Cundo Bermúdez. Tradition & Modernity

/ 23 November, 2014

Cundo Bermúdez (Havana, 1914-Miami, 2008), whose centennial is being celebrated in the National Fine Arts Museum in Havana among the great cultural events in 2014, undoubtedly was one of the great figures in the Havana Painting School.

A golden cycle of Cuban plastic arts, which since the forties caused admiration and respect in spectators and critics of all latitudes, closed with him.

He was part of the second generation of avant-garde painters, that emerging in the Second National Painting and Sculpture Salon in 1938.  (…)

The reputation of his work, however, is definitively interrelated to his love for topics from urban tradition and common people. (…)

In the contemporary recreation of popular scenes like La barbería (The Barber’s Shop, MoMa collection), El billar (The Billiards, 1942, Isaac Lif and family collection) and Pareja en el parque (Couple in the Park, Alicia Felipe Camacho collection), the artist found the fundamental motifs of his painting, lifting his characters to the category of Cuban archetypes. (…)

In the second lustrum of the fifties, Cundo reaffirmed his mastery of color with the use of monochromatism and the stylization of the human figure, closer to the prevailing abstract styles. (…)

In the early seventies, Cundo began to work on pieces where the human figure is immersed in total solitude, secluded in inner environments with an overwhelming atmosphere of total silence, heaped to the brim with a multitude of objects a baroque environment creates. The figures are concentrated on themselves, absorbed in their meditation. (…)

These works reflect the distant relationship of the artist with a reality he is unable to emotionally connect. (…)

The Museum of Fine Arts in Havana celebrated the centennial of the maestro with the exhibition Cundo Bermúdez: Pasión y lucidez (Cundo Bermúdez: Passion and Lucidity, August-October, 2014), gathering 25 oil, tempera and watercolor pieces.

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