The Sevilla series by artist Servando Cabrera Moreno exhibits in Cuba for the first time

Oil paintings that Cuban painter Servando Cabrera Moreno (Havana, 1923-1981) - one of the most original and controversial figures within the country’s visual arts - dedicated to the...

Yanelis Abreu
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2008-05-28

Oil paintings that Cuban painter Servando Cabrera Moreno (Havana, 1923-1981) - one of the most original and controversial figures within the country’s visual arts - dedicated to the city of Seville, are being exhibited for the first time as a series, in the Museo Biblioteca that bears his name, an institution that researches, exhibits and promotes the artist’s work and collections.
According to his personal notebooks, Servando planned, until the year 2014, a series of titles for works dedicated to this city located in the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Todos los recuerdos de Sevilla, would have been the name of the painting foreseen for the year 2008, and which, in his absence, is the title of the exhibition that brings together some of the oil paintings made from 1970 on. The sample also includes posters, flowerpot holders and other folk art objects from the region that made up part of the artist’s personal collection.
The ten oils that occupy the rooms on the second floor show a very stylized imagination where torsos and other human fragments are joined in loving attitudes. The compact and infinite volumes of Saludos eternos para Sevilla (1970), Sevilla y el tiempo (1972), Otra vez Sevilla (1973), ¡Y Sevilla! (1974), Sevilla siempre Sevilla (1976), Cante para Sevilla (1977), Vuelve Sevilla (1978), Sevilla en el horizonte (1979), Arenal de Sevilla (1980) and La soledad and Sevilla (1981) wrestle between the power of the nude bodies, the smoothness of the lines that make them up and the delicate touch in the treatment of color and the transparencies of the flesh. The couples, represented in different shades of blue, green, yellow, sepia and white are inscribed within the artist’s well-known cycle of erotic painting.
The collection shows an intrinsic coherence that is expressed through the exaltation of the human figure and the strength of its monumental curves, measured entirely by the sensuality of a vital and refined spirit.
At the end of the ground floor, another exhibition entitled La captura de las voces, brings together silk screens and drawings made by the brothers Antonio and Carlos Saura, together with several photographs that illustrate the friendship that linked them with the Cuban. This symbolic reunion, in Havana, of three important Spanish-American art creators recalls that year of 1966 when Saura, the first exhibition of Antonia Saura, was inaugurated in Havana in the Casa de las Américas.
These simultaneous exhibitions are part of the tribute organized by the institution to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the artist’s birth. The celebrations, which include other exhibitions with different curatorial proposals, several conferences and theoretical events, will last until May 2009.
Servando Cabrera Moreno graduated from the San Alejandro Fine Arts Academy in 1942 and in order to broaden his artistic knowledge he traveled to the United States in 1946 and enrolled in a course at the New York Art Students League. There, he discovered Pablo Picasso, who would become, according to statements by the artist, one of the greatest influences in his work. Three years later, he travels to several European countries, where he becomes familiar with the works of Juan Miró and Paul Klee who leave an imprint on his brief but intense experience with abstract works, the results of which he exhibits in Spain and France. In later periods, he associates with Tapies, Saura and Oteiza, in an open and direct relationship with contemporary Spanish art. Exchanges took place that marked successive modifications in his way of painting and in the internal development of his work.
The works of the great cycle of epic painting appear in 1959. His figures of militia and peasants became slowly adjusted to the reality of the moment and reflected in a special way the revolutionary epic. Famous paintings such as Milicias Campesinas (1961) and Territorio (1963), among so many others, date from this period.
*The author is a Cubanow staff member
*Translated by Karen López
*English revised by Susana Hurlich

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