Cuban Art and the Search for a National Identity

Antonio Gattorno

Once Cuba had finally gained independence from Spain in 1902, the country underwent a period of adjustment, introspection, and the establishment of a more defined national identity. Artists actively participated in this soul searching.  Their new approach to art was innovative, experimental, joyful and varied.  Drawing upon influences from Europe and Mexico they created a very distinctive Cuban ‘style’ often composed of bold lines and equally bold colours.

Antonio Gattorno

Antonio Gattorno (1904-1980) is said to be the father of modernism in Cuba.  After studying in Europe for seven years he returned to his home country and painted local subject matter focusing largely on portraying the humble dignity of the people despite their impoverished situation.   Curiously he depicts the men in a vaguely cubist style and the women in a soft and gently curvacious style. Gattorno redefined Cuban art and the results are somehow so personal, atmospheric, and deeply absorbing.

Antonio Gattorno

Eduardo Abela

Eduardo Abela (1889-1965) was an experimental artist as these three pictures show. I love the warmth and sweetness of the painting above.

Eduardo Abela

Eduardo Abela

Amelia Pelaez

These paintings by Pelaez (1896-1968) are fabulous! She was an avant-garde artist who studied in Paris, afterwards returning to Cuba.

Amelia Pelaez

Amelia Pelaez

Fidelio Ponce de Leon


~ by laxshmirose on May 15, 2010.

3 Responses to “Cuban Art and the Search for a National Identity”

  1. Love the Pelaez … you can certainly see Braque, Picasso, Leger and other school of Paris painters in her bold approach …

  2. Great, isn’t she! I can also see a similarity to Leger in Gattorno’s paintings, especially in the slim rotundity of the figures.

  3. […] AMELIA PELAEZ: […]

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