Front Door to Cuba

Víctor Patricio Landaluze

An excerpt from
Nationalizing Blackness Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1040
by Robin D. Moore
University of Pittsburg Press, 1997
Pg. 21

Like many costumbrista artists, Landaluze was born in Spain. His tendency to ridicule what he considered unique and laughable in Cuban society was a source of embarrassment to members of the isleño bourgeoisie, who took pains to avoid these subjects in artistic expression (Castellanos 1990, 28). Landaluze is especially interesting as an early representative of Cuban nationalist art, despite his strong allegiance to Spain and his conservative political views. As Portuondo points out, "This man, who was a decided enemy of [Cuban] independence and other progressive political movements… was also the initiator of Cuban painting," Some suggest that the works of Landaluze directly anticipate those of the afrocubanismo vanguard of the 1920s and 1930s (Castellanos 1990, 13). Whatever his status, Landaluze provides some of the best visual documentation available on Afrocuban expressive arts in the nineteenth century and of Cuban society generally.

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