DIÁLOGOS CONSTRUCTIVISTAS

To Maria Elena Jubrías, for the se­cret in­spi­ra­tion and the not al­ways easy mutual love.

Art On Cuba - - In This Issue - New York City, Au­gust 2016

Diálogos Constructivistas en la Vanguardia Cubana, un­told tales

In re­cent years the work of artists cre­at­ing in Cuba, in par­tic­u­lar those work­ing within the bound­aries of Ab­stract art af­ter World War II, has been the fo­cus of wide in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion. For many this ob­ser­va­tion comes as a sur­prise, espe­cially when it seems op­posed to the work by other mem­bers of Vanguardia Cubana, more in­clined to cre­ate in a fig­u­ra­tive mood and in­ter­ested in build­ing upon the ideals of national iden­tity.

There might be sev­eral rea­sons for this lat­est de­vel­op­ment, but un­doubt­edly the re­cent scru­tiny to which Latin Amer­i­can art has been sub­jected is a fac­tor, due to its re­search and the study by art his­to­ri­ans and cu­ra­tors. Con­se­quently, their ef­forts have found a re­cep­tive dy­namic echo in pri­vate col­lec­tions that, through their force, have helped to move the pro­duc­tion of those ab­stract artists to the front­line, head­ing into ex­hi­bi­tions in mu­se­ums and gal­leries from Ha­vana and Mi­ami to London and New York.

Lead­ing gal­leries like Ga­lerie Le­long have re­cently added note­wor­thy sub­stance to the con­ver­sa­tion with the ex­hi­bi­tion, Diálogos Constructivistas en la Vanguardia Cubana: Amelia Peláez, Loló Sold­ev­illa and Zilia Sánchez (April 28 – June 25, 2016), with the con­sult­ing cu­ra­tor­ship of In­grid W. El­liott.

The show was ac­com­pa­nied by a well pre­pared and il­lus­trated ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­log fea­tur­ing an es­say by the cu­ra­tor, ti­tled Be­tween the Real and the In­vis­i­ble.

The ex­hi­bi­tion has been cu­rated us­ing art­works in sev­eral medi­ums, from works on pa­per, draw­ings and ce­ram­ics by Amelia Peláez (1896-1968), col­lages and sculp­tures by Loló Sold­ev­illa (1901-1971) and Zilia Sánchez (b. 1926), as well as from paint­ings by the three artists. Giv­ing equal at­ten­tion to each artist, the thirty one pieces were ac­com­pa­nied by a dis­play of ephemeral ma­te­ri­als, like his­tor­i­cal ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­logues and pho­to­graphs. In ad­di­tion it in­cluded a vin­tage home­made color film of Ha­vana from the late 1940s, shot by the Cuban-born art his­to­rian and found­ing cu­ra­tor and di­rec­tor of the Mu­seum of the Amer­i­can States, José Gómez Si­cre (1916-1991). The film could be seen as a homage to Gómez Si­cre’s cen­ten­nial.

In her es­say in the cat­a­log, Ms. El­liot is able to suc­cess­fully shed some sig­nif­i­cant light on the in­tel­lec­tual con­nec­tions be­tween the works of these three Cuban ama­zon painters. She ar­tic­u­lates or­gan­i­cally the re­la­tion­ship of the works of Amelia and Loló, and how Sánchez took on their pic­to­rial legacy, clearly point­ing out what brings them to­gether and apart. How­ever, at times, she fails to es­tab­lish a more com­plete back­ground against which those artists were work­ing in the is­land, and misses sub­stance in her his­tor­i­cal re­search.

Those Con­struc­tivist Di­a­logues on which the ex­hi­bi­tion at Ga­lerie Le­long fo­cuses were started much ear­lier than the 1950s frames cho­sen by the cu­ra­tor to il­lus­trate, and those ex­changes built the base con­nect­ing the pic­to­rial con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Peláez, Sold­ev­illa and Sánchez. Along the way, the work of many artists that at the time were fun­da­men­tal in the de­vel­op­ment of ab­strac­tion in Cuba have fallen into obliv­ion; to­day only a hand­ful of them have been in­ter­na­tion­ally “re-dis­cov­ered” un­der the present cur­rents.

