Albuquerque artist and gallery owner Fermín Hernández, whose work hung on the sets of “Breaking Bad” as well as in the collections of Secretary of State John Kerry and actor Ted Danson, died Wednesday.
The well-known 65-year-old Albuquerque printmaker died from internal injuries he suffered in a car accident in Costa Mesa, Calif., on May 2, his daughter Lori Young said. His former wife Emily Salazar was a passenger in the car.
“I’m still very shocked,” Young said in a telephone call from her Denver home. “Him and I were very, very close. I worked in his first gallery with him.”
Hernández owned Fermín Hernández Fine Art & Studio in Albuquerque’s Old Town.
Young said her father attended art school in Denver in the late 1980s, where he first fell in love with the serigraphs (silkscreened prints) that made his career.
Albuquerque artist B.C. Nowlin met Hernández at a Denver gallery opening when Hernández was just starting his career.
“His work was very Hispanic-oriented,” Nowlin said. “I told him he needed to move to New Mexico.”
Two months later, the artist opened a studio here.
Hernández was “jovial, genuine, looked you in the eye, down-to-earth, no great affectations,” Nowlin said. “He was pretty quiet about his work, and it was surprisingly good. He could reduce things to their essence, almost like O’Keeffe. It was realism with a nice element of the abstract, quite sophisticated, clean, bold shapes.
“I always wanted the best for him, because he deserved it,” Nowlin said.
Old Town gallery owner Bill Bess of Blackbird Gallery said Hernández stopped by regularly to chat.
“He was just a very nice man,” he said, “always interested. He’d look at whatever was new at my place.”
Hernández also exhibited regularly at the annual Weems ArtFest, Mary Ann Weems said.
He is survived by two additional daughters, Lisa and Sara, and a son, Rudy, all of whom live in Iowa.
Services will be at the family home in Missouri. An Albuquerque memorial is being planned for a later date.
“He was very charitable,” Young said. “He gave a lot of pieces to the University of New Mexico Hospital.”