Considered one of the most important 20th Century Cuban artists, Martínez’ radically different use of Pop Art did not reflect consumerism, but instead focused on Cuban culture and social transformation. Something of a history painter, Adam and Juliet, Sin Titulo and Che were part of Martínez’s project concerning the living history of Cuba. They are a part of his own registry of the island’s population, a visual list of ordinary workers, lovers, leaders and his friends and neighbors; painted in the dynamic colors we associate with his work.
Raúl Martínez, born in Ciego de Avila in 1927, entered the school of Visual Arts at San Alejandro in Havana in 1941, finishing two years later. He attended the National School of Fine Arts at San Alejandro in Havana in 1946, and attended the Chicago Design Institute in 1952 for a year, on scholarship. He was an incredibly important figure in Cuban history, but the political isolation of the island prevented his art from reaching the outside world. Much of his work is held in National Museum of Fine Arts in Cuba.
Image courtesy of the artist and Magnan Metz Gallery, New York.