While Ab­strac­tion started to be part of the is­land’s artis­tic land­scape be­gin­ning in the early 1920s, and then blos­somed in the 1950s, it be­came al­most silent af­ter the first half of the 1960s, but by some means has shown signs of vi­tal­ity in re­cent years.

The so­cial-economic path that the is­land na­tion has lived from the 1960s to the present some­how helps to leave Ab­strac­tion and its history in a con­tra­dic­tory state, in plain sight and obscurity at once. Af­ter 1959, the genre was never openly cen­sored but was also not pro­moted by the new state which, un­til re­cently, was the sole pro­pri­etor of gal­leries and mu­se­ums.

Giv­ing equal at­ten­tion to each artist, the thirty one pieces were ac­com­pa­nied by a dis­play of ephemeral ma­te­ri­als, like his­tor­i­cal ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­logues and pho­to­graphs.

The group of mod­ern painters known later as the First Gen­er­a­tion1 of the Cuban Vanguardia of­fi­cially broke into the artis­tic scene on May 7, 1927, with Primera Ex­posi­ción de Arte Nuevo in as­so­ci­a­tion with Re­vista de Avance, an Avant Garde lit­er­ary mag­a­zine of pro­gres­sive ori­en­ta­tion. The artists, not all of them Cuban,2 pre­sented works that were not all mod­ern, but the sense of the or­ga­niz­ers3 and their in­ten­tion of break­ing bar­ri­ers with the es­tab­lish­ment at the time made the ex­hi­bi­tion a success, and later a land­mark in the national in­tel­lec­tual realm. In fol­low­ing decades, some of the artists and or­ga­niz­ers be­came bas­tions of sup­port for and op­po­si­tion to ab­strac­tion in the is­land.

Among the artists as­so­ci­ated with Re­vista de Avance, José Manuel Acosta (1895-1973),4 a photographer and il­lus­tra­tor, was re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign of the first pub­lished ab­stract book cover in Cuba, a con­struc­tivist com­po­si­tion for the book of po­etry Her­manita (1927), by his well-known brother Agustín Acosta.5

Be­gin­ning in 1923 he was pub­lish­ing, along­side En­rique Riverón (1902-1998), il­lus­tra­tions with cu­bist and ab­stract in­flu­ences in So­cial and Carte­les magazines. His pho­tog­ra­phy was in­spired by the work of Ed­ward We­ston and Tina Modotti, as well as by Mo­holy-Nagy and Man Ray, whom he had known around

1931 af­ter trav­el­ing to New York. That same year he started his pho­to­graphic ex­per­i­men­ta­tions with con­struc­tivist com­po­si­tions over emul­si­fied pa­per, shown in 1939 at El Lyceum.6

Both pub­li­ca­tions, So­cial and Carte­les, were founded and owned by Con­rado Mas­sa­guer (1889-1965), a Cuban car­i­ca­tur­ist based in New York. He was a celebrity in the is­land and in the city, where he fre­quently col­lab­o­rated with The New Yorker and Van­ity Fair, among other rel­e­vant pub­li­ca­tions. Mas­sa­guer and Riverón, among other car­i­ca­tur­ists, were to blame for the in­tro­duc­tion of moder­nity into Cuban vis­ual arts. A part-time New Yorker, Riverón be­gan cre­at­ing ab­strac­tion in 1930 while liv­ing in Paris. Fas­ci­nated by lin­eal com­po­si­tions and color con­trasts, he ex­hib­ited at Ha­vana’s El Lyceum in June 1934.

Also at El Lyceum in Septem­ber of that same year, Ernesto Gon­za­lez Puig (1913-1988), in his first solo show, was ex­hibit­ing or­ganic ab­stract draw­ings and paint­ings that were charged with a sur­re­al­is­tic in­nu­endo. By 1938 Marcelo Po­golotti (1902-1988), a par­tic­i­pant of Primera Ex­posi­ción de Arte Nuevo with Re­vista de Avance, had def­i­nitely re­turned from Paris to Ha­vana af­ter be­ing part of the Fu­tur­is­tic group led by Marinetti, but it was not un­til 1940 that he showed his ab­stract ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with Aero­pit­tura, done no later than 1933.

