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Wilfredo Lam, painterWilfredo Lam
1902 - 1982

Wifredo Oscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla was born December 8, 1902, in Sagua la Grande, Cuba. In 1916, his family moved to Havana, where he attended the Escuela de Bellas Artes. During the early 1920s, he exhibited at the Salón de la Asociación de Pintores y Escultores in Havana. In 1923, Lam moved to Madrid, where he studied at the studio of Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor, the Director of the Museo del Prado (and a teacher of Salvador Dalí). In 1929, Lam married Eva Piriz, who died of tuberculosis two years later, as did their young son. This tragic event may have contributed to the dark and brooding appearance of much of Lam’s later work.

In the early 1930s, the effects of Surrealism were evident in Lam’s work, as was the influence of Henri Matisse and possibly Joaquín Torres-García. In 1936, a traveling exhibition of the work of Pablo Picasso shown in Barcelona, Bilbao, and Madrid proved inspirational to Lam both artistically and politically. He moved to Paris in 1938, where Picasso took him under his wing and encouraged his interest in African art and primitive masks. During that year, he also traveled to Mexico, where he stayed with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Lam’s own multicultural heritage (as the son of a Chinese father and a mother of mixed African, Indian, and European descent) and his involvement with Santería, a religion rooted in African culture, would soon become integral to his work. By the late 1930s, Lam was associated with the Surrealists. He had his first solo show at the Galerie Pierre Loeb in Paris in 1939, and his work was exhibited with Picasso’s at the Perls Galleries, New York. -- from his bio on the Guggenheim site

Wilfredo Lam was influenced by Carl Jung as part of his interactions with the surrealists:

By the late 1930s, Lam was associated with the Surrealists. He had his first solo show at the Galerie Pierre Loeb in Paris in 1939, and his work was exhibited with Picasso’s at the Perls Galleries, New York. During World War II, Lam spent most of his time in the Caribbean, along with Claude Lévi-Strauus, André Masson, and André Breton, whose poem “Fata Morgana” Lam illustrated in 1940. Lam eventually made his way back to Havana in 1941. His first year in Cuba marked a watershed in his artistic development; he was introduced to the theories of Carl Jung, and by the end of 1942 he had begun his powerful painting Jungle. Lam’s exploration of mythic images paralleled that of his contemporaries in New York, the Abstract Expressionists, though Lam used specific subject matter. Lam created his own style by fusing Surrealism and Cubism with the spirit and forms of the Caribbean.


Recuerdos de la Cuba de nuestra niñez  8/20/2018 Alberto Lescay: "Historia de Wifredo Lam contada por su hijo."

Wifredo Lam: la cosecha cubana más universal  11/30/2017 Librinsula: "Lo polémico en la clasificación de su quehacer lo lleva a los corredores del MoMA. Wifredo Lam posee una obra catalogada como realismo mágico latinoamericano en la plástica; tanto como definió Alejo Carpentier en la literatura, a quien le ilustró una de las ediciones de “El reino de este mundo”. Lam, el más universal de los pintores cubanos, está presente en museos importantes del mundo y en subastas de obras latinoamericanas."

Wifredo Lam y su huella en Villa Clara  7/7/2017 Cuba Debate: "Wifredo Lam, el más universal de los pintores cubanos, llevó el mestizaje a su máxima expresión en la pintura. Sus obras son una mezcla de elementos de origen africano, chino y cubano. Este artista, cuyas obras me han agradado desde que era niño, nació en un pequeño barrio de Sagua la Grande, al norte de la provincia de Villa Clara."

Wifredo Lam: the unlikely comeback of the Cuban Picasso  8/31/2016 Telegraph, UK: "Yet Lam’s attitude to this world of ancestral belief remained highly ambivalent. His principle informant on Afro-Cuban culture wasn’t his godmother, the Santeria priestess, but Lydia Cabrera, an upper-class, white anthropologist. In Haiti, he attended a voodoo trance ceremony – not as a “local” who had observed similar rituals as a child, but as part of a group of European intellectuals, including Breton. “A lot of people have assumed we lived in a Santeria environment,” says Eskil Lam. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We had the most atheist upbringing you can imagine. My father lost his faith in any kind of religion in the late Twenties and he never deviated from that.”"

Works by Cuban Painter Wifredo Lam on Display in Brazil  6/7/2015 Radio Rebelde: "“The spirit of creation” is the name of the largest retrospective exhibition of works by Cuban painter Wifredo Lam ever presented in Brazil, now at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. The exhibition’s curator, Roberto Cobas, said that it includes works by Lam from 1938-1976, and that they will be shown at the Niemeyer Museum until September 13, when it will travel to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the Cubasi Web site reported on Monday."

