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María Teresa Cuéllar de Montaña
Datos generales
Nombre María Teresa Cuéllar de Montaña
Fecha de nacimiento 1935
Nacionalidad Colombiana, Bandera de Colombia }}
Seudónimo Teye
Ocupación Artista
País de nacimiento Colombia, Bandera de Colombia }}
Ciudad de nacimiento Bogotá

María Teresa Cuéllar de Montaña is a sketcher, printmaker and figurative painter who was born in Bogota in 1935. She was trained at the art schools of the National University of Colombia and the University of Los Andes, where she also studied philosophy, and she complemented her education at the Fine Arts Academy of the University of Rome. She is known in Colombia and around the world for her still lifes and prints, although since the 1990s she has focused on the landscape genre. Since the beginning of her career her work has been presented in individual and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in various countries, and some of her pieces are part of the collections of museums in Colombia and the rest of the world.


Teyé” “Teyé” is the artistic name that Teresa Cuéllar chose in order to abbreviate her signature when it was necessary to include her married name. At the suggestion of Fernando Botero, with whom she began to interact at the age of 22, she thought of ways of making her name “visually valid” and found an identity in the memories of one of her childhood nicknames. Her relationship with art began in childhood with the practice of drawing, and was strengthened through academic training in art academies and private classes. Since her youth, she was widely acknowledged on the Colombian art circuit, participating in international group exhibitions and contests, and even holding retrospective shows from the first decade of her career. She is held up in Colombian art as one of the most important painters, sketchers and graphic artists of the second half of the 20th century. In the 1950s, through Fernando Botero and Gloria Zea,, Teyé met the writer Antonio Montaña Mariño (1932-2013) and married him after a year of exchanging correspondence[1]. In a relationship of mutual collaboration, Teyé participated as an illustrator in several publishing projects related to Colombian and Spanish cuisine that were developed by Montaña: La comida en la edad de oro española (Food in the Spanish Golden Age; 1974), Cocina cundinamarquesa (Cundinamarca Cuisine; 1980) and La dicha de cocinar (The Joy of Cooking; 1994). In turn, Montaña provided commentary on his wife’s work for various exhibitions in museums and galleries, and on the career of other artists such as Hernando Tejada, a close friend to whom the writer dedicated one of his books. Teresa Cuéllar’s contributions to the cultural sphere transcend her artistic work. She aided in the reconstruction of an important part of the history of art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Colombia, by keeping for many years a series of albums belonging to the Colombian painter and printmaker Ricardo Moros Urbina (1865-1942) that contain large amounts of notes, drawings, studies and prints. The donation of this heritage to the Colombian General Archive enabled Paula Jimena Matiz and María Constanza Villalobos to provide the country with a complete investigation into the work of Moros Urbina in a publication by the District Institute of Cultural Heritage (IDPC). Additionally, as a result of the donation, in 2019 the General Archive opened an exhibition to the public entitled “Dos cronistas de Bogotá. Un encuentro histórico” (Two chroniclers of Bogotá: a historic encounter), which displayed various texts by José María Cordovez Moure (1835-1918) in juxtaposition with drawings by Moros Urbina recreated by the artist Angie Vega on the walls and windows of the exhibition.

Artistic career

Upon completing her university education, Teresa Cuéllar became involved in the Bogota art scene, practicing painting and exhibiting her work in national and young artists’ shows. Between 1960 and 1961 she carried out a specialization at the University of Rome, and on her return to Colombia was responsible for giving drawing classes at the University of Los Andes, where she taught for 8 years. From this period her interest in still lifes stands out, as made evident by various individual exhibitions in galleries in Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla. Exhibition titles such as Naturalezas vivas (Living still lifes), Acercamientos vivos (Living approaches) and Neobodegones (Neo-still lifes) hinted at a novel way of tackling still lifes through the management of color, format and technique. Without neglecting her work with still lifes, from the 1970s Cuéllar featured in exhibitions on Colombian sketchers and Hispano-American printmakers. It was a time when many artists were expressing great enthusiasm for printmaking techniques, and producing their creations in graphic workshops in cities such as Cali and Bogotá. During this decade, Teyé took part in the graphic arts biennials that took place in Cali and entered the MoMA collection in 1973 with the lithograph “La niña de papel” (The paper girl). Around the mid-1980s, Teyé was mentioned as one of the greats of Colombian art, and as one of the leading female exponents of painting in the country. She maintained a healthy and consistent rate of production until the 1990s, and at the start of the decade she moved to a family farm in Chia, a municipality that borders with the capital Bogotá, where she would develop a new focus on landscapes. Her landscapes, such as those exhibited in early 2014 in the Débora Arango Hall of the Economic Culture Fund, portray the colors and textures that usually go unnoticed by the inhabitants of the Bogotá plain[2]. This work to represent her environment has developed in tandem with her family’s restoration and revitalization of the plot of land where the farm is located, which for many years was used as a quarry and left in an advanced state of erosion.

