A forgotten lady

/ 23 November, 2014

Lucía Victoria Bacardí y Cape (Santiago de Cuba, 1893 – Miami, 1988)


Lucía Victoria, the daughter of Emilio Bacardí Moreau and Elvira Cape, (…) entered into the history of Cuban art with the diminutive relatives and friends called her. Mimín, (…) became known in Havana when, in 1915, she entered the contest called by the National Arts and Letters Academy, in which she received the first prize. Her participation then was with a life-size sculpture of Hatuey and a group of three pieces entitled Cabezas del calvario (Calvary Heads).

(…) Up to what I know, Mimín was the first that, within Cuban sculpture, put her attention on that character symbolizing the heroic opposition of the natives of the island to foreign occupation. (…)

But, to say the truth, the interest of the piece exceeds the use the author made of the legend immortalizing the character. Conceived as a group, in which the focus of attention concentrates on the marked traits of the face, what attracts in it is how it was made, the way in which, after molding the figure and the trunk in mud, she completed the representation resorting to real materials like the rope with which she tied the body and the sticks on the mud imitating the bonfire, something that, in more recent times, would have been common in an arte povera artist. (…)

Cabezas del calvario, for its part, exhibits naturalism very close to Rodin’s, thus moving forward an expressive concept in Cuban sculpture which had nothing similar to it in a long time. (…)

While being in Villa Elvira she made Fransica1, a study of a common girl whose entire figure she portrayed with infinite tenderness.  (…) With this sculpture (…) she won in 1916 a second award in the contest at the National Academy of Arts and Letters, in which a less daring jury than the former one declared the first place not awarded.

(…) Fransica, particularly, is a sculpture with merits enough to be highlighted in the history of this artistic expression but, unfortunately, has remained forgotten in its premises in Santiago, just as happens with its author, left aside, as has been the case with not a few women, and not a few artists, who decided to work away from the capital, in their native “hamlets.”

(…) Fortunately, many of her works have been preserved in the Bacardí Museum in Santiago de Cuba—in spite of the precarious situation this institution now offers—, as a statement of her advanced mentality, her exceptional talent and, above all, the sincerity of her art.


  1. The author wrote Fransica on the base of the figure, alluding to the way in which the represented person pronounced her name. Some authors have used Francisca.

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