The fol­low­ing year, Amelia Peláez rein­tro­duces her­self in this con­ver­sa­tion upon her re­turn to Ha­vana in Jan­uary 1934. Af­ter be­ing part of the Parisian ex­pe­ri­ence, since May 1931 at the ate­lier of Rus­sian Con­struc­tivist painter Alexandra Ex­ter, who phrased Peláez work as “very syn­thetic, and her re­search of com­po­si­tion and lines are clean and beau­ti­ful.”7 This mo­ment is well de­picted in Ms. El­liott’s cat­a­log es­say. In 1931 a young Car­men Her­rera (b. 1915) trav­eled from Ha­vana to Paris for the first time and vis­ited with Peláez, a long­time fam­ily friend.8

By the time that Peláez re­turned to Ha­vana, her work un­der­went a sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion; she was no longer a painter of still lifes or sad mari­nas like her well-known for­mer pro­fes­sor at the Ha­vana San Ale­jan­dro Academy, Leopoldo Ro­mañach (1862-1951). Her goal, like those of artists early as­so­ci­ated with Re­vista de Avance, was to cre­ate a mod­ern paint­ing that re­flected upon and ex­panded ideals of national iden­tity, and the con­struc­tivist realm em­bel­lished in its new de­vel­oped style worked just per­fectly.

Her art­works are about her per­sonal do­main, a fem­i­nine world where males are out of place and not to be found. But also Peláez’ or­bit is not man­nered, for in­stance, with an af­fected fem­i­nin­ity. On the contrary, it is built with aus­ter­ity and rigor, feel­ings that tran­spire above the baro­que­ness of the forms and colors on her paint­ings. At Diálogos Constructivistas, clear ex­am­ples are Nat­u­raleza muerta en un in­te­rior/Las puer­tas de las Ha­bana (1948) and the Bo­ceto for the Ha­vana Hil­ton mu­ral (1956-57).

The as­so­ci­a­tion with lit­er­ary magazines seems to be a sta­ple in the de­vel­op­ment of the avant-garde in Cuba. Peláez’ work caught the at­ten­tion of the in­tel­lec­tual and writer José Lezama Lima (1910-1976), who was an ad­mirer of her ma­ter­nal un­cle, the Latin Amer­i­can mod­ernist poet Ju­lian del Casal (18631893). Lezama, re­spon­si­ble for the cre­ation of some of the most im­por­tant lit­er­ary magazines in Cuba and the Span­ish world to­ward the sec­ond half or the 20th cen­tury, in­vited Peláez to be an ad­vi­sor and il­lus­tra­tor for some of his magazines:

Espuela de Plata (1939-41), Nadie Parecía (1942-1944) and Orí­genes (1944-1956).9

Clus­tered around Orí­genes group and the in­tel­lec­tual statute of Lezama Lima, those Con­struc­tivist Di­a­logues took an­other life with an ex­po­nen­tial di­men­sion. It would be in­ter­est­ing to know what might have been the re­ac­tion of the Ori­genistas to the pres­ence in the mag­a­zine of the later cre­ated group 10 Pin­tores Con­cre­tos (1958-1961),10 led by Loló Sold­ev­illa, who re­turned to the is­land from Paris in 1956, the last year that Orí­genes mag­a­zine was pub­lished.

Af­ter be­ing in­vited by the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Art in

1948, sig­nif­i­cantly im­pressed by the mu­se­ums in Philadel­phia, Bos­ton and New York, Sold­ev­illa de­cided to be­come an artist. The per­sonal friend­ship with Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) and his en­cour­age­ment was im­por­tant to her de­ci­sion to pur­sue a ca­reer in the arts. Even though he showed no in­ter­est in ab­strac­tion, he rec­og­nized her abil­i­ties in that genre through a pref­er­ence for her sculp­tural work.11