Características de su obra

Aunque los años cincuenta vieron el auge del abstraccionismo y el expresionismo en el arte colombiano, Teresa Cuellar optó por el arte figurativo. Si bien inició con una figuración abstraccionista, su lenguaje fue avanzando hacia el naturalismo. Según Antonio Montaña, su esposo y principal comentarista, Teyé ha pintado siempre lo que tiene a la vista, y a juzgar por el modo en que ella se expresa sobre su propio estilo de trabajo, su proceso creativo se asemeja al de los artistas impresionistas, por entregar el papel protagónico a la luz y las atmósferas. La pintura de Teyé se ha caracterizado por el uso de espátulas y la manipulación directa del óleo con los dedos en lugar de pinceles. Sus bodegones otorgan vida y singularidad a frutas, vegetales y flores, los cuales estudia con amplio detalle. Los arreglos florales que ha plasmado a través de sus grabados reflejan métodos que se han comparado con los de Alberto Durero.[3]

Obras destacadas

  • 1973: La niña de papel (The paper girl). Colección del Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York MoMA.

Obras de Teresa Cuéllar Teyé en las Colecciones del Banco de la República

Obras de Teresa Cuéllar en la Colección de Arte del Banco de la República
Título Año Ubicación Denominación Registro
Bodegón 1968 Reserva Pintura AP0287
Sin título 1994 Reserva Grabado AP2938


  • 1935: nace en Bogotá.
  • 1959: participa en el Salón de Pintores Andrés de Santamaría de la Universidad de América en Bogotá. En esta década estudia bellas artes en la Universidad Nacional y en la Universidad de los Andes, y se casa con Antonio Montaña Mariño.
  • 1960: participa en el Salón de Artistas Colombianos. Viaja a Italia para adelantar estudios en la Academia de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Roma.
  • 1962: ingresa a la escuela de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de los Andes como profesora de dibujo, cargo en el que se desempeña hasta 1970.
  • 1963: hace parte de la exposición El siglo XX y la pintura en Colombia en el Museo Nacional de Colombia.
  • 1965: es elegida para representar a Colombia en la Bienal de Pintura Joven de París.
  • 1966: inaugura la exposición Neobodegones en el Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá.
  • 1969: es incluida en la exposición Adquisiciones de la Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango en Bogotá:
  • 1970: realiza la muestra Obra selecta en la Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango.
  • 1972: su exposición 10 años de su obra hace itinerario por la sala Gregorio Vásquez de la Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia y el Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena.
  • 1973: participa en la exposición Dibujantes colombianos en la Biblioteca Luis Ángela Arango, en la II Bienal de Artes Gráficas en el Museo de Arte La Tertulia de Cali y en la muestra 20 grabadores hispanoamericanos en el Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá.
  • 1975: se presenta en la Bienal Americana de Artes Gráficas en Cali.
  • 1978: exhibe su obra en Artists from Colombia de The Art Society of the International Monetary Found, en Washington, Estados Unidos.
  • 1983: sus obras se exhiben en eventos culturales en Estados Unidos y México.
  • 1985: se presenta la muestra Naturalezas Vivas en la Galería Museo La Tertulia de Cali.
  • 1989: exposición Grandes dibujantes colombianos del siglo XX en el Banco de la República.
  • 1996: es incluida en la exposición Master Word of Latin American Painting and Arts de la Christie’s Gallery de Nueva York, institución con la mantiene una estrecha relación durante años.
  • 2000: se abre al público la exposición Obra selecta y reciente en la galería de la Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá.
  • 2004-2007-2011: realiza obras para las iniciativas Animarte, Equusarte y Azularte de la Fundación Corazón Verde, que a través de subastas a puesto varias esculturas en espacios públicos en Bogotá.
  • 2014: presenta una selección de su obra paisajística en la sala Débora Arango del Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez en Bogotá.

Véase también


  1. Interview with Gloria Valencia for the program Correo Especial, broadcast on April 22, 1992. Director: Rodrigo Castaño. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH676Px_r64
  2. Interview with the artist for the informative culture and entertainment platform “En órbita” on February 4, 2014, whose content has been broadcast through RTVC public channels such as Señal Colombia, Señal Radiónica and Señal Radio Colombia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T391FTy6iYM
  3. Hoja de vida de Teyé en The Americas Collection, Private & Corporate Fine Arts Dealers: http://www.americascollection.com/bios/TEYE_CURRICULUM.pdf


  • Montaña, A. (2010). Teyé y la mano del oso. Poliantea, vol.6, n°10, 127-135.

Colección de arte del Banco de la República


1. Investigación y texto: Oscar David Rodríguez, mediador de los Museos y Colecciones del Banco de la República, para Banrepcultural

2. Revisión y edición de textos Inti Camila Romero Estrada y Diana Salas, Sección de Servicios al Público y Educativos, Unidad de Arte y Otras Colecciones (UAOC)