Pablo Antonio Milan, a recognized Southwest contemporary artist, was renowned for his use of bright colors and his acrylic painting techniques, from delicate and bold washes, layering and splattering of paints and powerful brushstrokes and palette knife.
Milan, who died suddenly in his home on May 3, 2017 at the age of 55, was the youngest in a group of artists that propelled the Contemporary Southwest art movement following in the footsteps of Earl Biss and Fritz Scholder.
“Pablo knew his craft. He was very bright and he was unique. He has his own style; he beat to his own drum,” said Paul Zuger, president of American Design, which exhibited Milan’s paintings in four of its galleries during the nineties. “If you saw his paintings in New York or San Francisco you immediately knew it was a Pablo Milan. We couldn’t keep a Pablo Milan in stock. They just flew out the door.”
“Pablo was a great colorist,” said Zuger. “He knew how to work paints and colors.”
Milan was accepted into his first gallery at 17, and at the time of his death was in both private and corporate collections throughout the world. He has exhibited in galleries from Florida to Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California.
Milan is primarily a self-taught artist who grew up as a sixth generation New Mexican. His grandfather, a rancher, founded and established the town of Milan, NM, just on the fringes of Grants.
An expressionistic colorist, Milan first layers the paint, at times painting 25 layers on the canvas, only adding the imagery in the final stages. “This gives the paintings depth and the appearance of changing colors throughout the day, depending on the light,” Milan said. “Layering also allows the colors to really pop under the lights of night.”
A prominent and recognized artist, Milan’s paintings are viewed as highly collectible. His distinctive contemporary edge, both in color and style, evolve into a mystical illusion of imagery from the Southwest. Milan had an expressionist style, choosing not to represent the figures in his paintings literally rather conveying a feeling in what he painted.
“The colors in my paintings are those of New Mexico and the Southwest, the early morning sunrises, the sunsets, the high desert, sandstone formations and the tree laden mountains,” he said. “They have nothing to do with the art school color wheel, but the colors I’ve seen all my life. I just embrace them and emphasize them.”
Milan’s paintings are in several museums and the collections of Shakira, Ron Howard, Tommy Lee Jones, Nickelback, Marriott Hotels and PacifiCare Inc.
Amada Pena, New Mexican artist, commented, “Pablo was a good friend, a very fine artist and a wonderful humanitarian. I once heard him tell a visitor in his gallery that I paved the way for many artists. My friend you didn’t need any help.”