Skip to main content

Casapueblo and Carlos Páez Vilaró

Casapueblo, Punta Ballena, Uruguay
Casapueblo, Punta Ballena
Just a few minutes from the popular beach destination of Punta del Este is Casapueblo which sits on the edge of a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re staying at the hotel, then you’re in for a big treat. Imagine the view of the blue ocean made more dazzling by the sun. But that’s not all. There’s also an art gallery and museum next door which displays the artistic works of Carlos Páez Vilaró who also designed Casapueblo, his permanent home and studio.

Casapueblo reminds one of the Greek isles at first glimpse. But it isn’t that simple. Look closely and you’ll find the influence of Gaudi in the architecture which Vilaró himself built with no plans. There are no straight lines. The interior has many passages and narrow stairs leading to enchanting rooms, everyone of which is different from the other.

Notice the curving lines and the rooftops with its pointed concrete posts. Vilaró likened his house to a hornero’s (ovenbird) nest. He slowly expanded the original wooden box that was his studio and added his residence and guest rooms. Today, Casapueblo is a hive of white dwellings spilling into the sea, always open to the sun. The artist dedicated Casapueblo to his son, Carlos Miguel, who was a passenger of the infamous flight that was lost in the Andes Mountains in 1972. His son was one of 16 survivors and was rescued 70 days later.

The signature pointed concrete posts of Casapueblo.

During his residence in Vallauris, Pablo Picasso was inspired to create ceramic art. Having met Picasso and observed him working, Vilaró created his own version of pottery (seen above) which are displayed throughout Casapueblo. 

The Mermaid
This is one of my favorite corners of the Museum. It’s so unexpected and whimsical and the perfect backdrop for one of the terraces overlooking the ocean. The terrace is aptly called, Terraza de la Sirena, Terrace of the Mermaid.

Museo Taller a Casapueblo
The Museum holds a substantial collection of the artist’s works including sculptures, pottery, paintings and letters. In the background is a painting called, Mi Buenos Aires Querido, the original of which is a mural he created in 1989 in Buenos Aires. The famous Argentinian singer, Carlos Gardel, dominate the painting along with athe icons of representative of Buenos Aires like the tango, Maradona, the obelisk and the Cabildo. It’s fun to explore the various display rooms and discover the surprises it holds.

To understand the artist better, it’s important to know his views on color. Here’s what the colors meant to Vilaró.

Comparsa, Carlos Páez Vilaró
Comparsa, 1950, oil on canvas
This work represents the artist’s first foray into the life of Candombe Montevidiano. Candombe is a folk dance usually performed at Carnival by descendants of liberated African slaves in Uruguay. UNESCO has listed the candombe as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Candombe, Carlos Páez Vilaró, Uruguay
Candombe en el Mediomundo, 1955, Reproduction
Vilaró traveled extensively during his time and lived in Buenos Aires for fourteen years. His works were influenced by his environment as can be seen from his Candombe and African periods, his European journey and exposure to the works of  contemporary artists and the murals he produced in Argentina, Brazil, Africa and in Washington D.C. at the Pan American Union Building.

An interesting vignette of paintings highlighting an interior space in the museum.

La Equilibrista (Tightrope Walker), oil on canvas, 1973

La Rebelión del Bosque (Rebellion of the Forest)
This clock harkens back to the theme of Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Notice the tiles that frame the glass door to the right.

Sol, 2014, oil on canvas
The numerous paintings of the sun by Vilaró is not surprising when the sun shines brightly almost year round on his cliffside studio in Punta Ballena. According to Vilaró, “The sun is my engine. It is my oldest friend. It greets me daily when it leaves the mountains behind and says goodbye at the end of the afternoon when it leaves to illuminate other places.” 

Carlos Páez Vilaró and Pablo Picasso
Carlos Páez Vilaró with Pablo Picasso

Ceramic plates by Pablo Picasso
Picasso generously gave Vilaró over 25 pieces of his ceramic art after the artist expressed he would love to have all of the exhibited ceramic works by Picasso.

