ARCAY Wifredo

MCP_3104 Arcay

Wifredo ARCAY

Untitled, c.1950

Oil on panel
24 13/16 x 18 1/8 in. (63 x 46 cm.)

Diez Pintores Concretos- Group founded in Havana in 1958. The group had its headquarters at the Color-Luz Art Gallery in the Cuban capital, which had been opened a year earlier by Loló Soldevilla and Pedro de Oráa. They played a crucial role in spreading in Cuba abstract-geometric art that was fully in line with what was being done in the capitals of the art world. The group disintegrated when the gallery closed in 1961. Beyond Soldevilla and Oráa, its members were: Pedro Álvarez, Wifredo Arcay, Salvador Corratgé, Sandú Darié, Luis Martínez Pedro, José Mijares, Rafael Soriano López and José Ángel Rosabal.

Acclaimed by Jean Arp as “the perfection of Cuba’s Cubists,” Arcay emerged among the postwar generation of the Ecole de Paris as a painter, muralist and, perhaps most familiarly, as a printmaker. Born in Cuba and trained at Havana’s Academia de San Alejandro, Arcay arrived in Paris on a grant in 1949.  He assimilated quickly within the milieu of post-Cubist abstraction, studying at the Grande Chaumire and with Edgard Pillet and Jean Dewasne at their Atelier d’Art Abstrait.  In 1951, at the invitation of Andr Bloc, the influential editor of the journal Art d’Aujourd’hui, Arcay set up a studio at Bloc’s villa in Meudon, mingling there amongst such luminaries of the historical avant-garde as Arp, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Fernand Lger.

While celebrated as a printmaker, Arcay painted only through the 1950s and 1960s, sending work to the Salon des Ralits Nouvelles (1951-54) and regularly to Cuba. He exhibited as part of the Cuban delegation to the So Paulo Biennale (1955) and frequently at Havan’s Galera Color-Luz, a pioneering outpost of geometric abstraction. A member of both the constructivist Groupe Espace, founded by Bloc and Flix Del Marle in 1951, and the short-lived Cuban group Los Diez Pintores Concretos (1959-61), Arcay personified the rich diversity and internationalism of postwar abstraction.