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Best Artist to Return to South Florida Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2009 - Enrique Martínez Celaya

This time last year, we were lamenting the still-fresh loss of Enrique Martínez Celaya, who had abruptly closed his studio in Delray Beach and moved his family back to Los Angeles. Alas, one fewer world-class artist in residence in South Florida. He didn't even hang around long enough to see the opening of his small but well-received exhibition at the Miami Art Museum. But the artist, who was born in Cuba and grew up in Spain and Puerto Rico, soon had second thoughts about being back in the thick of the art-world B.S. that had originally driven him from L.A. Now he's back in Delray, where he recently put the finishing touches on a show of stunning new work to ship off to the Sara Meltzer Gallery in New York. He wasn't able to get his spacious old digs back, but he settled into a smaller studio next door and hopes to find a bigger place eventually. Meanwhile, he continues to oversee the operation of his Whale & Star publishing house, work on new paintings, and prepare for a small retrospective of his work drawn from a private collection, which will be displayed at the Boca Raton Museum of Art at the end of 2009. Southern California's loss is our gain, again.

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