Rene Portocarrero new york gallery auction arts price

Rene Portocarrero /   René Portocarrero

Cuba 1912 - 1985

Sculpture, Painting

Rene Portocarrero
René Portocarrero
Male
Cuba
1912
March 11, 2016
Behind the pseudonym of Lor Dethal lies Nemanja Torlak, a writer for Widewalls intrigued and moved by diversity in art and in the lives of those who create it. It is often the unexpected that come forth and surprise us, and art is a world that allows it and makes it possible. David beats the Goliath daily, and writing about it is a pleasure.

What makes art a special kind of profession is that someone without a formal education can truly make amazing, even legendary artwork. People look for various things and aspects when viewing art pieces, and reaching the audience can be done even through art that was made intuitively. Although he had mastered the craft over the years, René Portocarrero was a Cuban artist considered to be self-taught. His work brought him great international recognition, and regardless of his lack of a college degree, he is considered one of, if not the greatest modern Cuban painter.

René Portocarrero was a Cuban artist considered to be self-taught

Rene Portocarrero
Rene Portocarrero – Untitled (detail), 1975. Photo credits sothebys.com

A Rebellious Spirit

René Portocarrero was a born artist, and his talent manifested early in the form of drawings. Given his skills as yet a boy, he enrolled in San Alejandro Academy at the age of 14, but had many issues with the institutionalized way of art teaching. Having a strong temperament, he aborted his scholarship on his own initiative, carrying on with his work as he thought it should be done. He is thus considered a self-taught artist, and ironically, he went on to become a professor at the Free Institute of Painting and Sculpture in 1939, demonstrating his tremendous mastery over the craft. His free spirit largely translated to the canvas as well, as he used various styles and methods.

Using various styles and methods, Portocarrero’s free spirit largely translated to the canvas

Rene Portocarrero
Rene Portocarrero – Figure Composition. (detail), 1970. Photo credits invaluable.com

Until the Brush Touches the Canvas

If one was to align all of Portocarrero’s works, the one notion that can be distinguished is that he let his search for freedom in artistic expression guide him through his whole career. Masterpieces in their own right, many of his paintings portray a different painting style, as Portocarrero often changed between them. It has been said that until Portocarrero’s brush touches the canvas, there’s no telling what he might paint and in what kind of manner. The 1930’s marked his artistic oeuvre with Latino Modernism and a parallel interest in Surrealism; evolving into a sort of semi-abstract Expressionism, a string of Cubism can be seen in a lot of his paintings regardless of the period. The most obvious illustration of Cubism would be the “African” square nose in some of his works, and Portocarrero has managed to master the style during his long career.

A string of Cubism can be seen in a lot of Portocarrero’s paintings

Rene Portocarrero
Rene Portocarrero – Cathedral, 1972. Photo credits latinamericanart.com

Religion, Mythology and Women

Although he had had a lot of styles in his artistic arsenal, the narrative of his works never strayed much from the few central portrayals. Most of the time, when Portocarrero would take on a project, he would go back to one of the certain few themes repeating throughout his career: women, mythology, and religion, as well as natural elements like flowers and birds in his one-lined sketches. Whether he was working on paintings, murals, sculptures or ceramics, a distinct thematic would often emerge from the resulting piece, making his works recognizable and unique. Another great influence on his practice was left by his travels across Europe, the United States and Haiti, which is notable in his 1962 Color of Cuba exhibition. Drawing from his travels through the Caribbean, the works for the show were largely enriched by images of Santeria and other specific adornment.

The narrative of his works never strayed much from the few central portrayals

Rene Portocarrero
Rene Portocarrero – Untitled (Trio) (detail), 1978. Photo credits icollector.com

Cuban Legend

Even without a complete formal education, René Portocarrero managed to leave an immense mark in the art history. Mastering multiple approaches to creating art, his works could be said to be on par with his contemporary, Pablo Picasso, and it is today a part of many permanent collections around the world. Chasing the freedom of artistic expression, his works often differ in style from one to the other, often portraying themes he was known to go back to until the very end of his career. With his portfolio enriching the art scene of the 20th century, he is without a doubt one of the legends of the Cuban artistic history.

