• Latin American Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 2222

    Latin American Sale

    17 - 18 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 7

    Victor Manuel (Cuban 1897-1969)


    Price Realised  


    Victor Manuel (Cuban 1897-1969)
    signed 'VICTOR MANUEL' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm.)

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    This work is sold with a certificate of authenticity from the Fundación Arte Cubano signed by José Veigas Zamora and Ramón Vázquez Díaz dated 18 September 2009.

    In Carnaval, the artist's composition is a festive display of revelers at the yearly celebration of the many carnavales held in Cuba--the most famous one being held in the city of Santiago in the island's eastern end. The women's skirts hint at the syncopated mood of the lively scene and the twinkling lights above the dancers' heads tell us that this merrymaking will last all night. Víctor Manuel's ouvre is rich with numerous portraits of guajiras or gitanas for which he gained critical success. Compositions depicting the crowd or a large group of people are rare and indicate a particular departure for the artist as he explores Cuban folk customs and traditions in a thoroughly modernist language.

    "The vanguardia painter who most consistently recreated a gentle and peaceful view of the Cuban countryside and its people was Víctor Manuel," Juan Martínez has said of the artist who "simplified the appearance of the Cuban rural environment to evoke stability and timelessness. Likewise he stylized his figures to typify an ideal of simplicity, passivity, and sensuality." Throughout his extensive artistic production the artist evokes Cuba as an Eden--a tropical paradise where people feel a passion for life and live it to its fullest in their daily lives or great celebrations such as the yearly carnaval.

    Víctor Manuel was born in Havana in 1897 and began art studies at the age of twelve although he had been drawing and painting from early childhood. At the San Alejandro Academy he studied with Leopoldo Romañach. Traveling to Paris in the 1925, the artist would return to Havana in 1927 and show his work at the Association of Painters and Sculptors which had been founded in 1915 to showcase local talent in the nation's capital. Víctor Manuel and his colleague Antonio Gattorno, are considered the first artists to introduce the pictorial ideas of Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. The late twenties marks the first stage or as Martínez describes, "the embryonic period" of the development of modern art in Cuba when artists began to reject the academic theories and practices and were drawn to the aesthetic advancements emanating from Europe--especially Paris.


    Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 22 May 1986, lot 119 (illustrated).
    Acquired from the above.
    Private collection, Miami.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.