La Ceremonia al Sol, Casapueblo, Uruguay
La Ceremonia al Sol
There’s a cafeteria at Casapueblo which is the best place to view the sunset. Everyday a Ceremony to the Sun is held at the cafeteria and includes the words written by Vilaró himself. Here’s an excerpt from the reading for La Ceremonia Al Sol:
“Desde mis terrazas te veo llegar cada tarde como un aro de fuego, que jamás se detiene, que viene rodando a través de los años, puntual, infaltable, animando mi filosofia desde el dia que soñe con levantar Casapueblo y puse entre las rocas mi primer ladrillo.”
“From my terraces I can see you arrive every afternoon like a ring of fire that never stops, that comes rolling in through the years, punctual, infallible, energizing my philosophy since the day I dreamt of building Casapueblo among the rocks with my first bricks.” 

Museum Information:
Museum is open daily. Check their website for hours. There is an entrance fee. Make sure to ask for a senior’s discount if you are one.

How to get to Punta Ballena from Montevideo
Renting a car would be the best way to explore the Atlantic coast of Uruguay. But you can also take the bus to Maldonado or Punta del Este from the main bus terminal in Montevideo. It takes about 2 1/2 hours in a clean, modern and comfortable bus to reach Punta del Este and costs around USD$10.00 one way. I was impressed by how easy it was to take the bus. There are several bus companies at the terminal where you can purchase your ticket. Buses leave every 30 minutes or so. The bus conductor will inform you of your stop if you ask him. This is also the way to get to Colonia del Sacramento, the well preserved historic town in southwest Uruguay. From the bus terminal in Maldonado or Punta del Este, you can take a bus, Uber or taxi to Punta Ballena. Maldonado is closer to Punta Ballena. The bus station in Punta del Este is across the beach where the famous sculpture Los Dedos is located.


Bus Terminal, Punta del Este


Images by TravelswithCharie



Don Miguel said…
This place looks like a dream, Tita. For a while there, I thought you were in Greece! absolutely wonderful! safe travels Tita Charie.
Yes this is an enchanting place, one of many surprises Uruguay offers its visitors. Wishing you exciting assignments and lots of fun travels. :)

Popular posts from this blog

Filipino Struggles in History - Carlos Botong Francisco

In 1968, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila), commissioned Carlos "Botong" Francisco to paint the history of Manila for Manila City Hall. The series of large scale paintings was called  Kasaysayan ng Maynila  (History of Manila).  The paintings deteriorated over time and no attempt was made to preserve these historical canvases until 2013 when Mayor Amado Lim sent them to the National Museum for extensive restoration. Four years later, in 2017, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Manila City Council signed an agreement with the National Museum to leave the paintings at the museum so they may reach a larger audience in exchange for museum grade reproductions to replace the originals. Kasaysayan ng Maynila was later renamed Filipino Struggles in History and is now on display at the Senate Hall of the National Museum . Carlos "Botong" Francisco died in March 1969, a few months after completing the paintings. He is one of the first Filipino modernists and

The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pre-colonial period Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by  Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together with   Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last was

8 Heritage Houses of Iloilo

Lizares Mansion The province of Iloilo on the island of Panay has a rich trove of heritage houses, left over from the sugar industry boom in the 19th century. Iloilo also had the largest port in the Philippines at that time which facilitated the export of sugar to foreign shores and deposited money in the hands of the sugar barons. The barons dropped their earnings into the acquisition of properties in Negros and the construction of beautiful homes in Iloilo, many of which are located in the vicinity of the Jaro Cathedral. The Lizares Mansion was built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife, Concepcion Gamboa and five children. The family fled to safety when World War II broke out and the house was occupied by the Japanese military. The family returned to the house after the war but left once again after the demise of Don Emiliano. It was sold to the Dominican order in the 1960s and was converted in 1978 to a private school, Angelicum School. The mansion now houses the