Founded in 1907, Lowy is recognized as the country's leading fine art services firm.

Framing Federico Uribe and his Extraordinary Maluma Portrait

March 1, 2021

3 minute read

Maluma, 2020, Plastic Assemblage, 84 x 60 inches – frame by Lowy

What happens when music, fine art, and friendship come together in unexpected ways?  At Lowy, we love the story behind Federico Uribe and his extraordinary portrait of fellow Colombia native Maluma, the Latin Music superstar, and we think you will, too.

Who is Maluma?

In addition to being an internationally acclaimed singer who has sold over 26
million records, Maluma, is a global activist and environmentalist whose
foundation, El Arte De Los Suenos, trains vulnerable adolescents to build bridges between art and dreams through singing, dancing, and painting.

Maluma recognized a kindred spirit in Colombian artist Federico Uribe, based in Miami, Florida, who famously uses reclaimed materials as mixed media assemblages. Uribe’s work uses materials like colored pencils, bullets, shoelaces, electrical wires, and other everyday objects to incorporate a message of sustainability and renewal in his contemporary art. An example: Uribe’s previous plastic coral reef exhibit shown at the Venice Biennale.

Soon after, a collaboration – and a friendship – was born.

Uribe created a stunning portrait of Maluma, made with pieces of recycled plastic that are transformed into brilliant bursts of color, light, and shadow.

This 7’x5′ foot image, massive, vibrant, and provocative, immediately presented
an intriguing challenge. What kind of frame would best express the drama,
complexity, and philosophy of the piece?

That’s when another longstanding partnership came into play.

History in the Making

Lowy’s president Larry Shar and art dealer Warren Adelson met in Boston in 1965, when Shar was a college student (and aspiring rock star) and Adelson had just opened his first gallery.

In the fifty-five years since then (fifty-five years!), the two friends and colleagues enjoyed many art adventures in New York, watched their children grow up to establish themselves at Lowy and Adelson Galleries, their respective family businesses, and collaborated to create memorable framings for works by the world’s greatest artists.

And now, Uribe’s Maluma. Adelson, who has represented Uribe since the early days of the artist’s career, posed an interesting approach to Lowy. He suggested using a period frame for this ultra-contemporary portrait, one that would give it the stature of an Old Master.

Image of Maluma and Federico Uribe courtesy of Adelson Galleries

Selecting the Perfect Frame

We loved the idea and it presented several possibilities. Finally, we selected an 18th-century Spanish cove frame, the kind that was often seen on 17th-century Spanish artists such as Velasquez or Zurbaran, but equally effective framing Modern Masters and Contemporary painters, particularly those with Spanish roots, Picasso, Dali….and now Uribe.

“What I particularly like about the frame on this incredibly complex portrait of Maluma is the affinity it has to the drama and bravura of both the artist and the performer,” Larry notes.

“The black finish helps create drama, while the gilded ornamentation picks up on the whimsy, showiness, and kitsch in a positive and intentional way.”

Maluma’s frame was hand-crafted by Lowy artisans at our state-of-the-art studio in Long Island City, where they meticulously matched a magnificent antique Spanish frame in our collection.

Larry Shar interviews Federico Uribe

 The Exhibition & Auction for Charity

Maluma’s vision of a world improved by music and art, Uribe’s commitment to
turning discarded and found objects, such as recycled plastic, into beautiful and dynamic
images and a venerable, 18th-century frame come together in this portrait to make a powerful statement about the transformational power of art, sustainability, and timelessness.

Uribe’s Maluma, which is the cover art for the singer’s newest album “#7DJ” could be
viewed at the artist’s largest exhibition to date where hundreds of Uribe’s works were on display in an 18,500 square foot showroom in Miami, opened to the public.

The portrait was auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to environmental non-profits supported by Maluma’s El Arte De Los Suenos. A portion of the proceeds from every sale benefited non-profits based in Colombia, including Fundacion Amigos del Mar, Jardín Botánico de Cartagena, and Stand Up Providencia.