Hugo Sánchez Bonilla

La Garza in the Aves exhibit by Hugo Sanchez Bonilla
La Garza in the Aves exhibit by Hugo Sanchez Bonilla

Hugo Sánchez Bonilla, a famed Costa Rican artist and art teacher, is famous for his award-winning work in the field of watercolor painting.

When It All Began

Sánchez was born in the Central Costa Rican town of Heredia on February 1, 1940. He grew up in a family with five brothers, and from an early age, he knew that he wanted to study to become an artist. Over the course of the first 30 years of his life, Sánchez worked to teach himself several different forms of painting, but he found the greatest success with watercolors. Thanks to a great deal of time spent learning through trial and error, he developed a watercolor technique that critics say bring a new sense of texture and light to the artistic style.

Several Concepts

The artist's work deals with a wide range of subject matters, including peace, hope, the sadness of man and the ordeal of humanity. Regardless of what concept he portrays in his art, however, Sánchez imbues his paintings with clear colors and inspiration, making him one of Costa Rica's leading artists.


Over the years, Sánchez has staged a number of solo exhibitions. His work has been displayed at La Nación Main Hall in 1977, the Costa Rica Country Club and the Surgeons and Doctors Association Board in 1978, the Kamakiri Gallery in 1980, the Enrique Echandi Gallery in 1983, Heredia City Hall in 1991 and Club Union in 2001. Additionally, his paintings have been featured in more than 170 group exhibitions staged in countries all over the world, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Spain, Germany, Venezuela, Brazil, the United States, France, Colombia, the United Kingdom and Japan.


Sanchez's watercolor paintings have also earned him several prestigious awards, including a silver medal at the second Margarita Berthau Watercolor Art Show in 1982, a gold medal for the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism's 30th anniversary contest in 1985, a 1994 prize sponsored by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and many more. Most importantly, Sánchez was awarded the "Best of the Year" award from the government of Costa Rica in recognition of his body of work.

Not Only Paintings

In addition to his paintings, Sánchez is also famous for his work as an art teacher. He previously worked as an instructor at the University of Central America in El Salvador. Since 1984, he has operated his own private art school in his hometown of Heredia, where he teaches painting to approximately 70 students.

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