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The paintings were stored in cupboards in Paris for nearly three decades. No one wanted abstract renderings of DNA by an untrained artist who happened to be a biologist.

Title (2000): DNA telomere, 1975. Oil on cardboard (19.7 ins x 12.6 ins). Luis Soriano (Negro-Da-Ponte). Image courtesy Ickenox Fine Art Publishers.

But times have changed. Outsider art is in, DNA is hip, and the paintings are now for sale over the Internet.

Between 1974 and 1976, Luis Soriano completed about 25 paintings while working as a researcher in cellular and molecular biology at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

At a time when laboratory results were about curves, charts, and numbers, Soriano was looking for artistic ways to express the research.

Original Title (1976): Putative sequence in a context of colour fraternity, 1975. Last Title (2000): Transgenesis. Acrylic on cardboard (25.6 ins x 19.3 ins). Luis Soriano (Negro-Da-Ponte). Image courtesy Ickenox Fine Art Publishers.

“I wanted to represent molecules in a naïve way,” says Soriano, who is now 72 and goes by the pseudonym Negro-da-Ponte. Born in Argentina, he has lived in Paris for 40 years.

Soriano stopped painting because his friends and colleagues were not interested in the art. Plus, as a deputy director of the Department of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris he had little free time outside his research. Now that he's retired he may start painting again, especially if the earlier works start to sell.

“I am particularly interested in stem cells and the possible applications in cell and gene therapy and transplantation,” he says. “The Internet allows me to stay up on the research.”

LEFT: DNA Uncoiling, 1974-76. Oil on cardboard (26 ins x 20 ins). Luis Soriano (Negro-Da-Ponte). RIGHT: Molecular Dance, 1974-76. Oil on cardboard (26 ins x 20 ins). Luis Soriano (Negro-Da-Ponte). Image courtesy Ickenox Fine Art Publishers.

View a slideshow of some of Luis Soriano's work.

To see more paintings by Soriano visit Ickenox Fine Art Publishers.

Birgit Reinert

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