Alberto Garcia-Alvarez was born in Barcelona, Spain where he had a classical art education at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de Sant Jordi at the University of Barcelona.

Before arriving in New Zealand Garcia-Alvarez exhibited widely in Europe and the USA, including a solo show in 1961 at the San Francisco Museum of Art. He completed numerous mosaic, fresco and stained-glass commissions for churches and monasteries in the United States and Spain, and participated in group shows alongside artists including Brice Marden and Frank Stella.

Between 1961 and 1973, when he moved with his family to New Zealand, Garcia-Alvarez lectured at colleges in California including the University of California at Berkeley. From 1973 until 1995 he taught Print-making, Lithography and Painting at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, where he also set up the Masters programme.

Garcia-Alvarez lives and works in Auckland.