Gattorno, Antonio (1904–1980) By Holian, Sarah
Cuban painter and illustrator Antonio Gattorno is recognized as one of the founding members of the Cuban vanguardia (avant-garde) of the late 1920s to early 1930s in Havana; a movement that sought to define a national iconography through the people and landscape of Cuba. Like many of his colleagues in Cuba, Gattorno studied painting at the San Alejandro Academy before earning a scholarship to travel to Italy, Spain, and France between 1920–1927. During this period, Gattorno studied Italian classicism and works by Paul Gauguin, which he later used to formulate his own figurative style of portraying the guajiro (Cuban peasant) that dominated the subject matter of his work for the following decade. During the mid-1920s, he also joined the Grupo Minorista, a group of Cuban leftist critics, writers, and artists who cautioned of United States imperialist influence and promoted a Hispano-Cuban vernacular culture. Gattorno signed the group’s manifesto published in the avant-garde journal Revista de avance (1927–1930) that called for a rejection of academic art and a renewal of Cuban art. Inspired by the political work of the Mexican Muralists, Gattorno also painted a number of large-scale murals (many now lost) in Havana at the Teachers’ Training College, the Capitular Room of Town Hall, and the private residence of Dr. Gustavo Gutierrez.