Volume 76, Number 27 | November 22 - 28, 2006


Clemente Diaz, Mexican folk artist, dies at age 84

Clemente Diaz, a Mexican artist who came to the Village 60 years ago on the invitation of Pratt Institute, died Nov. 4 at Cabrini Hospital after a brief illness at the age of 84.

A resident of Downing St. for 45 years, he worked for the Brooklyn Museum of Art for

about 25 years until his retirement in 1984, according to his daughter, Mary Lorelli.

A self-taught painter in traditional Mexican folk style, Clemente Diaz was the son of Cecilia and Pablo Diaz of Guadalajara. He came to New York in 1946 under the sponsorship of Pratt Institute, now Pratt University.

“He lived in one of those little houses on the north side of Washington Square — near Fifth Ave. [Washington Mews], and Pratt sponsored him on a national tour with his pictures over the next 15 years or so,” said his daughter. He frequently revisited Mexico where his wife, Margarita, remained until her death in 2001, his daughter said.

He moved to Downing St. around 1960 and began working for the Brooklyn Museum of Art around the same time.

In addition to his daughter, of Phoenix, Ariz., his son, Rigo Diaz, of Georgia, survives.

The funeral was Nov. 7 at Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., and cremation was in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

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