This work is sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and dated 8/16/08.
Cundo Bermúdez is the only surviving member of the "escuela de La Habana" painters, a term coined by the art critics Guy Pérez Cisneros and José Gómez Sicre. These artists (Portocarrero, Mariano, Carreño, Martínez Pedro and Felipe Orlando) who came of age in the late 1930s are considered the second generation of avant-garde painters in Cuba. Their easel pictures are generally modest in size; their subject matter is abundant in interior scenes and still-lifes.
From the start of his career, Cundo's painting has been true to itself, consisting of a variation of the human figure, specifically the female. Mirándose al espejo belongs to Cundo's second stylistic phase, which lasted from the 1950s to circa 1967. Here the earlier volumetric quality of his forms is transformed into flatness, a deliberate stylization defines the outline of his figures and his palette is controlled and subdued, consisting of five colors (in other works from this period acidic colors also predominate). The subject depicts a woman looking at herself in a mirror--an abundant one in Western painting from the Renaissance to Picasso--which evokes both beauty and vanity. Mirándose al espejo represents a woman encountering her mirror image, which seems to be her mysterious other self. Both faces in Mirándose al espejo are minimally defined, yet they fully express a melancholic and even dreamy quality. The double image of the woman is framed within juxtaposed chromatic planes consisting of blue and purple, while brown fills in the body, white, green, blue and red define the dress and exotic head gear. All throughout the paint is applied opaquely and flat, which on the burlap surface creates in parts a mosaic-like quality. The work's simplicity and elegance brings to mind the paintings of Bermúdez' favorite Cubist, Juan Gris.
Painted in 1959, the year the Cuban Revolution achieved power, Mirándose al espejo does not reflect social turmoil, but rather a timeless world of serenity and beauty.
Alejandro Anreus, Ph.D.