The artist is represented by Puccio Fine Art.

René Portocarrero died in 1985 aged 73 in Havana.

Featured image: Rene Portocarrero – Paisaje de La Habana en rojo (detail), 1951. Photo credits pinterest.com.
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GalleryGroup/Solo  
2012 The Naked Truth: Nudes And Erotica In Art - Pan American Art Projects Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2012 Caribbean - Crossroads of the World The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, NYGroup
2012 Constellations: Constructivism, Internationalism, and the Inter-American Avant-Garde AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DCGroup
2012 The Naked Truth: Nudes and Erotica in Art Pan American Art Projects, Miami, FloridaGroup
2011 Cuba: Then & Now Cremata Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2010 50 Years, 50 Works, 100th Anniversary AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DCGroup
2010 Caminos de la vanguardia cubana - MALBA Colección Costantini Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos AiresGroup
2010 Alicia Alonso Dances Here Tonight Magnan Metz Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010 Lezama & the "Origenes"Painters Cremata Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2009 Leopoldo Romañach and the Cuban Vanguardia Pan American Art Projects - Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2009 Almost Now: Cuban Art, Cinema, and Politics in the 1960s and 1970s Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NCGroup
2007 Museu da Solidariedade Museu Oscar Niemeyer, CuritibaGroup
2007 A Gathering of Selected Works Cernuda Arte, Coral Gables (Miami), FLGroup
2006 Paris, Barcelona & Miami David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2006 Geometry and Gesture AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DCGroup
2005 Cuban Art, Remembering Cuba Through its Art Cernuda Arte, Coral Gables (Miami), FLGroup
2005 Transeuntes – América Latina Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGroup
2004 Latin American Visionaries Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2001 Bienal 50 Anos - Núcleo histórico Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGroup
1996 Cuba Siglo XX. Modernidad y Sincretismo Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran CanariaGroup
1996 Cuba Siglo XX. Modernidad y Sincretismo Fundació La Caixa, Palma de MallorcaGroup
1996 Cuba Siglo XX. Modernidad y Sincretismo Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, EspañaGroup
1995 El tema histórico en la pintura cubana Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1994 Visión de hoy de la pintura cubana Galeria Csechowska, Santiago de Chile, ChileGroup
1994 Origenes. Revista de Arte y Literatura…las flechas de su propia estela Galeria Latinoamericana, Casa de las Américas, La Habana, CubaGroup
1994 Nuevas Adquisiciones Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Sala de Arte 1293, Alcalá de HenaresGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Caja de Ahorros de Asturias, Obra social y cultural, OviedoGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Conselleria de Cultura e Xuventude, Casa de la Parra, Santiago de CompostelaGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Diputación de Cádiz, Fundación Provincial de Cultura, Palacio Provincial, Cádiz, EspañaGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Four Cuban Modernists: Mario Carreño, Amelia Pelaez, Fidelio Ponce, Rene Portocarrero Group
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1993 Dulce Maria Loynaz y la ciudad de las columnas Lumbreras Fine Art, Coral Gables, FloridaGroup
1992 Voces de ultramar. Arte en América Latina y Canarias: 1910-1960 Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria y Casa de América, Madrid, EspañaGroup
1992 Wifredo Lam and his comtemporaries 1938-1952 The Studio Museum of Harlem, New YorkGroup
1991 Cuban Masters Ana Shlar Gallery, Bay Harbour, FloridaGroup
1990 Figuración Fabulación: 75 años de pintura en América Latina 1914-1989 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, VenezuelaGroup
1990 Colección Latinoamericana Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota, ColombiaGroup
