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Exhibitions - Museum Quality Artworks In Exhibition at <i>Cernuda</i> Arte: René Portocarrero, <i>Viñales Valley, Landscape</i>, 1944  
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Museum Quality Artworks In Exhibition at Cernuda Arte: René Portocarrero, Viñales Valley, Landscape, 1944
 
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    Cuban Art


    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO (1912 – 1985)
    Viñales Valley, Landscape
    (Valle de Viñales, Paisaje), 1944
    oil on canvas
    31 x 23 ½ inches

    Provenance:
    Félix Pita Rodríguez Collection, Havana, Cuba.

    Exhibited (Paisaje) in René Portocarrero,
    Exposición Retrospectiva,

    Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba, July, 1967,
    and listed in the corresponding museum catalog, number 45.

    Illustrated in the book PORTOCARRERO,
    Ramón Vázquez Díaz,
    Fundación Arte Cubano, Artes Gráficas Palermo,
    Madrid, 2015, page 126.

    Illustrated in the catalog IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS,
    Volume Eighteen, Cernuda
    Arte,
    Coral Gables, Florida, 2021, page 55.




    Cuban Art






    Cuban Art
    Born in Havana in 1912, René Portocarrero
    was a leading artist of the 20th Century
    Modern Art Movement in Cuba with a
    successful career and a distinguished
    legacy. During his lifetime, the artist
    participated in over one hundred
    exhibitions at major museums, institutions,
    and galleries in the Americas and Europe.
    Portocarrero developed an aptitude for the
    arts at a young age, first submitting his
    drawings to the annual exhibition at the
    Salón de Bellas Artes at age eleven.
    The artist briefly studied at the San
    Alejandro Academy in Havana, and later
    expanded his horizons and inspirations
    by traveling through Europe, Mexico,
    the United States, and Haiti. During
    the 1940s, the artist developed a unique style
    in which the bold lines of a draftsman
    interact with dynamic colors, vibrant
    textures and graceful brushwork to create
    surrealistic and baroque pieces.



    Cuban Art
    The chameleonic Portocarrero moved
    through several themes and series
    throughout his long career.
    In 1944, Portocarrero dedicated himself
    to the production of rural landscapes,
    rendered with his singular and modern
    style. The genesis of this guajiro
    landscape
    series was a visit to
    the Valley of Viñales in the province
    of Pinar del Río, where he experienced
    “an ecstasy at the natural beauty.”
    The artist committed himself to expressing
    his epiphany through painting. The result
    was a remarkable suite of bucolic scenes,
    a dramatic departure from his previous
    series of urban landscapes of Havana,
    aristocratic interiors, and religious
    compositions. Among these exceptional works
    is the 1944 oil on canvas masterpiece,
    Viñales Valley, Landscape, a sublime
    and subjective window into Portocarrero’s
    Cuba. The work would go on to be included
    in his solo retrospective at the National Museum
    of Fine Arts in Havana, and be illustrated
    in the definitive book on the artist.


    Cuban Art

    Cuban Art






    Cuban Art
    Portocarrero’s obsessive production
    of landscape paintings in 1944 speaks
    to the strength of his inspiration.
    Viñales Valley, Landscape (1944),
    a jewel among the series, reflects the artist’s
    uninhibited approach to the subject.
    Landscape painting had been a prominent
    tradition in Cuba since the mid-19th
    century. The genre was revitalized
    in the 20th century by the modernist
    Portocarrero. Throughout the series,
    he alternated pictorial languages,
    incorporating baroque ornamentation,
    fauvist brushstrokes, the flattened
    perspectives of the French naïve,
    and the vigor of expressionism.
    Portocarrero was wild in his production,
    full of energy, enthusiasm, and the desire
    to experiment. The guajiro landscapes
    were not done with the discipline
    of routine. Rather, they explore the full
    artistic potential of the canvas, and include
    some of Portocarrero's strongest painted works.
    Among these, most certainly, is the visionary
    Viñales Valley, Landscape, an ambitious
    encapsulation of the artist’s influences,
    inspirations, and painterly ability.








    Cuban Art


    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO
    The Happy Family
    (La Familia Feliz), 1944
    oil on board
    34 ½ x 29 ¼ inches

    Private Collection, Miami, FL
    NOT AVAILABLE




    Cuban Art


    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO
    Viñales Valley
    (Valle de Viñales), 1944
    oil on canvas
    16 ¼ x 14 ¼ inches

    Private Collection, West Palm Beach, FL
    NOT AVAILABLE

    Illustrated in IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS, Volume Fifteen, Cernuda Arte,
    Coral Gables, Florida, November 2017, pg. 54.






    Cuban Art

    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO
    Landscape and Hut
    (Paisaje y Bohio), 1944
    oil on board
    20 x 24 inches

    Private Collection, Miami Beach, FL
    NOT AVAILABLE

    Illustrated in IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS, Volume Fourteen, Cernuda Arte,
    Coral Gables, FL, page 56.





