NEW YORK – Cuban artist Luis Miguel Valdés is featured in a Jasper52 online auction that will take place on Tuesday, June 18. Born in 1949, Valdés resides and works between Havana, Mexico and Miami. Several prints by José Luis Cuevas (Mexico, 1934-2017) comprise the balance of the 69-lot auction. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.
Valdés studied painting, drawing, engraving and sculpture at the National Art School in Havana until 1969, specializing in painting and printmaking. In 1976, together with a group of established artists, he founded the Instituto Superior de Arte of Havana, where he became the director of the printmaking department. In 1983, he was offered an internship at the prestigious Atelier 17 in Paris under the direction of Stanley William Hayter.
A fine example of his work included in the auction is titled Painter Painting to Painter Painting (above).
“It is normal for painters to do works based on the work of other painters and in this painting I wanted to take the version I wanted to make of this painting by Toulouse-Lautrec to the extreme, and the best solution was to paint it to his painting,” said Valdés
Valdés works can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Florida; and the National Museum of Fine Prints, Mexico City.
Cuevas was one of the first artist to challenge the then dominant Mexican muralism movement as a prominent member of the Generacion de la Ruptura (Breakaway Generation. He was a mostly self-taught artist, whose styles and influences are moored to the darker side of life, often depicting distorted figures and the debasement of humanity.
He remained a controversial figure throughout his career, not only for his often shocking images, but also for his opposition to writers and artists who he feels participate in corruption or create only for money.
In 1992, the José Luis Cuevas museum was opened in the historic center of Mexico City, which holds most of his work and his personal art collection.
Cuevas made etchings, illustrations, sculptures and paintings, though he is perhaps best known for his drawings. “Perhaps because I was born in a paper mill and pencil factory, paper has always had a great fascination for me,” he once said.
Though he briefly attended the eminent Mexican institution Escuela de Pintura, Cuevas considered himself a self-taught draughtsman in search of an alternative to the Mexican muralists and their social messages. Cuevas has said that his drawings represent the isolation of man and an inability to communicate; many of his drawings feature distorted human figures, or figures that transform into animals. He was particularly inspired by the graphic styles of Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, and José Guadalupe Posada. He also expresses interest in the works of the Catalan Romanesque, 19th-century Romanticism and German Expressionism.