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The Lost Generation

Women Ceramicists and the Cuban Avant-Garde

On View:
Saturday, June 29, 2024 — Sunday, September 29, 2024

Curated By:
Elizabeth Thompson Goizueta

Organized By:
McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College


The Lost Generation: Women Ceramicists and the Cuban Avant-Garde examines the participants and artistic output from 1949 to 1959 of the Taller de Santiago de las Vegas, a ceramic workshop on the outskirts of Havana. A decade of artistic experimentation primarily by little-known women ceramicists had deep reverberations both for the acceptance of ceramics as a fine art form in Cuba and for the symbiotic relationship that flourished between the ceramicists and the painters, largely men, who visited the Taller to learn the craft. The painters in turn applied new techniques and methodologies to their two-dimensional production, now regarded as synonymous with the Cuban avant-garde (vanguardia).

At the helm of the Taller was a physician, Juan Miguel Rodríguez de la Cruz, who formed and fired the ceramics and hired mainly women, many of whom were trained at the prestigious Academia San Alejandro and other fine arts schools, to decorate the wares. These ceramicists created their own styles, establishing an artistic movement that garnered national and international recognition. Rebeca Robés Massés, Marta Arjona, María Elena Jubrías, Mirta García Buch, Amelia Peláez, and numerous others were key ceramicists at the Taller. They and Rodríguez de la Cruz welcomed the participation of renowned modernist painters, including René Portocarrero, Wifredo Lam, Raúl Milián, Luis Martínez Pedro, and Mariano Rodríguez. The trajectory of ceramics following the Cuban Revolution of 1959 is also explored in the exhibition; many of those who worked at the Taller went on to found their own independent workshops, furthering the commercialization, and acceptance, of fine art modernist ceramics on the island.

Featuring vases, mugs, water jugs, murals, and plates drawn from premier private and gallery collections, The Lost Generation displays for the first time many of the Taller’s finest ceramics in conversation with dozens of paintings by Peláez, Portocarrero, Lam, Martínez Pedro, Mariano, and others.

Organized by the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, The Lost Generation has been curated by Elizabeth Thompson Goizueta and underwritten by Boston College with major support from the Patrons and the Hispanic Art Initiative of the McMullen Museum. At the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, The Lost Generation is funded by FIU CasaCuba and generously sponsored by Cernuda Arte.



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