Back to top

Focus on: Wifredo Lam

Miami— April 06, 2020—There is no way around it: The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the art world by canceling auctions, art fairs, museum and gallery exhibitions, and a head-spinning shift for digital outlets, not to mention the broad emotional impact social-distancing is having on society. During these challenging and confusing times, we reflect on the past and consider possibilities for the future. We don’t know what the art market or the broader art world will look like on the other side of this unprecedented moment but having lived through other crises, we know that this one too, will pass.  

The art market has the ability to self-regulate supply and demand.  When there is relatively high liquidity in the market and the economy is healthy, art changes hands more frequently.  In more uncertain times, prices tend to remain relatively stable for works by established artists, while contemporary works with shorter histories experience more price volatility.  Today, we reflect on Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), a Modern master who lived through war and revolution, and, to this day, he remains the most celebrated Cuban artist of the 20th century. 

Lam was one of the very few artists from beyond the borders of the American and European art worlds to become a genuine star in those locales in the mid-20th century.  Lam’s work had a decidedly European look as he traveled to Spain in the 1920s and later moved to France, and he became closely acquainted with Pablo Picasso and the leading figures of the Surrealist movement.  In 1941, he fled the war in Europe and returned to Cuba, where he rediscovered the Afro-Caribbean myths, art forms, and religious practices that had influenced his early childhood. These aspects were transmitted into his work and made it undeniably Cuban in its mythology and cultural references.  Lam hybridized mainstream European Modernism with these non-Western traditions and used the unique visual language that resulted to raise questions of social injustice and redemption. In the process, he reasserted the vibrant heritage of the African Diaspora, while formulating a poetic intercultural dialogue that remains relevant to this day.

In the recent past, curators from important institutions such as Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Tate Gallery in London have recognized Lam’s historical importance, dedicating major retrospective exhibitions.  Today, the artist’s works are held in international collections such as the The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Gallery in London, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and others.  

To learn more about Lam and available works click here

During times of social seclusion,  Tresart Gallery continues offering its characteristic personal approach.  We remain available for video conferences and phone calls to discuss your collection’s needs. To schedule a video conference or a call, click here


Photo Wifredo Lam in his studio, 1964, courtesy of Eskil Lam.