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Carreño, Mario (1913–1999) By Estevez, Lisandra

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1747-1
Published: 01/10/2017
Retrieved: 23 July 2024, from


Mario Carreño was one of Cuba’s leading modern artists. Born on 24 May 1913 in Havana, he was part of a generation of young artists working in Cuba in the late 1930s and early 1940s that rejected the conservative style and thinking of the Academia de San Alejandro, the country’s dominant art institution and embraced the new modernist idiom that synthesized Cubism, Surrealism, Mexican Muralism and Classicism. Prolific and versatile, he worked as a painter, illustrator and sculptor. His early designs integrated the pictorial language of Cubism and embraced a socialist view in their heterodox subject matter. In 1936, he travelled to Mexico where the monumental forms and nationalist themes of Mexican Muralism had a powerful impact on his development as a painter. During this time, he was also mentored by the Dominican painter Jaime Colson (1901–1975). A formative trip with Colson to Paris in 1938 introduced Carreño to the Louvre’s encyclopaedic collection of classical art. Carreño created a visual language that framed issues of Cuban national identity. Active in Cuba’s vanguardia (or vanguard movement), he sought to re-define the visual aesthetics of Cuban Modernism. Carreño constantly experimented with both materials and subject matter. His ever-changing and dynamic styles helped to redefine the aesthetics of Cuban art in the 1940s.

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Estevez, Lisandra. Carreño, Mario (1913–1999). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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