    Cuban Art

    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO
    Landscape
    (Paisaje), 1944
    oil on board
    31 x 35 inches

    Private Collection, Coral Gables, FL
    NOT AVAILABLE

    Illustrated in IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS, Volume Fifteen, Cernuda Arte,
    Coral Gables, Florida, November 2017, pg. 52.

    Exhibited at René Portocarrero Exposición Retrospectiva,
    National Museum, Havana, Cuba, July 1967, lot 47.





    Cuban Art


    1944, when Viñales Valley, Landscape was executed,

    was a landmark year in Portocarrero’s career.

    In January, the seminal book Cuban Painting of Today,

    written by renowned critic and curator, José Goméz-Sicre,

    sees its first publication. The book contains illustrations

    of five artworks by Portocarrero. The following month,

    the University of Havana exhibits the solo show, Portocarrero,

    to major critical success. Among the judges

    of this show was critic, journalist, and poet, Félix Pita Rodríguez,

    who would later become owner of this artwork.





    Cuban Art
    Front cover and spine of the publication PORTOCARRERO,
    Ramón Vázquez Díaz, Fundación Arte Cubano, Artes Gráficas Palermo,
    Madrid 2015, wherein the work is illustrated.


    Cuban Art
    Page 126 of the publication PORTOCARRERO,
    Ramón Vázquez Díaz, Fundación Arte Cubano, Artes Gráficas Palermo,
    Madrid 2015.






    Cuban Art
    This same year, the artist exhibits his works
    in New York at the prestigious Julien Levy
    Gallery, one of the world’s premier
    showcases for the international
    Avant-Garde. Also in 1944, Portocarrero
    is included in the groundbreaking show
    Modern Cuban Painters at the Museum
    of Modern Art (MoMA), organized
    by Alfred Barr, exhibiting seven works.
    This show then traveled to 12 museums
    across the United States, including
    the National Gallery in Washington D.C.,
    and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
    under the title Cuban Painting Today.
    The latter shows would be among the most
    important of his lifetime, and helped
    establish his profile as truly international.
    Portocarrero’s work would again feature
    at the MoMA as part of their 1945
    show Recent Acquisitions in Paintings
    and Sculpture,
    and in 1998's Drawing
    in Latin America.




    Cuban Art

    Cuban Art
    RENÉ PORTOCARRERO
    Landscape
    (Paisaje), 1944
    oil on board
    41 ⅛ x 30 ⅞ inches

    Ramón and Nercys Cernuda Collection, Miami, FL
    NOT AVAILABLE

    Cuban Art



    René Portocarrero went on to exhibit at
    the prestigious Pan American Union
    (Organization of American States Museum)
    in Washington, D.C. in 1946, and at
    Knoedler Gallery in New York City
    in 1947. During the 1950s, he presented his
    work at the Musée National d’Art Moderne,
    in Paris, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston,
    Dallas Museum of Arts, and Carnegie
    Museums in Pittsburgh. He participated
    in various editions of the Biennale
    in Sao Paulo, Brazil. By 1966, Portocarrero
    achieved major acclaim when selected
    to exhibit a one-person show at the 33rd
    Edition of the Venice Biennale in Italy.




    Cuban Art

    In 1967, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana held a major exposition,

    René Portocarrero. Exposición Retrospectiva, dedicated to three decades

    of the artist’s production. More than 300 paintings, drawings, and ceramics

    were exhibited in this sprawling retrospective, hosted by the country’s

    most important institution of the arts. Exposición Retrospectiva remains

    the most significant solo show of Portocarrero’s career.

    The exceptional Viñales Valley, Landscape (1944)

    was amongst the works selected for the show, and appears illustrated

    in the corresponding museum catalog, number 45.

    Overall, eight works from the guajiro landscape series were included,

    attesting to their place within the artist’s oeuvre.





    Cuban Art

    Front cover of the museum catalog for
    René Portocarrero, Exposición Retrospectiva,
    Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba, July, 1967,
    wherein the work was exhibited as Paisaje, no. 45.





    Cuban Art

    List of works from the museum catalog for
    René Portocarrero, Exposición Retrospectiva,
    Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba, July, 1967,
    wherein the work was exhibited as Paisaje, no. 45.





    Cuban Art

    Front cover of the catalog IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS,
    Volume Eighteen, Cernuda
    Arte, Coral Gables
    Florida, 2021, wherein the work is illustrated.



    Cuban Art

    Page 55 of the catalog IMPORTANT CUBAN ARTWORKS,
    Volume Eighteen, Cernuda
    Arte, Coral Gables
    Florida, 2021, featuring an illustration of the work.



    Cuban Art
    Geopolitical circumstances of the Cold War limited the artist’s ability to travel.

    Following the mid-1960s, Portocarrero continued to exhibit in Eastern Europe

    and Latin America, and on occasion participated in exhibitions in the U.S.,

    including a show at the Organization of the American States Museum (AMA)

    in Washington, D.C in 1974 and a one-person exhibition at The Signs Gallery

    in New York in 1982. René Portocarrero died in Havana in 1985.

    In recent years, his artworks have been the subject of an exciting revival.

    His works have been included in exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem,

    the Queens Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio in New York,

    and at the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Florida, among others.


     
     
     
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