1989 Rene Portocarrero. Color de Cuba Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Sao Paulo, BrasilSolo
1989 Cincuenta años de El Sueño Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1989 Art in Latin America: the modern era 1820-1980 Hayward Gallery, London, UKGroup
1989 Art in Latin America: the modern era 1820-1980 National Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, SwedenGroup
1989 Art in Latin America: the modern era 1820-1980 Palacio de Velazquez, Madrid, EspañaGroup
1989 Drawings: Seven Cuban Masters Museo Cubano de Arte y Cultura, Miami, FloridaGroup
1988 25 Años de Color de Cuba Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1987 Muestra Homenaje a Rene Portocarrero Casa de Osamlula, Lima, PerúSolo
1987 Muestra Homenaje a Rene Portocarrero Casa Risco, Trujillo, PerúSolo
1987 Latin American Treasures from Miami’s prívate collections Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, FloridaGroup
1986 Portocarrero Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico D.F.Solo
1985 Rene Portocarrero Oleos y Dibujo. Madrid, EspañaSolo
1985 Homenaje a Rene Portocarrero La Acacia, La Habana, CubaSolo
1985 Rene Portocarrero en las colecciones mexicanas Galeria Metropolitana, Mexico D.F.Solo
1985 Rene Portocarrero 1912-1985. Exposición antológica Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana,CubaSolo
1984 Con Porto Galeria Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
1984 Portocarrero. Color de Cuba Museo Provincial de Villa Clara, Villa Clara, CubaSolo
1984 Dibujos Cubanos Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1984 1ra Bienal de La Habana Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1984 alón de Artes Plásticas UNEAC 1984 Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1983 Rene Portocarrero Palazzo Barberini, Roma, ItaliaSolo
1983 Rene Portocarrero. Malerei aus Kuba Galerie und Weidendamm, Berlin, AlemaniaSolo
1983 Rene Portocarrero: 70 obras inéditas Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1983 Rene Portocarrero. Retrospectiva Exhibición itinerante por Alemania, España, Hungria, FranciaSolo
1982 Obras capitales de Rene Portocarrero en el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1982 Rene Portocarrero: A Retrospective 1940-1980 The Signs Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
1982 Rene Portocarrero: A Retrospective 1940-1980 Sala Arteconsul, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, PanamáSolo
1982 Transfiguración y Fuga Galeria Amelia Peláez, La Habana, CubaSolo
1981 Milian y Portocarrero. Pequeño Formato Galeria Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
1981 Homenaje a Mariano, Martinez Pedro y Portocarrero Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, La Habana, CubaSolo
1981 Primer Salón Nacional de Pequeño Formato Salón Lalo Carrasco, Hotel Habana Libre, La Habana, CubaGroup
1981 IV Bienal Americana de Artes Graficas Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, ColombiaGroup
1980 Exposicion retrospectiva, Obras de 1934 a 1980, del gran pintor cubano Rene Portocarrero Museo de Arte Moderno, MexicoSolo
1980 Color de Cuba Sala Shipka, Sofia, BulgariaSolo
1980 Rene Portocarrero Sala Germano Occidental Iberoamericana, Francfort del Meno, AlemaniaSolo
1980 Luis Martinez Pedro and Rene Portocarrero Sofia, BulgariaSolo
1980 Two Centuries of Cuban Art 1759-1959 John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FloridaGroup
1980 Exposition Deux Maîtres, Deux Jeunes Journées de la Culture Cubaine á l’UNESCO Casa de la UNESCO, Paris, FranceGroup
1979 Carnavales de Rene Portocarrero Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1979 Rene Portocarreo Galeria Zaçheta, Varsovia, PoloniaSolo
1979 Latin American Masters Forma Gallery, Coral Gables, FloridaGroup
1978 Color de Cuba INAC, Galeria de Arte, PanamáSolo
1978 Paisajes de La Habana Galeria L, La Habana, CubaSolo
1978 Pintura y Graficas Cubanas Museo Español de Arte Contemporaneo, MadridGroup
1978 Pintura y Graficas Cubanas. Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’ Estudis D’Art Contemporany, Parc de Montjuic, Barcelona, EspañaGroup
1977 Color de Cuba. Rene Portocarrero Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, La Habana, CubaSolo