Her suc­cess­ful ca­reer as ped­a­gogue and politi­cian, and per­sonal re­la­tions, help Sold­ev­illa to be ti­tled Cuba’s Cul­tural Am­bas­sador to Europe, mov­ing to Paris, while there, like Peláez, at­tended La Grande Chau­miére. Paris was the city in which Sold­ev­illa ac­quired, as Peláez did, her con­struc­tivist lan­guage from the likes of De­wasne, Edgar Pil­let, Os­sip Zad­kine and later Vasarely; artists with whom she de­vel­oped per­sonal and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships. Her pri­vate diaries of the time are an in­cred­i­ble rec­ol­lec­tion of Sold­ev­illa daily strug­gle to leave be­hind a ten­dency to work in a fig­u­ra­tive man­ner, some­thing that she never fully achieved. How­ever, on Jan­uary 2, 1953, Sold­ev­illa an­nounced her last big fig­u­ra­tive paint­ing12 and, on May 29, her in­ten­tion to de­stroy all the fig­u­ra­tive work un­der her pos­ses­sion at the time, against the op­po­si­tion of Lam.13

Diálogos Constructivistas presents such art­works, in which the at­tained ab­stract geo­met­ric lan­guage by Sold­ev­illa is al­ready solid, such as in the sculp­ture Un­ti­tled (El Damero), 1955, and Sueño As­tral, 1957. It is worth men­tion­ing the over­all un­evenly fin­ished qual­ity of Sold­ev­illa’s art­works, which on oc­ca­sion seem to be shoddy, an at­tribute that is not al­ways re­lated to the long hard life of the art­works or their poor con­ser­va­tion.

Those Con­struc­tivist Di­a­logues have their first clear voices as early as the 1920s, when artists in Cuba were en­com­pass­ing in­no­va­tive ways of ex­press­ing their cre­ated in­tel­lects.

Upon her de­fin­i­tive re­turn to Ha­vana, Loló Sold­ev­illa had her first solo show in Fe­bru­ary at Galería Cubana,14 owned by Floren­cio Gar­cía Cis­neros15 (1924-1998), who later was re­spon­si­ble for show­ing her work sev­eral times in Venezuela, both be­fore and af­ter he be­came di­rec­tor and co-owner of Sar­dio Gallery. Also in 1956, in June, Zilia Sánchez held a one woman-show at the gallery. Gar­cía Cis­neros was the first to ex­hibit in­ter­change­ably the works of Peláez, Sold­ev­illa and Sánchez in Cuba and Venezuela.16 Years later he pre­sented their work in Cara­cas, Mara­caibo and Va­len­cia at the Cen­tro de Bellas Artes, the Club del Comer­cio, and the Aso­ciación Vene­zolana de Pe­ri­odis­tas, among oth­ers.

As Ms. El­liott men­tions in her es­say, with­out a doubt Pin­tura de Hoy. Vanguardia de la Es­cuela de Paris,17 the ex­hi­bi­tion cu­rated by Loló Sold­ev­illa at the In­sti­tuto Na­cional de Cul­tura in Ha­vana “sparked a wave of artis­tic ex­per­i­men­ta­tion.”18 Nonethe­less, it would be fair to say that more likely the rel­e­vant ex­hi­bi­tion with in­ter­na­tional artists came to re­in­force a genre in which artists in Cuba had been al­ready work­ing.

In Oc­to­ber, 1950, El Lyceum ex­hib­ited Estruc­turas Pic­tóri­cas by Sandú Darié19 (1908-1991), a Madi se­ries of art­works; on De­cem­ber 23, Car­men Her­rera had the first solo ab­stract ex­hi­bi­tion by a woman in the coun­try, with art­works that went from lyric to hard-edged ab­strac­tion. The fol­low­ing year Mario Car­reño (1913-1999) showed on May 25 at El Lyceum his re­cent geo­met­ric paint­ings pre­vi­ously ex­hib­ited on Jan­uary 2 at Perls Gal­leries in New York. On April 25, 1955, Darié and Luis Martínez Pe­dro (1910-1989) held the first Con­crete Art ex­hi­bi­tion in Cuba at the School of So­cial Sciences at the Univer­sity of Ha­vana.

