Sunday, December 15, 2013

Esteban Valderrama y Pena (1892 – 1964) Matanzas

Esteban Valderrama y Pena
Esteban Valderrama y Pena (1892 – 1964) was born in Matanzas, Cuba on March 16, 1892. At 15 years old he showed outstanding skills for art and started receiving awards and accolades from the Provincial Government of Matanzas, who by 1906 sponsored him to enter the Academias Nacional de Bellas Artes de San Alejandro, La Habana, Cuba in the capital. With high grades, in 1908 he left for Europe in order to complete his studies in the fine art academies of Span and France. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, Madrid and later in 1911, the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France where he graduated with the title of Eléve Definit. During his Parisian stage he received his first award, when in 1915 he was selected in a contest and his artwork was used in the cover of Literaria Mundial Magazine, which at the time was directed by Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario. Later he graduated with a Doctorate of Philosophy and in Education.When World War II started in 1914 he returned to Cuba with his paintings and drawings. One of the highlights of his artistic career was the creation, in 1917, of the provincial seal for the province of Matanzas, Cuba. Valderrama moved to the capital, Havana, where he worked for the newspaper El Heraldo de Cuba, then headed by the prestigious journalist Manuel Marquez Sterling. He worked as an illustrator, publishing full-page portraits of Cuba's heroes from the war of independence. His skill in this genre made him a great portraitist, whose talents made him in high demand for commissioned portraits of celebrities and high-level public officials. In 1915 he entered a painting in an exposition and won first prize. In 1916 he exhibited his works in the VIDA (Life) exposition and the exhibit was eventually displayed in France where his works were celebrated. In 1918 his works earned him another scholarship which he was unable to take advantage of because of his work commitments at Academias Nacional de Bellas Artes de San Alejandro, La Habana, Cuba. He eventually became the director of this prestigious Art Academy. He served as Director in 1935 substituting Leopoldo Romanach, who was known as the Cuban Rembrandt.

Valderrama's style started to change to include landscapes, portraits and group portraits of everyday people, particularly his family members. His creativity developed with avant-garde influences and the impressionism that led to the vanguard era. He was again selected to be the Director of the
Academias Nacional de Bellas Artes de San Alejandro, La Habana, Cuba from 1939 to 1942, from 1949 to 1950, from 1950 to 1953 and from 1953 to 1959. In 1953 he was selected to design the One Peso coin for Cuba, honoring the Centennial of Jose Marti.

His artworks are in Cuba's Presidential Palace, which is now called the Museum of the Revolution, the ceiling of the Hall of the Ambassadors and in many Murals in many towns in Cuba. Among his best known portraits are that of José Martí, created in 1938, for the Embassy of Cuba in Mexico and permanently exhibited in the National Palace in Mexico. Others are the portrait of the world chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca (1940 ) and of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( 1945 ), who posed for the artist on more than one occasion. A sample of his work can be seen in the Matanzas Provincial Historical Archive, which houses some of his portraits. Other of his works are treasured in the collections of the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of the Revolution, The City Museum in Havana and The Matanzas, Cuba Provincial Museum. He died in Havana on April 14, 1964 .


Esteban Valderrama y Pena
 
Esteban Valderrama y Pena


Esteban Valderrama y Pena

Esteban Valderrama y Pena

4 comments:

  1. Hi. I am the Current Owner of One of the Esteban Valderrama Paintings shown here.
    ( the beautiful young woman in the red dress ) I was curious where you found my picture ?
    The painting was listed on a website for sale , but I still own it , and it will be going to an auction in April .

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    1. Hello JL Rodgers, I am not sure where the picture was found as we have collectors worldwide that send us images of works by Cuban artists, for the purpose of having them documented. We only place them online when the signatures appear to match most of the artists work, but do not guarantee their authenticity, as most are not in our collection. If you send us your full name we will be more than glad to place it under the artwork, so that it is labeled correctly. Thanks so much!!

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  2. Hello , again . I do appreciate the exposure by having the painting on your site , because as I said , I will be offering it for sale . For the time being , due to security purposes ,
    You can just list J Law Rodgers with the painting .If you have an email to send them to , I can send you more pictures of the painting . As far as the painting itself , it has been authenticated by a Senior Art Appraiser ,Restorer and International Art Lawyer, who currently lives in Miami.
    Thank you

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  3. Esteban Valderrama was a great family friend on my mother's side, my grandmother was best friends with his lovely wife. I was lucky when he asked my mother if I could sit for him because he wanted to paint a portrait of me with a mantilla, I did and then he was so sweet an amazing to paint a portrait if me for my 14th birthday. As soon as the revolution came to Cuba in January 1959 he gave the mantilla portrait to my parents. My family and I left Cuba to the US and both paintings were stole.

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