1977 50 Años de la Revista de Avance Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1977 Cuba Peintres d’Aujourd’hui Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, FranciaGroup
1976 Cubansk Ntidskunst (Cuban Contemporary Art) Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, NorwayGroup
1976 Exposición de la Plástica Cubana Actual Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, ColombiaGroup
1975 Panorama del arte cubano de la colonia a nuestros días Museo de Arte Moderno, México, D.F.Group
1974 Art of the Americas in Washington Private Collections. Tribute to the Arts of the Americas Sede de la OEA, Washington D Group
1974 Cuba Line and Colour Art Gallery of the Institute of Jamaica, Kingston, JamaicaGroup
1974 Selections from the Permanent Collections Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Washington D Group
1972 Encuentro de Plastica Latinoamericana Casa de las Américas, La Habana, CubaGroup
1972 Exposición de Maestros Cubanos de la Pintura Sala Matta, Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile, ChileGroup
1970 Salon 70 Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1969 VIII Premi International Dibuix Joan Miró Palau Virreina, Barcelona, EspañaGroup
1968 Panorama del Arte en Cuba Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1968 Maestros Cubanos Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico D.F.Group
1968 Pintura Cubana Contemporánea Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico D.F.Group
1967 Rene Portocarrero. Exposición Retrospectiva Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaSolo
1967 Salon de Mayo Paris, FranciaGroup
1967 Pintura Contemporanea Cubana Palacio Dunaj, Praga, ChecoslovaquiaGroup
1967 Cuba! First London Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Art Ewan Phillis Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
1967 Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Paintings Galeria Libre, Montreal, CanadaGroup
1966 Portocarrero y Milian: Oleos y tintas Galeria de La Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
1966 Retratos de Flora Sala Personal, Bienal de Venecia, Venecia, ItaliaSolo
1966 Cuban Landscapes National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, CubaGroup
1966 Biennial of Venice Venice, ItalyGroup
1966 Art of Latin America since Independence Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, ConnecticutGroup
1965 Rene Portocarrero Museo de Arte Moderno, Bosque de Chapultepec, México D.F.Solo
1965 Rene Portocarrero Galeria Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, CubaSolo
1965 Portocarrero y Milian Comité de Amistad y relaciones culturales, Sofia, BulgariaSolo
1965 Rene Portocarrero Budapest, HungríaSolo
1965 Rene Portocarrero Guadalajara, MéxicoSolo
1965 Exposición de dibujos de artistas cubanos Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1964 Figuras Ornamentadas Colegio de Arquitectos, La Habana, CubaSolo
1964 Biennial of Sao Paulo Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
1963 Color de Cuba. DibujosPinturas. Rene Portocarrero Solo
1963 Raúl Milian y Rene Portocarrero Salón Arsenal Poznan, PoloniaSolo
1963 1913-1963 Cincuentenario del Museo Nacional Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1962 Salon Nacional 1962. Homenaje a Carlos Enriquez Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1962 Primer Salon Anual de la UNEAC Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
1961 Art Cubain Contemporain Galerie Du Dragon, Galerie Weiller, Paris, FranceGroup
1960 Portocarrero. Dibujos, bocetos, acuarelas 1933-1960 Biblioteca Nacional Jose Martí, La Habana, CubaSolo
1960 Pintura Contemporánea Cubana Casa de las Américas, La Habana, CubaGroup
1960 Pintura Contemporánea Cubana Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico D.F.Group
1960 Pintura Contemporánea Cubana Museo de Arte Moderno, Caracas, VenezuelaGroup
1960 Pintura Contemporánea Cubana Facultad de Arquitectura, Montevideo, UruguayGroup
1960 Pintura Contemporánea Cubana Museo de Arte Moderno, Sao Paulo, BrasilGroup
1956 Exposicion de pinturas recientes de Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1956 Pintura Contemporánea Universidad de La Habana, Habana, CubaGroup
