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Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-1982)


Also known as:  Lam, Wilfredo

Birth Place: Sagua la Grande (Villa Clara, Cuba)

Wifredo Lam was born as Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla on December 8, 1902 and died September 11, 1982. He was a well-traveled artist with a constantly changing medium and a gift for memorable images.

Wifredo Lam was a well-known Cuban artist with extensive experience in sculpting, painting and as a draughtsman. His sculpture was influenced by African culture and art, while early paintings were inspired by the modern Spanish realist traditions. His paintings eventually evolved to simpler and more decorative pieces that continued to maintain strong, insightful images even as his practices evolved.

Early works included "Landscape of Las Ventas," which was completed in 1926–1927, and a fascinating sculpture titled "The Jungle", which was completed in 1944. It is interesting to note that many of his later pieces were often darker and presented with associations of witchcraft or violence.

Near the end of his career, Wifredo Lam's sculptures frequently consisted of ceramics and metal castings and an occasional similarity to many of his earlier, darker paintings. It is believed that he was often inspired by his friendships with Picasso and Asger Jorn.

His unique familial background is likely to have impacted both his artistic expressions and his concepts of society. His multi-racial status exposed him to African, Chinese and Cuban beliefs, which also allowed him access to both Catholicism and African religious services during his formative years. In additions, his extensive traveling may have also have inspired his genius.

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