Untitled (Abstraction), 1955

Mixed media on wood with wooden components
23 1/2 x 38 in. (59.7 x 96.5 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.

Lol Soldevilla studied music in Havana and, later, sculpture at the Acadmie de la Grande Chaumire in Paris (1949-1950). In the French capital she had ties with members of the Venezuelan group Los Disidentes and with the Spanish kinetic painter Eusebio Sempere. Returning to Cuba in 1950, she presented her first solo exhibitions: Esculturas (Lyceum Lawn Tennis Club, Havana, 1950) and 20 leos de Lol (School of Law, Universidad de La Habana, 1951). Her early sculptures showed a single-minded preference for the representation of the human figure, but her selection of materials such as stone, bronze, and plaster was eclectic. In the paintings of this time, a style close to naf predominated in her portraits.

In 1951, Soldevilla went again to France. She worked as Cultural Attach at the Cuban Embassy, spent time at the workshops of sculptors Jean Dewasne and Charles Pillet, and had ties with artists from the so-called School of Paris. It was during this time that she turned towards geometric abstraction. Her first stable and movable creations were made with rods and metallic circles in which, in addition to the movement and its articulation by the spectator, she was concerned with balance and harmony that characterized her paintings and wooden reliefs. She exhibited her reliefs at the gallery of the Salon des Realits Nouvelles (Paris, 1955).

In 1956, Soldevilla returned permanently to Cuba, where she promoted the exhibition Pintura de hoy. Vanguardia de la Escuela de Paris (Palacio de Bellas Artes, Havana), an important international exhibit of nonfigurative art of original works and reproductions she had brought from France. She continued producing reliefs and paintings, whose elements were simple geometric forms: circles, semicircles, squares and rectangles. In the first reliefs, like the ones she’d made in Paris, the forms stood out from the plane which was always white or black. The forms were organized around the space of an invisible but evident grid, which only infrequently allowed for alterations in the elements’ disposition. She used the same geometric elements in her paintings. In the latter, however, she abandoned the grid but continued to order forms and determine chromatic selection following a rigid and carefully calculated process. In 1957, she presented solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Havana) and at the Centro Profesional del Este (Caracas).

In 1957, Soldevilla founded, with Pedro de Ora, the Galera de Arte Color-Luz in Havana. The gallery became the meeting place for artists working in the abstract-geometric style, specifically the members of the group Diez Pintores Concretos, active from 1958 to the closing of the gallery in 1961. This group, which included Soldevilla, produced two series of serigraphs, 7 pintores concretos (1960) and A (1961), and played a fundamental role in the promotion of geometric abstraction as it was practiced elsewhere.

In the 1960s, after embracing the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Soldevilla’s creative activity decreased remarkably, as she turned to promoting culture through teaching at the School of Architecture (1960-1961), designing toys (1962), and working as an editor for the newspaper Granma (1965-1971). In 1965, she founded the group Espacio with young painters she mentored. A few of them were invited to participate in the 1st Bienal de La Habana (1965), but the group dissolved in 1972, after Soldevilla’s death.