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Reinterpreting Manuel Lepe

Published Apr 1, 2009 - (Updated Aug 30, 2013)


Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Winter/Spring 2009 issue.

A much-deserved tribute to late Vallartan painter Manuel Lepe, created by Glass Gallery M owner Mariano Pérez Vivanco, has been installed at the entrance to Plaza Vallarta. The large-format stained glass piece reinterprets Lepe’s picture “La Ronda.” Pérez Vivanco became acquainted with this project last year when visited by distinguished interior designer Lupe Wulff, who was determined to add an important art project to the recently remodeled building across from Vallarta’s Main Plaza.

Wulff handled the negotiations with City Hall, the owners of the plaza, Marcella Lepe (daughter of the legendary painter) and Pérez Vivanco to bring this special project to fruition. Once all the necessary authorizations were obtained, Pérez Vivanco began work on the stained glass, resolute to manufacture the best large-format glass piece in Puerto Vallarta.

“La Ronda,” selected by UNICEF in 1979 to promote the rights of children, portrays children playing around and above a tree in the characteristic naïf style for which Lepe was famous. Pérez Vivanco notes, “What I loved was the theme of the children. I believe we all carry a child inside. I hope we all remember that one must travel through life with the happiness, innocence and tranquility of a child.”

So, Pérez Vivanco could not resist the monumental challenge of translating such an important painting into his medium of artistic expression. Given the importance of Lepe’s style, Pérez Vivanco worked arduously to preserve the essence of the lines and original colors.

Piece by Piece

The stained-glass work was carried out by a team of 12 over a period of about three months. To enlarge the original image, copies were made on acetate, which were then projected on sheets of paper the size of each pane of the stained glass. Lines were then drawn in to ensure the image on each piece would integrate in the final work. Glass of the best quality and gems for the details were sought, but the search was not easy. For example, for the blue and green base of the piece, 25 pieces of glass had to be returned because the color wasn’t just right.

“La Ronda” in Glass Finally Sees the Light

Finally, at the beginning of December, the four-meter-high by five-meter-wide arch-shaped piece was installed, just in time to be enjoyed by the hundreds of people gathering downtown for the Virgin of Guadalupe pilgrimages. Now, everyone can appreciate the splendid work done by the Glass Gallery M team, headed by Mariano Pérez Vivanco, an industrial designer with more than 20 years of experience working with glass, beginning when he broke 12 pieces of stained glass and offered to help repair them.

You can also enjoy other works by Glass Gallery M at either of their two locations in Marina Vallarta: Francisco Medina Ascencio 2758 and Marina Las Palmas II L-17. For more information, call (322) 221-1728.

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