At age 18, he won the “Alhambra de Granada” grant, a summer scholarship that allowed him to travel and paint throughout Spain. This was the birth of Alvar’s style and the laying of the technical foundation that would accompany him over the following years. Alvar returned home and entered a painting in competition for the Young Painter’s Prize sponsored by the City of Barcelona. He won the Grand Prize and the painting was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona for its permanent collection.
In 1957, at age 22, Alvar gave his first one-man show at the Galleries Layetana in Barcelona. The exhibit was a great success and Alvar received many invitations for shows in other Spanish cities. He entered one of his canvasses for the annual painting competition at the French Institute of Barcelona. He again won the Grand Prize, and with it a study trip to Paris.
Alvar arrived in Paris to paint in 1959. He met Juan Fuentes, a fellow Spaniard and director of the prestigious Gallery Drouant. Fuentes brought Alvar’s first group of Paris oil paintings to the gallery. All of the paintings sold in one week. He was subsequently invited to join the celebrated “School of Paris,” a group of the top young artists in Paris, organized by the distinguished Charpentier Gallery.
Alvar returned to Barcelona in 1960 to marry his childhood sweetheart, Rosella Berenguer. They returned to Paris and lived there for the next ten years. His paintings were exhibited in the United States for the first time at the Monede Gallery, New York city, in 1962. Alvar produced his first original lithographs for a one-man show at Gallery Drouant in 1963. In 1970, Alvar and Rosella left Paris and returned to their beloved Spain to raise their three young children. He has lived there ever since.
Sunol Alvar has exhibited regularly throughout the world over the years. His lithographs were honored with an exhibition at the Hyacinth Rigand Museum in Perpignan, France. The Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, Utah and the Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, Kansas have held major exhibits of his lithographs, paintings and sculptures.