biography

MARIANO RODRIGUEZ (1912 ? 1990)

    "Mariano" was born in Havana in 1912. He had been interested in drawing and painting since boyhood. In 1936 he went to Mexico where he studied for a year and a half with the muralists Manuel Rodriguez Lozano and Pablo O¿Higgins. When he returned to Cuba his technique bore a close resemblance to that of the modern Mexican masters. In 1938 his painting "UNIDAD" received top honors at the National Exhibit of Painting and Sculpture in Havana.

    Mariano is part of that generation of Cuban artists who felt the urgency to break with the influences of the Academics. Constantly and tirelessly in search of a vehicle by which to express his personality in the context of a truly "Cuban" expression, in 1941 he started to elaborate on his theme of the roosters. In the early 40¿s he was influenced by the great European masters, especially Picasso and Matisse; in 1967 he started his series of "Fruit and Reality"; in 1980 he started the series of the "Masses", and in the mid eighties, the final "Feast of Love". Through it all he faithfully continued to strive for essentially "Cuban" elements, the most consistent of which was the virility of the rooster, master of the domestic patio: in every one of his phases Mariano painted a rooster.

    In 1960 he started to work in ceramic in the studio of Santiago de las Vegas, and one year later he realized his mural titled "Human Suffering" in the El Vedado district of Havana. In 1960 he was named cultural attaché to India, where he stayed for eighteen months, and later served as the president of the "Casa de Las Americas" in Havana until his retirement on 1985.

    Among his major exhibitions are: Lyceum, Havana (1939, 1943, 1944, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1957); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1943, 1944); National Museum, Washington D.C. (1945); Feigl Gallery, New York (1945, 1946); Museum of Mexico, and of La Plata, Argentina (1946); Brooklyn Museum (1949); Museé d¿Art Moderne, Paris (1951); first prize at the VIII Salon of Painting and Sculpture (1956); Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela (1958); Habana Gallery (1962, ¿63, ¿65); VII Biennale São Paulo, Brazil (1963); Cairo, Egypt (1966); National Museum of Cuba (1975); Museum of Modern Art, Madrid (1978); Musée d¿Art Moderne, Paris (1980); Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico (1981); Moscow, former Soviet Union (1984); Habana Gallery (1981, ¿84, ¿87); 2nd Biennale of Havana (1986); Retrospective at Canary Islands Museum, Spain (1988); Retrospective at the Santo Domingo Museum, Dominican Republic (1992); Retrospective at Casa de las Americas (1997); Retrospective in the Principality of Monaco (2004).

    His work is owned, among others, by the following museums: Guayaquil University, Ecuador; Cali, Colombia; Mexico City; Havana; Managua, Nicaragua; San Francisco; MOMA New York; Kansas City; Caracas; Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Chicago Art Institute; and UNESCO, Paris.

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