MLA Gallery - Artist's summary

Raul Enmanuel

Enmanuel has used Wifredo Lam’s early work, which Lam was doing in the late 30’s and early 40’s, as a point of inspiration. As Lam’s most famous painting, “La Jungla” exemplifies, it is an expression of the tropical jungle, and all the sublime energy and spirits that dwell within. Enmanuel has established a language, that uses the palm specifically, as the basis of his iconography. He is a practicioner of Santeria. Many of the practicioners of this Afro Cuban faith believe that the spirits (Orishas) of their faith (or the equivalent of our angels, or saints) dwell at the foot of the palm, and in the sugar cane fields. Therefore, these places take on a sort of holiness, or sanctity. Enmanuel has created a body of work that attempts to convey the feeling and the warmth of that place. Many people who know little about art, remark on the depth of feeling they see in his paintings. Although they know little about what it is he is representing, they remark on how moved they are by the paintings, and it does seem there is a deep, intuitive understanding of the physical universe, inherent within his paintings, that seems to work on a number of levels.

Enmanuel was educated at San Alejandro, which is the most prestigious art institution in Cuba. He then went on to teach at that same university, for several years. He has done two major government commissions, which in Cuba are considered quite prestigious. One is a 30 foot mural in the lobby of the Melia Cohiba, in Santiago, the best five star hotel in Eastern Cuba. The second is a 40 foot mural at the railroad station in Santiago. He has had numerous successful shows throughout Cuba, and more recently at George Nader Gallery in Santo Domingo, where he currently resides, as well as the Canvas Gallery, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Soho Gallery, Studio City, CA. (which we curated and provided the works for), and MLA Gallery.

Enmanuel continues to be one of the top gallery artists. His level of popularity attests to both the conceptual genius, and technical mastery of this wonderful artist.

Victor Huerta Batista

Huerta was educated at the Higher Institute of Art, in Camaguey, where he was a student of Manuel Alcaide, who is a renowned Cuban artist who exhibits at Arco in Spain, as well as other major shows worldwide. The gallery director knows Alcaide, and when asked what he thought about Huerta, Alcaide said that in the more than 10 years he has been a professor of art, the two artists that he felt were the most promising were Esterio Segura, and Victor Huerta Batista. Segura is already an international superstar, who commands $80,000.00 for his sculptures, and headlines the Havana Bienalle. Huerta is one of the most conceptually brilliant artists working in Cuba today. He is also one of the most technically masterful. MLA Gallery has had great success with his paintings. It is doubtful we will be able to acquire more of his work in the future, as he has been the subject of a solo museum show at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, and he has moved to Havana, from outside of Camaguey, and is currently  being represented by a gallery in Havana, and is being courted by several others. In addition, he now has work in the permanent collection of three museums. This means the price point of his paintings has gone up dramatically in Cuba, and our wholesale price point is equivalent to what we are currently charging for his paintings.

Baruj Salinas

Salinas is the most established contemporary artist that MLA Gallery represents. He is in his 70’s, and has been in the states since the mid-50s’. He graduating with a degree in architecture, from Kent State, and has been painting ever since. His work attempts to capture the exuberance of the natural world, though his earlier work was of a more abstract expressionist nature. He studied with Joan Miro, while living in Barcelona, and also was a student of Johnny Friedlander. He is a masteful printmaker, as well as a painter of exceptional talent. He has had over 100 solo shows worldwide, and has work in the permanent collection of Art Institute Chicago, as well as 30 other museums worldwide. He has an established secondary market. Salinas continues to be one of the galleries top artists.

We have a significant collection of his original works on paper in various sizes, and from the late 70’s, to the present, in addition to a major collection of his etchings, serigraphs, and lithographs. We also have some works on canvas. His work can be found in the permanent collection of the following museums:

Art Museum of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Arte del Siglo XX, Casa de la Asegurada, Alicante, Spain.

Bacardi Collection, Miami, Fl

Beit Uri Museum, Israel.

Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Spain.

Cabinet des Estampes, Geneva, Switzerland.

Cuban Museum of Art, Miami, Florida.

Fundacion Joan Miro, Barcelona, Spain.

Fundación Maria Zambrano, Velez-Malaga, Spain.

Fundacion Miguel Aleman, Mexico City

Institute of International Education, New York, NY.

Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

Musee Villa du Parc, Annemasse, France

John Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.

Lowe Art Museum (Cuban Collection) Coral Gables, Fl.

McNay Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas.

Museo Alvar Carrillo Gil, Mexico City

Museo Arte Contemporaneo LatinoAmericano (MACLA), La Plata, Argentina.

Museo Cuevas, Mexico City

Museo de Arte Moderno, Ibiza, Spain.

Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

Museo de Villafames, Villafames, Spain.

Museo Rayo, Roldanillo, Colombia.

Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City

Museu Nacional D'Árt de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Museum of Art, Budapest, Hungary.

Museum of the Americas (OAS), Washington, DC.

Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan.

Pemex Collection, Mexico City

Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix, Arizona.

Public Library, City of Miami, Miami, Florida.

San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas.

University of Ohio Museum of Art, Miami, Ohio.

Villa de Montecatini Collection, Italy

Museo Maria Zambrano, Velez-Malaga, Spain

Ramon Alejandro

Ramon Alejandro is one of the ten most significant Cuban exile artists in the world today. He has had solo shows world wide, and is currently living and showing in Paris. His paintings started out as surreal mechanical creations, and evolved into surreal, sensuous landscapes, with outrageous and gorgeous fruits, and midieval symbols, which he is known for today. His original work is in great demand, and is rarely on the market for long. His paintings are always pre-sold, prior to completion. We are able to commission his paintings, and original works on paper, as we have done for collectors in the past. This is oftentimes the only way to acquire a great example of his work. MLA Gallery has the largest collection of Alejandro’s printwork, in the world. We are also his exclusive representative on the West Coast. We also feature some of his paintings, and pastels. He has an established secondary market, and is in his late 60’s.

