In writing this book I meant to fill one of many gaps in the study of modern Latin American and Caribbean art. While the so-called vanguardia generation of Cuban painters has received some critical attention in surveys of Latin American art and in articles and catalogue essays, no comprehensive study of this significant and early modern movement in Caribbean and Latin American painting exists. My aim in providing a detailed account of this generation's contributions to the region's art and culture was to disseminate essential and yet difficult to obtain information (particularly in English) on this generation of painters, to expand the discussion of the relationship between modern European and Cuban art, and to extend the discourse on the connections among Cuban art, culture, and society. The theme that motivates and informs this study is the examination of the artistic symbolization of national identity or ethos. My intended audience is all those persons working or otherwise interested in the field of modern Latin American, Caribbean, and Cuban art and culture.
I would like to thank my colleagues as well as family and friends of the artists included in this study for their enthusiastic contribution to this project. I am particularly grateful to my former professors Robert Hobbs and Darrell Levi for guiding my efforts in the initial shaping of the manuscript. I owe a large debt of gratitude to the noted Cuban historian Louis A. Pérez, Jr.; to Ramón Vásquez Diaz, the leading specialist in early modern Cuban art at the Museo Nacional de Cuba; to eminent Latin American art historian Shifra M. Goldman; and to art historian and curator of modern and contemporary Cuban art Giulio V. Blanc for reading the manuscript and making many helpful suggestions. I am indebted to the Art History Department of Florida State University for its seminal role in this study. Many thanks to librarians Lesbia O. Varona and Ana Rosa Nufiez of the University of Miami Otto Richter Library for their warm and expert as-