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Last updated: 6/23/2019
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / DADA and Surrealism / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-1982): 1950s and 1960s

Arp / Bourgeois / Coutaud / Delvaux / De Chirico / Ernst / Fini / Giacometti / Hayter / Höch / Klee / Lam
Magritte / Masson / Matta / Miró / Picasso / Richier / Seligmann / Sutherland / Tamayo / Tanning/ Toyon / Wunderlich

Lam / Lam 2 / Lam 3 / Lam: Gouaches & Sculptures
Wifredo Lam grew up in Cuba with a grandmother who practised Voodoo rituals and came of age in Paris, where he and Picasso became very close friends and artistic associates. In 1939 he joined the Surrealists and he collaborated on a book, Fata Morgana, with André Breton, who wrote the text that accompanied Lam's drawings. After the Germans invaded France, Lam left Europe on the same ship as Breton and Masson, helped in part by the International Rescue Committee, in token of which, many years later, Lam contributed a lithograph to the Flight Portfolio as a fundraiser. Returning to Cuba, Lam's work continued to mix Afro-Cuban and European influences. After the war, Lam travelled before finally settling in Paris, with side trips to Italy. Where Picasso and the German Expressionists turned to African art to revitalize European traditions, Lam combines these traditions not as an outsider but as a rightful possessor of both. His art offers the fantastic images of a living but alien tradition to a world needing to find a new conception of the civilized. Lam's works are to be found in many important collections of modern art including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum (NYC) and the Tate; his works have been shown at major museums and important galleries in New York, Paris, Düsseldorf, Madrid (the Reina Sofia), Barcelona (the Fondation Miró), The Art Institute (Chicago), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh), the Kassel Documenta (1959, 1960, 1965), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Venice Biennale (1972), the Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico), the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), and many others. Since his death, there has been an emerging consensus that Lam is one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

Bibliography: General works: Maria R. Balderrama, Wifredo Lam and his Contemporaries 1938-1952 (NY: Studio Museum in Harlem, 1992); Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970 ( NY: Abrams," 1988); Catherine David, Wifredo Lam (Paris: Galerie Lelong, 1991);Valerie Fletcher, Crosscurrents of Modernism: Four Latin American Pioneers. Diego Rivera, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Wifredo Lam, Matta (Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum, 1992); Max-Pol Fouchet, Wifredo Lam. Trans. Kenneth Lyons and Richard-Lewis Rees. 2nd Ed. (Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa, 1989); Pierre Gaudibert et al, Wifredo Lam (Düsseldorf: Kunstsammlung Nordheim-Westfalen, 1988); Pontus Hulten, Wifredo Lam (Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1967); Ulrich Krempel, Wifredo Lam (Paris: Galerie Lelong, 1988); Michel Leiris., Wifredo Lam (NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1970); Michel Leiris et al, Wifredo Lam 1902-1982 (Paris: Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1983); Lou Laurin-Lam, Wifredo Lam: Catalogue Raisonne of the Painted Work Volume I: 1923-1960 (Lausanne: Acatus, 1996); Ministerio de la Cultura de Espana Y Ministerio de la Cultura de Cuba, Homenaje a Wifredo Lam 1902-1982 (Madrid, 1982; catalogue to accompany the retrospective exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Musée d'Ixelles, Bruxelles); Centro del Arte Reina Sofia, Wifredo Lam (Madrid: Centro del Arte Reina Sofia, 1992); Lowery Stokes Sims, Wifredo Lam and the International Avante-Garde, 1923-1982 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002); Philippe Soupault, Wifredo Lam: Dessins (Dutrou: Editions Galilee, 1975); Patrick Waldberg, Wifredo Lam (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1967).

Prints: Dominique Tonneau-Ryckelynck, Wifredo Lam: Oeuvre gravé et lithographie. Catalogue raisonné. (Gravelines: Musée de Gravelines, 1994).
Untitled 3 (. L7304). Original color lithograph, 1953. Edition unknown (c. 1200 unsigned impressions; there are no signed and numbered impressions) as published in the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir with the centerfold as usual. Image size: 560x380mm. Price: $950.
Untitled 1 (. L5302). Original color lithograph, 1953. Edition unknown (c. 1200 unsigned impressions; there are no signed and numbered impressions) as published in the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. Image size: 380x280mm. Price: $500.
Untitled 2 (. L5303). Original color lithograph, 1953. Edition unknown (c. 1200 unsigned impressions; there are no signed and numbered impressions) as published in the deluxe art review. Image size: 380x280mm. Price: $500.
Composition rouge et jaune (L. 6303). Original color lithograph, 1963. 60 signed and numbered impressions on Rives paper. This print has been exhibited in Museum shows in Paris (1963, 1979, 1981) and Hannover (1966). An important piece. Image size: 445x565mm. Price: $2750.
Comme une cathédrale bombardé L. 6501). Original color etching, 1965. 50 signed and numbered impressions for Parolles Peintes II. This print is in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Musée Gravelines, and Yale University. Image size: 265x184mm. Price: $1750.
Bird of Prey (L. 6641). Original color lithograph, 1966. 300 signed and numbered impressions on Arches paper. This print is in the collections of the museums of Bremen, Geneva, and Gravelines. Image size: 380x565mm. Price: $2750.
Situationalist Times 6 (L. 6640). Original color lithograph, 1967. Published for the deluxe Paris edition of 2000 (+ 500 HC for contributors) by Editions Jacqueline de Jong, Paris. Printed by Clot, Bramson, et Georges, Paris. Image size: 273x213mm. Price: $500.

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