(b Havana, Oct 31 1897; d Havana, Feb 1, 1969).
Cuban painter and teacher. He is generally considered to be the initiator of modernism in Cuba. From 1910 he studied at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana and taught elementary drawing there until 1925, when he went to Paris. There he formed part of the Latin American artistic and literary Grupo de Montparnasse and abandoned academic painting. On his return to Cuba in 1927 he participated in the Asociación de Pintores y Escultores exhibition in Havana, which marked the official beginning of modern painting in Cuba. As a teacher and avant-garde painter he had a considerable influence on painters of his own and succeeding generations.
Víctor Manuel reconciled Parisian modernism with traditional Cuban themes and elements in order to create works that were at once culturally specific and cosmopolitan. Tropical Gypsy (1927; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.) is his best-known painting, referring to Gauguin and modern European art while seeking to portray a national icon, the ...