Early on, those lead­ing artists fol­low­ing a con­struc­tivist po­etic were also hav­ing a wide in­ter­na­tional pres­ence, one that in­cluded Her­rera’s par­tic­i­pa­tion at the Real­li­ties Nou­velles Sa­lons in Paris from 1946 to 1954, Sold­ev­illa be­ing in­vited to the sa­lon from 1952 to 195620, Wifredo Ar­cay’s (1925-1997) join­ing in 1952 and show­ing on Septem­ber 18 at Ga­lerie Ar­naud, Darié’s in­clu­sion in Some Ar­eas of Re­search ex­hi­bi­tion in May 1951 at Rose Fried Gallery in New York, Martínez Pe­dro’s ac­qui­si­tion and UNESCO award at II Sau Paolo Bi­en­nial in 1953, and many oth­ers.

In Cuba since 1953 jour­nal­ists and art crit­ics had been in­sis­tently com­ment­ing on the wide in­ter­est among young artists in ab­strac­tion as a realm of choice for ex­press­ing them­selves, which went from Tachism, Ab­stract Ex­pres­sion­ism to hard-edged Ab­strac­tion. Vivid re­flec­tions of those artis­tic con­cerns were the works pre­sented at the VI Sa­lon Na­cional de Pin­tura y Es­cul­tura held the same year.

On Oc­to­ber 31 1957, in Mi­ra­mar neigh­bor­hood in Ha­vana, Lezama Lima was in charge of the in­au­gu­ral speech of Color –

Luz, a gallery that Sold­ev­illa and her new ro­man­tic and artis­tic part­ner Pe­dro de Oraá (b. 1931) cre­ated af­ter they re­turned from Venezuela. Es­tab­lished with the ideal of be­com­ing a cul­tural cen­ter that ir­ra­di­ated new artis­tic ideas, not so much as a com­mer­cial space, it quickly moved to the re­cently va­cant lo­cale of Galería Cubana, where Sold­ev­illa and Sánchez had ex­hib­ited the pre­vi­ous year.

Color – Luz be­came the cen­ter of the 10 Pin­tores Con­cre­tos group, some of whose mem­bers were long time col­lab­o­ra­tors with Orí­genes; among them, Martínez Pe­dro, Darié, and Oraá, who was one of the few younger poets in­vited to pub­lish.21

Ex­hib­ited along­side Amelia Peláez and Loló Sold­ev­illa, in a group show of re­li­gious theme at Galería Cubana on March 23, 1956,22

Zilia Sánchez’s work is phrased by Cuban art critic and his­to­rian Gra­ziella Po­golotti as “lim­ited to a del­i­cate jux­ta­po­si­tion of tones.”23 Six decades later it is the same con­no­ta­tion that Ms. El­liot ob­serves, con­cep­tu­ally and for­mally, build­ing upon the linage of con­struc­tivist pic­to­rial struc­tures of her works af­ter Sold­ev­illa and from Peláez, through the use of light and the draw­ing line.

By 1956 Sánchez was start­ing to leave be­hind her color­ful Ray­on­ism com­po­si­tions that re­flected on the Caribbean is­land’s life, also cap­tured by Amelia Pe­laez’s work. She was sim­pli­fy­ing and depu­rat­ing her com­po­si­tions while shift­ing to­ward a monochro­matic aesthetic that the con­struc­tivist Sold­ev­illa oc­ca­sion­ally fa­vored, and build­ing upon the uses of black draw­ing line af­ter Peláez; a con­nec­tion well drawn by the cu­ra­tor’s es­say. The can­vas Azul, Azul (1956) is an ex­am­ple of that type of tran­si­tional work.

The now trans­form­ing pre­vi­ous ex­pres­sion­is­tic lan­guage was built along­side and within the for­mal­ist con­cerns of the sev­eral as­so­ci­a­tions Zilia Sánchez was part of in Cuba, like the Group of Youngest of Thirty24 and Los Once25. The two were in­for­mal groups, in­te­grated by artists in which no pic­to­rial aesthetic po­si­tions were paramount; more rel­e­vant was the in­ter­est in mod­ern paint­ing and political eth­i­cal con­cerns.

