationally exhibited work

Franco Salas Borquez's work first met with criticism that went on to form the basis of his current success. While critics may have previously had reservations about his monographic work, these same works are now exhibited in museums collections and in numerous international galleries and fairs.  With an award from Spain's Institute for Maritime History and Culture in 2010, and another from the Paris Marine Museum in 2011 and 2014, he has also received an accolade from the Ministry of Defence for his contemporary painting.


Video: Teaser for the artist Franco Salas Borquez’s personal exhibition "Le Sillage", Chapelle St Sauveur, Saint Malo, France (2019). Directed by Virgile Paimblanc.

For the video with Franco Salas Borquez's interview at his studio, please click here