René Portocarrero (Cuba 02/24/1912 - Cuba 04/07/1985)


About

Portocarrero was a Cuban artist recognised internationally for his achievements.
He began his artistic education at the San Alejandro Academy, but left early and is hence considered 'self taught'. He put on his first exhibition in 1934, at the Havana Lyceum, beginning a long and fruitful career which included a 1937 collaboration with Mariano Rodríguez and work as a 'free studies' teacher of painting and sculpture. After travels in Haiti, Europe and the United States he gave his first show to an overseas audience at Julien Levy's gallery in New York City in 1945.
In 1950 he worked with Wifredo Lam, Mariano, Martínez Pedro and Amelia Paláez in the village of Santiago de Las Vegas, near Havana. In 1961 he had meetings with Fidel Castro in the José Martí National Library where they discussed culture. René received lessons in painting from Nicolás Guillén Landrián. In 1977 he worked for the Japan Women's Association. In 1979 he worked for UNESCO and AIAP.
As well as a painter and sculptor, Portocarrero worked as a ceramicist, scenic designer and book illustrator, publishing his own Las Máscaras (The Masks) in 1935 and El Sueño (The Dream) in 1939. He was also a muralist, producing public artworks for the Havana Prison, a church in Bauta, Cuba, the Cuban National Hospital, the Cuban National Theatre and the Hotel Habana Libre.
His artworks form part of the permanent collections of galleries in Argentina (Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires), Brazil (Museums of Modern Art, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), Canada (National Gallery, Ottawa), France (Modern Arts, Paris), Peru (Instituto de Arte Contemporaneo, Lima), the United States (Museums of Modern Art, New York and San Francisco; Milwaukee Art Center; Union Panamericana, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Art Museum, Indianapolis), Uruguay (Bellas Artes, Montevideo) and Venezuela (Bellas Artes, Caracas), as well as his native Cuba (Museo Nacional, Havana).