1954 Exposición de Cerámica. Cerámicas del Dr. Rodriguez de la Cruz pintadas por Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1954 Pintura Cubana Contemporánea Lyceum, La Habana, CubaGroup
1953 VI Salón Nacional de Pintura y Escultura Capitolio Nacional, La Habana, CubaGroup
1952 Portocarrero: pinturas Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1952 Carreño and Portocarrero Galeria Alcora, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaSolo
1952 Contemporary exhibition of Architecture, Painting and Sculpture School of Architecture, University of Havana, Havana, CubaGroup
1951 First Sao Paulo Bienal Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
1951 Art Cuban Contemporain Musee National D’Art Moderne, Paris, FranceGroup
1951 V Exposición Nacional de Pintura Escultura y Grabado, Centro Asturiano, La Habana, CubaGroup
1950 IV Exposición Nacional de Pintura Escultura y Grabado, Centro Asturiano, La Habana, CubaGroup
1950 An exhibition of Cuban Paintings The Woman’s Club of Havana, La Habana, CubaGroup
1949 Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1949 Exposición de Pintura de Artistas Cubanos Contemporáneos Sociedad de Artes y Letras, Palacio Municipal, La Habana, CubaGroup
1949 7 Kubanska Malare Liljevalchs Kunsthalll, Stockolm, SwedenGroup
1948 VII Salón del Patronato de Artes Plásticas La Habana, CubaGroup
1948 Exposición Pan Americana de Pintura Moderna Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, VenezuelaGroup
1947 Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1947 Paintings and Drawings of Latin America Knoedler Galleries, New YorkGroup
1946 Solo Exhibition Panamerican Union, Washington D. C.Solo
1946 III Salón Vicente Escobar Sociedad de Artes y Letras Cubanas, Salones de la Asociación de Industriales, La Habana, CubaGroup
1946 Cuban Modern paintings in Washington collections Pan American Union, Washington D Group
1946 11 pintores cubanos Museo de Bellas Artes, La Plata, ArgentinaGroup
1946 Exposición de Pintura Cubana Moderna Palacio de Bellas Artes, México D.F., MéxicoGroup
1945 Solo Exhibition Julian Levy Gallery, New YorkSolo
1945 Portocarrero Universidad de La Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
1945 5 pintores Lyceum, La Habana, CubaGroup
1945 Lo inmóvil Lyceum, La Habana, CubaGroup
1945 Segundo Salón Vicente Escobar Salones del Frente Nacional Antifascista, Acera del Louvre, La Habana, CubaGroup
1944 Portocarrero. Exposicion de pintura religiosa Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1944 Modern Cuban Painters Museo de Arte Moderno, New YorkGroup
1944 Primer Salón Vicente Escobar Salones del Frente Nacional Antifascista, Acera del Louvre, La Habana, CubaGroup
1943 Una exposición de pinturas y esculturas modernas cubanas Institución Hispano Cubana de Cultura, La Habana, CubaGroup
1942 Rene Portocarrero, oleos, dibujos y acuarelas Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1941 Rene Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1941 Exposición de arte cubano contemporáneo Salón de los pasos perdidos, Capitolio Nacional, La Habana, CubaGroup
1941 Exposición de pintura y escultura moderna Lyceum, La Habana, CubaGroup
1940 300 años de pintura en Cuba Universidad de La Habana, La Habana, CubaGroup
1939 Latin American Exhibition of Fine and Applied Arts Riverside Museum, New YorkGroup
1938 II Exposición Nacional de Pintura y Escultura Castillo de la Fuerza, La Habana, CubaGroup
1937 Exposición de Arte Moderno Municipio de La Habana, La Habana, CubaGroup
1937 XIX Salón de Bellas Artes Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Group
1936 Dibujos de Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1936 Exposición de pinturas de Jimenez y Portocarrero Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1936 Discos Pintados Lyceum, La Habana, CubaSolo
1936 XVIII Salón de Bellas Artes Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Group
1935 Exposición Nacional de Pintura y Escultura Colegio de Arquitectos Group
1934 Rene Portocarrero Lyceum, Havana, CubaSolo
1932 Exposición única de pintores y escultores cubanos Lyceum, La Habana, CubaGroup
1923 Salón de Bellas Artes Asociación de Pintores y Escultores Group