In Jan­uary 1955 af­ter split­ting with Lezama Lima as co-editor and fi­nan­cial backer of Orí­genes, the in­tel­lec­tual José Ro­dríguez Feo (1920-1993)26 cre­ated Ci­clón (1955-1959), with Vir­gilio Piñera (1912-1979), a writer and poet and also a dis­senter of the Orí­genes group. Since the first is­sue Ci­clón wel­comed ab­stract art as the cur­rent ex­pres­sion of the newer gen­er­a­tion and, with that, younger in­tel­lec­tu­als and writ­ers like Severo Sar­duy (1937-1993), a long­time friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor of Sánchez.

Af­ter leav­ing Cuba, and a short pe­riod liv­ing be­tween New York and Madrid in which she ex­per­i­mented with ab­stract ma­te­rial paint­ing of thick im­pasto, Sánchez re­cap­tured the di­a­logue with con­struc­tivist pic­to­rial ideals. Back in New York in the sum­mer of 1970, she pre­sented at Sar­duy Gallery Struc­tures and Prints, a one woman show, with her min­i­mal mod­u­lar tridi­men­sional paint­ings.

At Ga­lerie Le­long Diálogos Constructivistas, Ama­zonas (1993) is an ex­am­ple of that type of work done later, while Topología erótica (from the se­ries Ama­zonas), 1968, sim­pli­fies and builds upon the idea. Lu­nar Blanco (1984) is the result of a rad­i­cal pic­to­rial pos­ture of the same prin­ci­ple in which the paint­ing at­tains a full free­stand­ing sculp­tural qual­ity, a Con­crete ab­stract state­ment.

It was Severo Sar­duy, as early as 1956, in Sánchez’s Galería Cubana solo show cat­a­log, who men­tioned for the first time the hid­den na­ture of her work, “the ele­gant mas­ter­ful uses of the black line mov­ing through the color ar­eas” in her bi-di­men­sional paint­ings that at times evoked some flat Sold­ev­illa’s sculp­tures.

The spark for the cre­ation of those unique vol­u­met­ric or­ganic-con­struc­tivist shaped can­vases arose to Zilia Sánchez while in Ha­vana, but came to life in New York with the re­lated art­works of artists like Lee Bon­te­cou, Louise Nevel­son and Don­ald Judd. By 1973, Sar­duy brought at­ten­tion to the sen­sual or­ganic tac­tile qual­ity of Sánchez’ work as the one at­tribute that drove it apart from her con­tem­po­raries.27

Sánchez is able to build a unique sug­ges­tive pic­to­rial ab­stract dis­course in which the fem­i­nine is at its core, as Peláez. The eroti­cism of her forms in­vites the viewer to a new type of sen­so­rial ex­pe­ri­ence with the im­plied fe­male body parts, a re­flec­tion of her queer per­sona and a step fur­ther of Amelia Peláez’ de­pic­tion of her queer world.

In Sánchez’ new coun­try of choice, Puerto Rico, she as­so­ci­ated her­self with the mag­a­zine Carga y Descarga, more or less like Peláez did be­fore with Orí­genes. How­ever, Zilia Sánchez en­gaged in a dy­namic ac­tive role when she un­der­took the com­plete de­sign of the mag­a­zine, in which a con­struc­tivist lan­guage sur­faced, en­hanc­ing and ex­tend­ing those Con­struc­tivist Di­a­logues pre­vi­ously es­tab­lished with the Vanguardia Cubana, but at this time mod­u­lated un­der the in­ter­na­tional cur­rents.

The con­struc­tivist foun­da­tion that ap­peared in Peláez’s work, used in ways that helped ex­press the white­ness in Cuban cul­ture (those clear lines and color com­po­si­tions that Ex­ter once highly praised), was pic­to­ri­ally ex­panded and re­duced by Sold­ev­illa.28 Sánchez later use those lines when she wrote/drew over those white clear sculp­tural ex­pan­sive sur­faces of her paint­ings and calmed with them her Mu­lata mes­tizo roots.

Per­haps those who be­lieve that ab­strac­tion with a con­struc­tivist lan­guage is a way to walk away from the ex­plo­ration of national iden­tity will be chal­lenged while stand­ing in front of Sánchez’s paint­ings, be­cause they are the result of a more com­plex phe­nom­e­non that has been built over the years.

