Period: The Vanguard
1904 - 1986
Guajirito, ca. 1946
mixed media on cardboard
16 x 12 inches
Mirta Cerra Herrera was born in Bejucal, Havana on April 23, 1904. She studied at the Academy of Painting and Sculpture at San Alejandro until 1934 and obtained, via selective committee review, a scholarship to study abroad and perfect her studies at the Art Students League of New York in 1935. She studied engraving with professor and engraver Henry Stembert, and later undertook a career as an avant-garde designer and illustrator.
The catalog for her 1950 exhibit at The New School in New York included the following comment from art critic José Gomez Sicre: “Mirta Cerra has progressed very cautiously, step by step. For a long time she followed Impressionism, until she gradually turned her attention to more solid forms. She has also studied Cézanne and Post-Impressionism, and has shown interest in the possibilities of Cubism. These experiences have matured her. She ignores objective reality in order to investigate the purely artistic form.”
Cerra’s first personal exhibition opened at the Lyceum Lawn Tennis Club in Havana, in August of 1943. She also participated in national and international expositions, among these: the Salons of the Circle of Fine Arts, Three Hundred Years of Art in Cuba (celebrated at the University of Havana in 1940), the Second Ibero-American Reunion of the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic, the Society of Graphic Artists in Philadelphia, the Second National Salon of painting and sculpture , sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Classic and Modern Art celebrated at the Municipal Building of Havana, the Vermay Salon, the Exposition of Painting and Sculpture at the Community House, and the Escobar Salon.
Her awards included: Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals for her sculptural work and a Bronze Medal for her paintings. Cerra’s paintings are included in the collection of the National Museum in Havana. The artist died in Havana on September 26, 1986.
José Gomez Sicre: Mirta Cerra cat. The New School, New York, 1950.in Veigas, J., et al, eds. Memoria, Cuban Art of the Twentieth Century. 1st ed. Los Angeles, CA: California International Arts Foundation, 2002.