Alvar Sunol Munoz-Ramos was born on January 29, 1935, in Montgat, a Catalan fishing village on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona. He started painting oils at age twelve and at age seventeen was accepted at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Jorge, the prestigious fine art school in Barcelona. Before graduating from the Bellas Artes, he gave his first solo exhibition at Galleries Layetana in Barcelona in 1957. Alvar also won the Bolsa de Viaje Alhambra de Granada, a summer scholarship study trip to Granada. At age 18, Alvar entered a painting in a competition for the Young Painters Prize sponsored by the City of Barcelona. His painting won the grand prize and is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, Spain.
Due to his early artistic successes, Alvar received many invitations for shows in other Spanish cities. During his military service, he submitted one of his canvases for the Institut Francais annual painting competition in Barcelona. The Institute Francais awarded him the grand prize and a scholarship to study in Paris. Alvar arrived in Paris to paint in 1959. He met Juan Fuentes, a fellow Spaniard and director of the prestigious Parisian Galerie Drouant. Fuentes encouraged Alvar in his painting and brought Alvar's first group of Paris oil paintings to the gallery. Fuentes' gallery sold the paintings in one week.
In 1960 Alvar returned to Barcelona to marry his childhood sweetheart, Rosella Berenguer. They returned to Paris and lived there for ten years. Alvar's paintings were exhibited in the United States for the first time at the Monede Gallery, New York, in 1962. Alvar produced his first original lithographs for a one man show at Galerie Drouant in 1963.
Since a decisive solo exhibition in Paris in 1963, Alvar has exhibited regularly throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. In 1978 a retrospective exhibition of his lithographs was held by the Musee Hyaninthe Riguad in Perpignan, France. His lithographs, paintings and sculptures have been presented in major shows at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City in 1982 and the Wichita Art Museum in 1983. In 2000, l'Abadia de Sant Miguel del Fai in Catalonia, Spain, mounted a retrospective exhibit honoring Alvar's contribution to the Spanish art community. In 2001 three additional retrospective exhibits were mounted: two by the Instituto Cervantes in Toulouse and Bordeaux, France, and one in Athens, Georgia, at the Georgia Museum of Art. The Kumamoto Museum and the Fukoka Museum, both in Kyushu, Japan, have purchased his lithographs for their permanent collection.
Alvar's hometown of Tiana hosts one of his permanent public installations. In September 2001, a commissioned mixed media mural by Alvar was unveiled. The mural reflects on the four seasons and is affixed to The Four Seasons Building, named in reference to Alvar's mural. In 2003, city officials in Montgat, Spain, commissioned Alvar to create another permanent public installation: an 18-foot sculpture dedicated to the city's personality and seaside character which now stands in the newly opened Plaza de Mallorquines.
In 1993 a book devoted to the artist's paintings was published in Spain and the United States. In that same year, ten solo exhibitions of Alvar's works in painting, graphic works, sculptures and drawings, were held throughout the United States. In 2001 Alvar: Thirty Years of Lithography, a book chronicling the lithographic creations of Alvar was published. Since 1999 Alvar has presented his works at numerous exhibitions and gallery shows in the United States.
Alvar continues to create art in the mediums of oil, lithography, watercolor, bronze, ceramic bas relief and precious metal sculpture.