The Magical Forest from cuban painter Manuel Mendive

The Magical Forest from cuban painter Manuel Mendive

Among the stages that help artists become known are the international art exhibitions (such as the Venice Biennial, for example). These exhibits draw a larger public audience than art galleries, where artistic works are commonly shown. In the measure that Caribbean artists have presented their works in international exhibitions, they have become better known in the art market.

Since the late 1940s, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Puerto Rican Athenaeum have helped visual artists in Puerto Rico gain more recognition at the world level. The work of masters such as Lorenzo Homar, Francisco Rodón, Myrna Báez and Julio Rosado del Valle become known through the work of these institutions. Other artists, such as Antonio Martorell and Rafael Tufiño, are examples of the renown won by other Puerto Rican visual artists. Today, various artists from the island continue to exhibit internationally, such as Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, as well as Heriberto Nieves, who won a gold medal at the Florence Biennial, and an exhibition by Pepón Osorio at the Wadsworth Athenaeum.

Among Cuban painters, Wilfredo Lam is one of the best known. During his time in Europe, he became known for his fusion of surrealism and cubism, although he also dedicated much of his work to topics related to the African culture in the Caribbean. Similarly, Manuel Mendive, considered one of the most important Cuban artists, explored the religion and culture of Africa and Cuba in his paintings. Some of the Cuban artists with the best reputations on the international level are Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy, Kcho and Roberto Fabelo. The reception to Cuban art, however, has not been free of political controversy. For example, a painting by Mendive, who has not opposed the Cuban government, was set on fire by an anti-Castro militant in 1988.

Jaime Colson, one of the most prestigious Dominican painters, was trained in Europe and later lived in his home republic, where he passed on his artistic knowledge to younger generations by teaching. Similarly, Cándido Bidó was able to use appreciation of his pictorial work on the international market to promote other Dominican artists. The work of expressionist Ramón Oviedo received the Gentleman of Arts and Letters prize awarded by the French government. Guillo Pérez, Fernando Ureña Rib and Ada Balcácer are some of the Dominican artists who have opened doors for younger generations (which include Julio Valdez, Raquel Paiewonsky, Quisqueya Henríquez and Jorge Pineda) and captured public interest and the attention of the international market.

Philomé Obin and Hector Hyppolite established the basis for Haitian artists. Both painters caught the attention of intellectuals in Europe and the United States with their paintings, which helped create interest in the visual arts from Haiti and in younger artists, such Edouard Duval Carrié and Telemaque Obin.


Autor: Alejandro Carpio
Published: December 27, 2011.

Related Entries

This post is also available in: Español


The Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities welcomes the constructive comments that the readers of the Encyclopedia of Puerto Rico want to make us. Of course, these comments are entirely the responsibility of their respective authors.