Cuban Art and National Identity: Vanguardia Painters, 1927-50s (Hardback)
  • Cuban Art and National Identity: Vanguardia Painters, 1927-50s (Hardback)

Cuban Art and National Identity: Vanguardia Painters, 1927-50s (Hardback)

Hardback Published: 31/08/1994
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The strong and cohesive artistic avant-garde that emerged in Havana in the '20s was seminal in the evolution of the modern Cuban identity. Born around the turn of the century, the vanguardia painters shared the heady sense of confidence and nationalism that characterised progressive Cuban intellectuals of the time. This book, lavishly illustrated with reproductions of 60 paintings, rediscovers the vanguardia, describing for the first time in English its importance in Cuban history and culture. By 1927 the nucleus of the vanguardia artists (who showed their work that year in a series of exhibitions in Havana) had rejected the academic conventions of Cuba's national art academy. In their formative years, many had lived in Paris, where they studied and absorbed the tenets of surrealism, cubism, and modernist primitivism. They returned to Cuba committed to artistic innovation and eager to embrace the heritage of their island. They increasingly identified with the humble and exploited sectors of society, portraying the peasant - often depicted with a serious, dignified facial expression - and the countryside as symbols of national identity. The vanguardia artists achieved international recognition in 1944 with the Modern Cuban Painting show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; in 1951 they came full circle to the city where they discovered their artistic vision with the Contemporary Cuban Art show in Paris. For most of this century, support for the Cuban vanguardia artists has been meagre. Recently, however, the National Museum of Cuba has actively collected and organised retrospective exhibitions of their work, which is now widely recognised for its historic and aesthetic value. In the United States, the work of the vanguardia is displayed in museums from San Francisco to New York, and major holdings are on display at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1933 the Studio Museum in Harlem featured "Wilfredo Lam and His Contemporaries" as its 25th anniversary show.

Publisher: University Press of Florida
ISBN: 9780813013060

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