By Rey Móntez
Dr. Rey Móntez was trained in law and research at the University of New Mexico School of Law from 1971 through 1974, passed the New Mexico Bar Examination in 1974, and taught Poverty Law at the University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, the University of New Mexico School of Law, the University of New Mexico Public Administration Department, and the Santa Fe Community College. He also served as director for Legal Services. In 1989 he opened Móntez Gallery in his hometown of Santa Fe, specializing in Spanish Colonial and Christian Art. He continues to direct the gallery.
During the early 1990’s he sat as a board member of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society (SCAS) for five years. At that time he co-authored Spanish New Mexico: The Collection of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, wrote a preface for Charlie Carrillo: Tradition and Soul/Tradición y Alma, wrote an article regarding the art work of Fray Ángelico Chávez, wrote “The World’s Largest Painting of N. S. de Guadalupe,” as well as numerous technical articles including “Folk Art at the Crossroads of Modern Civilization.” For many years the Móntez Gallery provided the funding for the “Grand Prize — Best of Show” category for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society (SCAS) Spanish Market and today provides funding for the SCAS “Master’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.”
Prior to his higher education, Rey Móntez was raised by a father who is a santero, or maker of Christian saints, and a mother who was a Rio Grande weaver (the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante is the family home which contained a weaving room where blankets were woven and sold by Rey’s grandfather and grandmother). He began painting Christian art at the age of nine, inspired by his father and the two churches he attended as a boy, the Santuario de Chimayó and the Santuario de Guadalupe. He continues to exclusively paint this subject matter, utilizing the church space – La Capilla – that is also his church gallery in Truchas.
He has won awards for his art, including the De Colores “Most Traditional First Place,” and his work can be found in several collections, including the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. He has been appraising Spanish Colonial and Christian art since 1989, is a member of the International Fine Art Appraisers (IFAA), the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, La Cofradia de la Conquistadora, La Union Protectiva, the National Council of La Raza, and member/co-founder of El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. He is currently working with the Nuestra Señora del Rosario Foundation in Truchas to preserve and protect the historic mission and the artwork therein. Rey’s undergraduate study is in Spanish Literature. He is a student of Buddhism and Catholicism.