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Wifredo Lam

Sans titre

oil on canvas
114,5 x 147,5 cm / 45 x 58 in.
signed and dated lower right verso signed and dated

In 1966, the year Wifredo Lam created this painting, the leading theorist of Surrealism, André Breton, a friend and companion to the painter for decades, died in Paris. Born in Cuba, after his training Lam moved to Europe, and in 1938, he became acquainted in Paris with Breton, Picasso and other exponents of the Avant-garde Surrealism. These years in the world capital of art of that time, combined with his diverse cultural origins, shaped the art of Wifredo Lam. In fact, it is impossible to overlook the formative input from Pablo Picasso, who recognized him as a soulmate, in his painting. When the war forced him to emigrate to the United States, this input became stronger and, along with the influences of Lam’s cultural origin, they were concentrated into a completely new pictorial language, as in the present painting. Lam’s approach in both iconography and colour is entirely his own, hence the special character of his painting. With a use of colour that is as impressive as it is brilliant, Lam allows the central symbolic figures, rich in contrast and with his typical, geometrical contour lines, to emerge from a dark background. Wifredo Lam described in his own words the intention that his pictures pursue with the syncretic, cross-cultural combination of his artistic sources: “My own painting despite my particular mental circumstances, is a general proposal – a proposal of democracy, if you like – made to all men.”

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