Gallegos, Luna - self-portrait

This miniature portrait is signed "Luna" for Luna Alston de Gallegos (1881-1978), a miniature painter from Argentina.

The portrait is one of a group of five of members of her family which are part of this collection, but when purchased the sitter was unidentified.

However, by a unique chance a miniature of her painted by Walter Ferris Biggs and dated 1900 was purchased about four years later and the close likeness with this image shows that this miniature by Luna is in fact a self-portrait by her.

Luna Alston de Gallegos was born in Buenos Aires in 1881, the daughter Dr John Alston, a Scottish doctor who came to Argentina in 1868, and of Carlota Luna, from Uruguay. She received lessons from Walter Biggs and she specialized in miniatures.

During the early part of her career, she had her first exhibition which was in 1916 together with her teacher, Walter Ferris Biggs, and another artist.

In 1929 she had another solo exhibition, by which time her work was well known. Luna is possibly the best miniature painter to come from Argentina. Her work includes miniature paintings of flowers.

She painted nearly four hundred miniatures during her long career and almost all are signed Luna. Those in this collection are all of her family members.

Luna Alston de Gallegos died in Buenos Aires, July 29, 1978, only three years short of reaching her 100th birthday. 523

For other portraits by Luna see;

Two portraits of her grandson; View and View 

A portrait of Miguel Alston; View

Another family member; View  

Much later, in 2011 - By an even more amazing chance, a further self-portrait of Luna has been acquired for the collection. On the obverse it is inscribed "Luna 1914" and on the reverse it is inscribed " Luna Alston de Gallegos painted by Luna June 1914". It therefore represents her at 33 years of age.

She still has her hair with a central parting, but is now wearing it shorter, and presumably is by now married. Her work is quite distinctive, and she was a very fine artist who deserves more recognition.

There are a number of portraits associated with Luna now in the collection. Although she lived and worked in Argentina, the portraits were all acquired in USA, so it seems likely her descendants moved to USA and then disposed of the miniatures. 1404


Anonymous said...

My name is Anne Bradbury. My three cousins Ines, Eleanne and Carlos Gallegos Alston are the grandchildren of Luna. We all live in Buenos Aires. The 3 portraits are of Miguel Gallegos Alston her second son also shown as a child. Luna had four children, Carlos who died very young, Miguel who did not marry, Carlota who did not marry either and Jack who married my aunt and the father of my cousins. The portraits were sold in Buenos Aires, the family did not move to USA. I remember Luna very well, a lovely lady, a real artist since the painted not only miniatures but water colours and other pictures. I thought you would like to have these amendments. Thank you.

Don Shelton said...

Hi Anne,
Thank you very much for the comments. I had been hoping someone would post some information.