Contreras trained at Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico, before moving to Paris, where he earned a medal in the 1889 Exposition Universelle. On returning to Mexico City, he was commissioned to complete a number of public monuments. Noteworthy among these is the series of twenty statues of distinguished figures from Mexican history, placed along the Paseo de la Reforma. Despite the high demands of his monumental projects, he combined these with small bronzes and decorative objects suited to reproduction; in doing so, he successfully mastered the modern art of sculptor-entrepreneur.
E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, Gründ, 1999, vol. iii, p. 846
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