Alfredo Zalce Torres was born in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán on January 12, 1908. His parents, Ramón Zalce and María Torres Sandoval, were photographers by profession. He studied at the National School of Plastic Arts from 1924 to 1927, under the guidance of Mateo Saldaña, both in sculpture and in direct carving. He was also a student of Diego Rivera.
In 1930 he was commissioned to found the Tabasco School of Painting. In that year, together with Isabel Villaseñor, he executed a fresco outside a primary school in Ayotla, State of Mexico. Founder of a painting school in Taxco, in 1932 he presented his first exhibition at the José Guadalupe Posada Gallery and painted frescoes at the School for Women, on Cuba Street in Mexico City. He taught drawing in Mexico’s public primary schools (1932-1935) and joined the cultural missions from 1936 to 1940); He was a founding member of the LEAR (League of Revolutionary Artist Writers) and the Popular Graphics Workshop.
He was also a professor at the La Esmeralda school and at the San Carlos Academy in 1944. He was awarded the prize of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana in 1978. He was the winner of the National Prize for Science and Arts in the Fine Arts area in 2001.
He exerted, as at the time José Guadalupe Posada, Leopoldo Méndez and the artists of the Taller de Gráfica Popular, a great influence on other artistic movements. An example of this is the Espartaco Group of Argentina. The Museum of Drawing and Illustration in Buenos Aires treasures an important collection of his works by these artists, some of which were exhibited in the exhibition “Resistance and Rebelliousness”, held in 2008 at the Cooperation Center.
In addition to the Mexico City Museum of Art, some of his works include the Metropolitan Museum in New York, USA; the Stockholm National Museum in Sweden; and the National Museum of Warsaw in Poland.
He died a week after celebrating his 95th birthday, on the afternoon of January 19, 2003, of heart failure, at his home in Morelia, Michoacán. In 1979, the government of Michoacán created the Alfredo Zalce Prize for Plastic Arts as a tribute to such an outstanding artist from La Paz.