“The hard-edged geo­met­ric com­po­si­tions that emerged in Cuban paint­ing in the 1950s ap­peared to be a rad­i­cal and de­lib­er­ately in­ter­na­tional break with the van­guard’s ear­lier pur­suit of a mod­ern and au­then­tic ex­pres­sion of Cuban national iden­tity in the 1920s to 1940s.”29 While this as­ser­tion by Ms. El­liot has been proved to be right, in re­al­ity it was an or­ganic de­vel­op­ment with timely in­ter­na­tional cur­rents. Those Con­struc­tivist Di­a­logues have their first clear voices as early as the 1920s, when artists in Cuba were en­com­pass­ing in­no­va­tive ways of ex­press­ing their cre­ated in­tel­lects. ƒ

1. At a later time other artists were con­sid­ered.

2. Par­tic­i­pant artists taken from the orig­i­nal cat­a­log ex­hi­bi­tion: Ed­uardo Abela, Rafael Blanco, Gabriel Cas­taño, Car­los En­ríquez, Víc­tor Manuel, An­to­nio Gat­torno, José Hur­tado de Mendoza, Luis López Mén­dez (Venezuela), Ramón Loy, Alice Neel (USA), Re­beca Peinck de Rosado (Mex­ico), Marcelo Po­golotti, Lorenzo Romero Ar­ci­aga, José Se­gura (Spain), Adja Yunkers (Latvia) and Al­berto Sabas. Later ac­counts men­tioned more artists among them Peláez, but it is not real ev­i­dence of her par­tic­i­pa­tion. By Novem­ber 1 she was liv­ing in Paris with a gov­ern­ment fel­low­ship.

3. Martí Casanovas, Fran­cisco Ic­hazo, Jorge Mañach and Juan

Marinello.

4. For more in­for­ma­tion see: Llanes Godoy, Llil­ian, “José Manuel Acosta: ren­o­va­ciones de un vi­sion­ario”. In: Más allá de la crítica, ArteCubano Edi­ciones, Ha­vana, Cuba, 2008, p 173 - 182.

5. He had an in­ten­sive political and in­tel­lec­tual ca­reer for which he be­came a political pris­oner, by 1955 the Cuban Congress awarded him the ti­tle of National Poet.

6. El Lyceum was lo­cated at Calzada & Calle 8, Vedado.

7. Vázquez Díaz, Ramón. Cronología. Amelia Peláez. Una mi­rada

ret­ro­spec­tiva (1928-1966). MNBA. Fun­dación Caixa Gali­cia, 2011, p 37. 8. Car­men Her­rera con­ver­sa­tion with the au­thor, June 2005, New York. 9. La Re­vista Orí­genes y la Vanguardia Cubana, Edi­ciones Turner,

Madrid, Spain, 2000 / De Juan, Ade­laida. La plás­tica en la Re­vista Orí­genes, Galería Lati­noamer­i­cana, Casa de las Améri­cas, Ha­vana, Cuba, June, 1994. cat exh. / Oraá, Pe­dro. “Las afinidades plás­ti­cas de Orí­genes”.

In: Vis­i­ble e In­vis­i­ble, Le­tras Cubanas, Ha­vana, Cuba, 2006, p 76 – 87. 10. The group was in­te­grated by Pe­dro Ál­varez (1922-?), Wifredo Ar­cay, Sal­vador Cor­ratgé (1928-2014), Sandú Darié, Luis Martínez Pe­dro, Al­berto Meno­cal (1928-2004), José Mi­jares (1921-2004), Pe­dro de Oraá, Loló Sold­ev­illa, Rafael Soriano (1920-2015) and José Ros­a­bal

(b. 1935).

11. Loló Sold­ev­illa’s per­sonal diaries, Jan­uary 5, 1953. Pri­vate

col­lec­tion, New York.

12. Idem, Jan­uary 2, 1953. 13. Idem, May 29, 1953.

14. The gallery was lo­cated at Calle 10 No 152 & Calzada Ave, Vedado,

Ha­vana Cuba.

15. His real name was Fran­cisco R. Gar­cía.

16. He was one of the few deal­ers in New York that ex­hib­ited Car­men

Her­rera, [Nov 23- Dec 11] 1965.

