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Antonio Argudín
Havanna, 1910

Antonio Argudín was born in Havana, Cuba in 1910, where he attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro and worked as a painter, sculptor and graphic artist. From 1935 and onwards he held regular exhibitions, frequently at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Havana. From 1953 to 1954, he was a member of the Grupo de Afirmación y Divulgación del Arte Cubano (GADAC) and participated in the Bienal Hispanoamericana de Arte in Havana and Barcelona in 1954 and 1956.
Argudín's works show several parallels to avant-garde European styles. His renunciation of a perspective pictorial space, the dissolution of the closed physicality of things, and the artistic reduction of an object to geometric figures are all characteristic representational postulates of Cubism. On the other hand, the composed geometric structure of the image and the brushstroke consisting of dots and dashes refer to the style of Pointillism. The way in which Argudín captures motion sequences and dynamics through staggered repetition of the moving image content, is his way of referencing the Italian school of Futurism.
The beginnings of modern art in Cuba, with similarities found in other Latin American countries, were closely linked to the search for national identity. Thus, an artistic tradition began to develop in Cuba that adopted traditional formal languages from abroad, but at the same time adhered to its Afro-Cuban roots and its national culture. This synthesis, particular to Cuban art, is also evident in the works of Antonio Argudín, who, around 1950, portrayed Cuban subjects on canvas in a European avant-garde manner. Argudín painted lively Cubans playing music, bustling fruit merchants and joyously dancing figures. Argudín's works are clearly situated in a politically turbulent era, which inevitably had an impact on the production of that art. Argudín's oeuvre is thereby not only an important testimony to the changeful Cuban history of the mid-20th century, but also the expression of an incipient avant-garde art movement in Cuba.

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