Goddess with Foliage

Wifredo Lam Cuban

Not on view

Combining human, vegetal, and animal elements, Lam’s large figure features pointed ears, a horse’s snout, fruit-shaped breasts, and pronounced hands. The artist studied and synthesized African art, Cubism, and Surrealism while working for eighteen years in Europe, first in Spain and later in Paris, where he befriended Pablo Picasso and poet André Breton, Surrealism’s founder. The stylistic hybridity of Lam’s art parallels his mixed ethnicity: his father was Chinese and his mother descended from a formerly enslaved Congolese mother and a father with indigenous Cuban and Spanish ancestry. Through his art, Lam sought to promote and sustain modern Afro-Cuban culture, which he feared was being corrupted by tourism and suppressed by the government.

Goddess with Foliage, Wifredo Lam (Cuban, Sagua La Grande 1902–1982 Paris), Gouache on paper

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