Born in Montgat, Spain, Alvar first began painting at the age of 12. He was accepted to the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Jorge in Barcelona when he was 17. When he was 18, he won a young painter’s competition put on by the city of Barcelona. The painting from that competition hangs in the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona. In 1957, he had his first unaccompanied exhibition in the Galleries Layetana in Barcelona. In 1959, after serving in the Spanish Military, Alvar went to Paris to continue painting. He won a scholarship to study there at the Institut Francais competition held in Barcelona.
Alvar met Juan Fuentes, director of the Galerie Drouant. After Fuentes sold Alvar’s first set of paintings in a week, Alvar signed a contract with the gallery. In 1960, art critic Jacques Lassaigne, suggested Alvar to take part in the Salon School of Paris.
In 1962, the Monede Gallery in New York showed Alvar’s work in his first exhibition in the United States.
In the early 2000s, Alvar began creating public mixed media murals. In 2001, he designed a mural of the four seasons for Tiana, a suburb of Barcelona, and in 2003, he designed an 18-foot sculpture in the Plaza de Mallorquines in Montgat, Spain. In 2008, he also created a sculpture of Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, in the Boulogne Billancourt of Paris.
Alvar works in watercolor, oil, ceramics, engravings, sculpture, lithography, murals and monuments. His works have been on display in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe and Japan