How the Surrealist Movement Shaped the Course of Art History
Robert Gumbiner Foundation Collection
A major early 20th-century painter, Wifredo Lam fused elements of Cubism and Surrealism with African culture in paintings that were exhibited alongside those of Pablo Picasso and other Cubists and Fauvists. A native Cuban, Lam hailed from Chinese, European, Indian, and mixed-African descent, and he was deeply influenced by African spiritual practices such as Santeria. He studied in Spain under the same teacher as Salvador Dalí and became a friend of Picasso after moving to Paris in 1938. After returning to Havana in 1941, Lam began producing paintings that were dominated by hybridized human-animal-vegetal figures. There he produced his most famous work, The Jungle (1943), which depicted four grotesque figures with mask-like faces emerging from dense vegetation, and has drawn comparisons with Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica (1937).
Cuban, 1902-1982, Sagua La Grande, Cuba, based in Cuba