Permanent Collection - Museo Nacional de la Cerámica Contemporánea Cubana

The production of Cuban artistic ceramics began in 1950 with the establishment of the Santiago de las Vegas workshop in a small town to the south of Havana. Its traditional work in pottery was undertaken under the management of Juan Miguel Rodríguez de la Cruz.
Outstanding contemporary artists were invited by de la Cruz to decorate vases and plaques in his workshop under the technical direction of Amelia Peláez, Wifredo Lam, René Portocarrero and Mariano Rodríguez, known personalities from Cuban art. Specialists in ceramics such as Mirta García Buch, Rebeca García Robés, Marta Arjona Pérez and José Miguel González also later contributed.

This room is dedicated to the aforementioned Amelia Peláez, the celebrtaed painter who created her own workshop after working with Juan Migue Rodríguez de la Cruz. Her style merged the language of the European artistic vanguard with the need for a national expression.

The 1960s saw the development of another asset in the creation in ceramics with the government’s foundation of the Cubanacán Workshop. This workshop was designed for artists who were interested not only in decoration but also in the creation of voluminous “ad hoc” pieces. An exception to this sculptural development in ceramics was Reinaldo Calvo who continued to work with the mediums that helped him to win the silver medal in the International Artistic Ceramics Biennial in France in 1970.
Alfredo Sosabravo, painter, sketcher, sculptor and now ceramicist created his Aparatos series, one of which won him the gold medal at the International Artistic Ceramics competition in Faenza in 1976. He is the most outstanding and influential of the group of artists that also include Julia González (specialist in the incorporation of vegetable elements into clay), José Antonio Rodríguez Fuster (naïve language) and Fernando Velázquez Vigil (dramatic artistic expression in his objects).

This space exhibits objects by artists related to the Cubanacán Workshop including Osvaldo Cabrera, Julio Velázquez Ronda and Angel Rogelio Oliva, who contributed to Cubanacán’s last stages as generator of art. Following this the government would ease the creation of their own workshops for artists which led to the establishment of two great collectives in Nueva Gerona (Isla de la Juventud) and Playa de Varadero.
The room also displays the work of painters such as Nelson Domínguez, Zaida del Río and Flora Fong, all of whom at some point decorated ceramics, and the vases of Salvador Corratgé, abstract expressionist painter from the 1950s.
From this point on and as part of the plate-decorating tradition, the work of the painters Aniceto Mario Díaz and Isavel Gimeno, and the cartoonist Manuel Hernández is also included.
Room five has a section dedicated to sculptors whose ultimate aesthetic end was ceramics. Evelio Lecour is represented by pieces from three different moments of intense work; Jorge Ferrero takes on biblical themes; Gloria Lorenzo plays with abstract volumes; Oscar Rodríguez Lasseria is the author of strong and imaginative surrealist visions; and Hugo Rubio, Idilio López Arnaud and Pastor Pérez showcase work from different periods and intentions.

Towards the 1980s large factories of industrial ceramics were established on Isla de la Juventud. Artists from different regions in the country joined the experimental workshop of Nueva Gerona with the aim of creating prototypes for large-scale production. Although the idea did not bear consistent results artists took advantage of the occasion to establish the Terracota IV group. This group created real installations which placed their products on a par with those from other countries.
The members of the group are Amelia Carballo, José Ramón González, Angel Norniella and Agustín Villafaña; all artists whose style is well-defined.
In this same room there is a also a work by Alexis Acanda who has also worked with the group although he is not an official member. His work specialises in the theme of emigration.

The museum works on the hypothesis that Cuban artistic ceramics are on the same creative plain as other aesthetic disciplines in the country. The organisation of personal exhibitions and collective events therefore allows the growth of the museum’s permanent collection. In particular the Amelia Peláez Ceramics Biennial (held at the museum since 1991) has allowed us to discover new personalities whose merits have won them a place in the permanent collection.
The remaining space in the museum is dedicated to Rafael Miranda, author of the great sculptural volumes related to reflections on the exploration of the internal in human beings; Osmany Betancourt, expressionist of volumetric projections; Gilberto Guttiérrez, whose wall installations encourage a solid philosophical introspection; Roberto Jiménez, who concentrates on the execution of linked cloisters which induce reflections on confinement; Luis Grasso (Zulimo), who has a wide communicational range; Carlos Alberto Rodríguez, author of sensual sculptural forms; Sergio Raffo, who murals reflect his version of xylography; and other srtists such as Edel Arencibia and David Velázquez Vigil.
This section also exhibits a collection of vases by a family of ceramicists: Sebastián Chavez (father) and David and Isaac (sons).

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