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Marisol was born in Paris to Venezuelan parents Gustavo Escobar and Josefina Hernandez on May 22, 1930. Marisol has a brother, also Gustavo, who is now an economist living in Venezuela. Financially comfortable, the family lived something of a nomadic existence in Europe, Venezuela and the United States. Their wealth derived from the Venezuelan oil business and real estate that afforded the family a very comfortable, social lifestyle. Marisolâ€™s mother died in New York in 1941 when Marisol was eleven years old. Following the tragedy and for the duration of World War II, the family lived mainly in Caracas, with the children attending a series of local schools. Near the end of the war, Marisolâ€™s father moved the family to Los Angeles, California where Marisol was enrolled in the Westlake School for Girls.
With aspirations to become a painter, Marisol first studied art in evening drawing classes at the Jepson School in Los Angeles when she was sixteen. By this time, she was already proficient in representational drawing. Catholicism imbued Marisol with beliefs in mystery, miracles, intercession and awareness of a spiritual/supernatural aspect of life that permeated both her character and work as an artist. As she revealed to Avis Berman in a 1984 interview for Smithsonian, Marisol suffered self-inflicted acts of penance for a brief period in her early teens. She walked on her knees until they bled, kept silent for long periods and tied ropes tightly around her waist in emulation of saints and martyrs.
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