Tangled roots  4/10/2015 Harvard Gazette: "These issues — specifically, Cuba’s history with Africa and slavery — were central to Grupo Antillano, whose foundational manifesto (displayed at the gallery in both Spanish and English) discusses the importance of the African diaspora, racism, and colonialism in Cuban art. The multi-ethnic and mixed-gender group originally converged in 1978 around the work of Wifredo Lam, a Cuban surrealist who made his name in Paris before returning to his home country. It dispersed in 1985, three years after Lam’s death, to be largely erased from official accounts of Cuba’s culture."

WILFREDO LAM: Painter, a Cuban Universal * WILFREDO LAM, PINTOR, un Cubano Universal.  8/13/2013 The Cuban History: "He eventually made his way back to Cuba in 1941. It was there that he was introduced to the theories of Carl Jung, and by the end of 1942 he had begun his powerful painting, The Jungle."

Rivera painting fails to sell at auction, but Wilfredo Lam makes $4.56M  5/24/2012 Auction News 

Cuba focuses on exporting its art  12/29/2002 Fresno Bee: "The gray-haired art professor is among dozens of Cuban artists who are flourishing as the government promotes art abroad and as economic reforms allow artists more freedom to market their work. They also are benefiting from an increased interest in Cuban art by American collectors. The great Cuban modernists -- Wilfredo Lam, Mariano Rodriguez and Amelia Palaez del Casal -- long have been internationally recognized. Their work is found in museums worldwide. But increasingly, the island's newer art is getting international attention, with the United States its biggest market."

Afro-Cuban artist displays a splashing show for Lam  12/28/2002 South African Broadcasting Corp: "Afro-Cuban artist Manuel Mendive has painted the faces and torsos of 80 Cuban dancers for a performance at a sculpture exhibition at Cuba's Museum of Fine Arts commemorating the centennial of the birth of Afro-Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam. Many of the 80 dancers, who performed in honour of the exhibition wore masks studded with sea shells and carried fish and pails of sea water as they danced to African rhythms at the Havana waterfront sea-wall, the Malecon." - the page features a link to Mendive's page on AfroCubaWeb.

Exposición Lam en Martinica  6/7/2002 Cultura 

Centenario de Wilfredo Lam  2/22/2002 Mujeres 

Centro Wifredo Lam, 12/9/02-1/8/03

Exposicion dedicada al centenario del nacimiento de Wilfredo Lam. Mas de 50 obras de pintura, dibujos y collages del Museo Nacional, Casa de las Americas, coleccion Castillo-Vazquez y Galeria La Acacia. Desde sus inicios academicos, el temprano modernismo en España, su periodo en Paris, su redescubrimiento de Cuba en los 40 asi que piezas de los años 50.

Centro Wifredo Lam
Plaza de la Catedral, Habana Vieja
desde el 9 de diciembre 2002 hasta el 8 de enero '03
Apertura: de dia 9am-5pm


Centenario Lamtop

Centenario Wilfredo Lam, Cubarte

Homenaje a Wifredo Lam en Sagua la Grande
Programación por el Centenario de Wifredo Lam
Crean en Cuba Comité Gestor por el Centenario del Pintor Wifredo Lam
Comenzó este sábado programa por centenario de Wifredo Lam
Lam en el Museo Dapper.


Guia al Centenario


Guggenheim Collection - Artist - Lam - Biography

Programación por el Centenario de Wifredo Lam

Abril del 2002
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam -Fototeca de Cuba
Panel: La jungla desde la antropología: Fernando Ortiz, el concepto de transculturación y la obra de Wifredo Lam.

Mayo del 2002
Centro de Antropología, Academia de Ciencias

Cancelación de sellos postales con obras de Wifredo Lam
Diciembre del 2002
Ministerio de Comunicaciones

Exposición de Wifredo Lam Obras de las colecciones del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Castillo Vázquez, e instituciones extranjeras 8 de diciembre del 2002 Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam- Museo Nacional

Seminario Internacional sobre la figura de Wifredo Lam Diciembre del 2002 Teatro del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Presentación del libro Wifredo Lam en las colecciones cubanas y de la antología Wifredo Lam: La cosecha de un brujo. Diciembre Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam

Presentación del libro Visiones de Lam Fundación Fernando Ortíz

Exposición de Wifredo Lam con obras del Museo Nacional Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Inauguración del monumento a Wifredo Lam del artista cubano Alberto Lescay


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