Manuel Lepe Macedo, Puerto Vallarta's artist

Manuel Lepe Macedo en Puerto Vallarta

  • Manuel Lepe was born April 17, 1936, in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, a date the city celebrates annually as "Manuel Lepe Day".
  • Third son of 11 sons and daughters of Mr. Francisco Lepe and Mrs. Dionicia Macedo
  • His paintings with young angels, children, and landscapes of Puerto Vallarta are part of Presidents' and Art Connoisseur collections.
  • The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, has one of his works at the Royal Mews Museum in Windsor Castle.
  • In 1976 he is named by Luis Echeverría, the Mexican President: "True Painter of Mexico and Jalisco".
  • He died of a brain aneurysm on September 9, 1984, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Manuel Lepe, Fish Vendors on the Malecon IIA mosaic mural, "Fish vendors" located in front of the Naval Museum on the boardwalk (Malecon)

Born in Puerto Vallarta on April 17, 1936, Manuel Lepe was able to transform his paintings into an Embassy of colors, that spread the message of the city's beautiful scenarios, its most pure traditions to many places around the world.

His work includes more than 2500 paintings that are spread all over the world and in the hands and estates of many famous and important people, like Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II, John Huston, and many others, who purchased them because their simplicity reflects a pure and unique art.

Puerto Vallarta Sign with Manuel Lepe designs

The following content was mostly written by city historian, Juan Manuel Gomez Encarnación.

Puerto Vallarta painted its essence in the childish mind of Manuel Lepe Macedo.

Manuel was a child in the 1940s, Vallarta at that point in time, knew nothing of its future in the world of tourism, but it played by contrasting white houses against the multiple green shades of the jungle and pristine emerald-colored waters of the bay.

It was a candid Vallarta; isolated by rugged geography. The small town was one large family and they spoke the language of solidarity. 

This town engraved him with its games, its traditions, shapes, colors, perfumes, sparkles and loves... 

Thus, Manuel came out of his childhood transformed into a magician, a poet with colorful verses, seduced by the magic of his surroundings.

That Vallarta, with its transparent atmosphere, was able to express its dreams through this child.

Manuel Lepe Art Gallery Promo

Manuel Lepe was able to stand out within the naïf artistic style due to his honesty and the correct use of color without having more academical principles other than some suggestions from others and any more education than that he obtained in his first four years in primary school.

One canvas after another, painting after painting, Manuel gave back the treasure he had received from his town. Just as the biblical talents, Lepe multiplied his to give Vallarta a rightful place in the world; to win it a seat in the world of art.

"Mexico's National artist" as he was called by President Luis Echeverría Álvarez. "Vallarta's artist," as he was branded by historian Carlos Munguia Fregoso.

Painting by Manuel Lepe

John Huston stated: "Manuel paints his pictures to bring joy to the child that hides in the hearts of us all.

And Actor Peter O'Toole, "Manuel attends the ceremony of innocence."

Mr. Carlos Munguia Fregoso, city historian par excellence, indicated: "The work of Lepe is  indeed an ode to innocence, joy, and to the love of his hometown."

Mural Vallarta Plaza

He is considered a representative within the Naïve art, as such, Manuel Lepe managed to attain a prominent place among contemporary artists.

His work transcended the confines of Mexico and was included in the French Directory "Painters of the Century."

Manuel Lepe Mural in Puerto Vallarta's City Hall

Lepe held forty-three exhibitions in his forty years of artistic life. Probably the most important of them all was the one at the Museum of Art and Science in Los Angeles, California in 1979, during the celebration of the International Year of the Child that was visited by over a million people."

Manuel Lepe, Luz Mantecón y Luis Álvarez

On April 16, 2010, Puerto Vallarta honored Manuel Lepe with the title of "Favorite Son of Vallarta."

Along with Priest Rafael Parra Castillo and Don Agustín Flores Contreras, the name of Manuel Lepe Macedo is on the list of illustrious citizens of Puerto Vallarta, in The Encyclopedia of Mexican Municipalities. 

Manuel Lepe Macedo

John Johns interviewed him for an article in Sundancer Magazine in February 1977 and states:

For one thing, Lepe's pictures are exclusively of his hometown of Puerto Vallarta, and, as Lepe points out, "Puerto Vallarta is filled with children. Just look around the town." he says. "Everywhere you look there are children, so they are reflected everywhere in my paintings. And maybe," he adds with a wink, "it is because I have never grown old."

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