“THIS DAY IN CUBAN HISTORY…. – Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982)”

Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982), Cuban painter born in Sagua la Grande of Chinese and Black parents.  His contact with African, Chinese, and Spanish culture in his birthplace was recreated in such paintings as La Jungla where Western details combined with exotic and mystic tones of Africa and China.  He studied in the Academia de San Alejandro and held several exhibitions in Havana in 1920-1923, showing such works as Puente del Castillo del Príncipe, Mediodía and Quinta de los Molinos.  He moved to Spain in 1926 and in1936 enlisted on the loyalist side in the Civil War.  He went to Paris in 1938 and returned in 1942 to Cuba, where he painted La Jungla and La Silla (both 1943).  After several trips to New York and Paris he finally settled in Paris in 1952.  In 1951 he had won first prize in the Havana national exhibition, and in 1953 he won Italy’s Lissone prize.  He exhibited in Paris, Havana (1955), Caracas, and in Switzerland.  In 1960 he established a studio in Italy.  His last visit to Cuba was in 1980. He died in Paris on September 12, 1982.  He was the only Cuban represented at New York’s Latin American Art exhibition of 1987.

* Jaime Suchlicki is Director of the Cuban Studies Institute, CSI, a non-profit research group in Coral Gables, FL. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro & Beyond, now in its 5th edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to the Rise of the PAN, 2nd edition, and of the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.