17. The ex­hi­bi­tion ran from March 22 to April 8, 1956.

18. El­liot, In­grid W. Be­tween the Real and the In­vis­i­ble. Ga­lerie

Le­long, New York, 2016, p 8.

19. Darié, Ru­ma­nian born, im­mi­grated to Cuba in 1941, be­came a

cit­i­zen in 1947, de­vel­oped in the is­land his en­tire ca­reer.

20. She was per­son­ally in­vited by Michel Se­uphor, a friend and

men­tor. On a let­ter to Ar­cay, Nov 4, 1957.

21. In 1960 José Ros­a­bal be­came Lezama per­sonal as­sis­tant while

work­ing at the Con­sejo Na­cional de Cul­tura.

22. El Tema Reli­gioso en la Pin­tura Cubana. March 23 - 31, 1956. Galería Cubana. Par­tic­i­pants: Abela, Cundo Ber­múdez, Fide­lio Ponce, René Por­to­car­rero, Mar­i­ano Ro­driguez, Emilio Sánchez, Eberto Es­cobedo, Agustín Fernán­dez, Zilia Sánchez, Tomás Marais, Enzo Gallo, Amelia Peláez, Loló Sold­ev­illa and Maria Luisa Ríos.

23. Po­golotti, Gra­ziella. “Pin­tura re­li­giosa.” In: Diario de la Ma­rina, April 3, 1956, p 4. “… Zilia Sánchez se limita a una del­i­cada yux­ta­posi­ción de tonos…” (Zilia Sánchez lim­its her­self to a del­i­cate jux­ta­po­si­tion of tones…)”

24. Car­reño, Mario. La plás­tica cubana de hoy. Es­pa­cio, Sept – Oct,

1952, p 52 -57.

25. Los Once (1953-1955), an in­for­mal group that fol­lowed Ab­stract

Ex­pres­sion­ism, not all the mem­bers work on the genre.

26. Ro­dríguez Feo came from a very af­flu­ent fam­ily.

27. Sar­duy, Severo. Las “To­pografías Eróti­cas”, de Zilia Sánchez.

La Provin­cia, Puerto Rico, April 8, 1973.

28. Martínez, Juan. “Lo Blanco-Cri­ollo as lo Cubano: The Sym­bol­iza­tion of a Cuban National Iden­tity in Mod­ern Paint­ing of the 1940s in Cuba.” In: The Elu­sive Na­tion. In­ter­pre­ta­tion of National Iden­tity, Univer­sity Press of Florida, FL, 2000, p 277-291. 29. El­liot, Idem, p 5.

AMELIA PELÁEZ

Ha­bana Li­bre Mu­ral Sketch, 1956-57 Tem­pera on pa­per / 15¾ x 55 inches © Amelia Peláez Foun­da­tion

Courtesy Ga­lerie Le­long, New York In­stal­la­tion view

Diálogos constructivistas en la vanguardia cubana: Amelia Peláez, Loló Sold­ev­illa and Zilia Sánchez, Ga­lerie Le­long, New York, April 28 – June 25, 2016 Courtesy Ga­lerie Le­long, New York

LOLÓ SOLD­EV­ILLA

Un­ti­tled (The Checker­board), 1955

Ca­sein on wood with metal / 11 x 13 x 2 inches

© Loló Sold­ev­illa / Gar­funkel Col­lec­tion, New York

Sueño as­tral, 1957

Mixed me­dia on wood with wooden com­po­nents 30½ x 39 x 1¼ inches

© Loló Sold­ev­illa / Courtesy Tre­sart, Mi­ami

ZILIA SÁNCHEZ

Lu­nar ne­gro con tat­u­aje, 1975

Acrylic on stretched can­vas / 43¾ x 33 x 8½ inches © Zilia Sánchez

Courtesy Ga­lerie Le­long, New York In­stal­la­tion view

Diálogos constructivistas en la vanguardia cubana: Amelia Peláez, Loló Sold­ev­illa and Zilia Sánchez, Ga­lerie Le­long, New York, April 28 – June 25, 2016 Courtesy Ga­lerie Le­long, New York

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