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José Mariano Manuel Rodríguez Alvarez
La Habana, 1912 — 1990

Mariano Rodríguez (1912, Havana – 1990, Havana) was one of the most important figures in the second generation of the Cuban Avant-garde. His mother was an artist and encouraged his artistic expression at a young age. In 1928, he enrolled in the San Alejandro Academy of Art, where he received drawing and modelling lessons. In 1936, Rodriguez travelled to Mexico and began studying at the San Carlos Academy, where Manuel Rodríguez Lozano was his teacher. He studied the fresco technique and worked intensively on mural paintings.
In 1937, he returned to Cuba, participating in the II National Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture a year later. In 1939, he participated in the First National Congress of Artists in Santiago de Cuba and held his first solo exhibition. In 1941, Rodriguez introduced the rooster as a leading motif in his paintings. The same year he created The Rooster (MoMA Collection, New York) and The Painted Rooster (Private Collection, California). The rooster became a symbol of Cuban identity for Rodriguez, even appearing in his more abstract work. From 1944 onward, Rodriguez regularly travelled to New York, where he held exhibitions in galleries and found inspiration in the art metropolis’s museums.
Rodriguez was presented in numerous international exhibitions, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1944), the Musée National D'Art Moderne, Paris (1951) and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas (1958). His work is now on display in museums and collections around the world.

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