Rufino Tamayo

Tamayo is considered by many to be the most significant modern artist from Mexico, of the 20th century. He is certainly the most popular. Though his paintings sell for between $150K and well one million dollars, his printwork is still affordable, and very blue chip, as far as it’s potential to appreciate dramatically. We usually have some of his etchings, many of which were done by Poligrafa, in Barcelona, and also deal with his Mixografias, which were done by Remba (formerly known as Taller Grafica Mexicana). His mixografias were done on a heavy handmade paper, and Tamayo was very involved with the entire process. They has become his most sought after print medium. They retail for between $18,000.00 and $35,000.00, and we usually sell them for far less than that, and the framing is some of the best you will ever see, anywhere. The etchings retail for $8,500.00 to $10,000.00, and we usually sell them for about $5,500.00 to $6,500, with $1,000 worth of framing.

Excellent prints by Tamayo represent a blue chip investment. They will more than likely appreciate dramatically over time. One of Tamayo's paintings entitled "Trovador", which was done in 1945, recently set a record for the highest price ever paid at auction, for a Latin American painting, at the Christies sale on May 28th, 2008, when it sold for $7,209.000.00.

Wifredo Lam

Lam got his start by being given a letter of introduction to Picasso, by a Spanish poet, who was a friend of both men. Picasso liked his work, and invited Lam to work in his studio, which he did between about 1938, and 1941. Picasso arranged for Lam’s first show, at Galerie Loeb, and the rest is history. Lam is considered the Godfather of Cuban art, and has inspired and influenced a legion of Cuban artists. Though he started out representing the spirit world of the Cuban jungle, he later developed a very sophisticated iconography, that represents the entire pantheon of the Santero spirit world. (see Lam essay). Though many insist that many influences of Picasso’s work, can be found in Lam’s prints, and paintings, I believe the opposite is true. Picasso spoke of what a great influence Lam was on his work. Right after Lam started working in Picasso’s studio, Picasso started taking on a more African influence, in his work, right through the late 30’s, and into the 40’s.

MLA usually has a good selection of his printwork, and has access to original works on paper, and oil paintings by Lam, with good provenance.

Roberto Matta

Usually known as Matta, was one ofChile's best-known painters. Born in Santiago, he initially studied architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, but became disillusioned with this occupation and left for Paris. His travels led him to meet artists such as René Magritte,Salvador DalíAndré Breton, and Le CorbusierHe arrived in Paris in 1934 and was soon working in the architectural studio of Le Corbusier. He also traveled to Italy, Russia and Spain, where he met the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who provided him with a letter of introduction to Salvador Dali. Back in Paris, by 1937, he had exhibited his first drawings and had become a part of the influential Surrealist Group led by Andre Brenton.

It was Breton who provided the major spur to the Chilean's direction in art, encouraging his work and introducing him to the leading members of the Paris Surrealist movement. Matta produced illustrations and articles for Surrealist journals such as Minotaure. During this period he was introduced to the work of many prominent contemporary European artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

By 1938, he was painting and becoming increasingly attracted to the inner self and the unconscious. He put forward a Freudian theory of architecture and painted what he called, "Psycological Morphologies", or, alternatively, "Inscapes". These paintings, which depicted imagery of the unconscious mind, were created with the techniques of "automatic composition" which he had developed within the Surrealist Group.

He spent the war years in New York, where he stayed until 1948. In this period, he greatly influenced the American Surrealist Movement while also being strongly influenced by everything around him. In the early 1940's, he was attracted by the "untameable nature" of the American continent and this is clearly reflected in his art, which becamed more violent, erotic and explosive, yet always within a defined cosmos, one which he believed symbolized the unity of all things. In the middle of that decade, he changed the direction of his work. He met Marcel Duchamp and at the same time became fascinated by the relationship between modern man and the technological world. He used ancient Mexican symbolism to create a new pictorial imagery with which to highlight the alienation of mdoern man in a world dominated by machinery.

He moved back to Europe in 1950 and lived in Rome for four years. From Italy he went to Paris where he stayed until 1969. During this period, he became a French citizen and his style went through further changes. His work becamed more Exprssionistic and began to reflect what became for him his main concern in the late 1960's and beyond: a more political theme is apparant in his paintings but his still pursued his quest for the unconcious. In the highly politicized 1960's, Matta painted a number of mural-sized works depicting themes such as the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle in Alabama. He then divided his time between Paris and Rome where he continued to paint vast, apocalyptic canvases and murals.

Since then Matta  explored other artistic media: in 1990 he worked at the Piombino shipyards in Italy, where he made a 10 meter obelisk "Cosmos Now", representing a finger pointing to the sky. Between that year and 1993 he also worked at the Bonvincini foundry in Verona, where he was the author of a number of bronze statues. In 1992 he also worked in ceramics in the town of Faenza, while in the same year he painted large scale canvases, "Fire is the Depth of Consciousness", is one of them, which aim to represent humanity's deepest awareness. –Nordstamp.  Matta died on November 23rd, 2002.

MLA Gallery has an exquisite selection of some of Matta's most important graphic work. We have access to important oil paintings, and original works on paper.

1 comment

  • Hi this is such a great site! I was researching Gabriel Dawe onnile before his Art Talk tonight at the Dallas Contemporary and found you guys. This is so helpful for Dallas and Texas artists. Are you guys on Twitter? Also, how do I get on your e-mailing list for the new episodes to be sent directly to my inbox? Thanks,Julia Forsyth


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