Jorge Arche

Jugadores de Domino - Domino Players

Jorge Arche Born Santo Domingo, Cuba, 1905. Died Cadiz, Spain, 1956

Jorge Arche began to study painting at age thirteen in the Fundacion Villate of the Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pais, located in Havana. In 1923 he entered San Alejandro, where he studied for years but did not complete the requirements for graduation. In the late 1920s he associated with Victor Manuel, following the latter's artistic orientations and advice.

Arche developed his own style in the early 1930s, as seen in one of his most renowned paintings, Retrato de Aristides Fernandez (Portrait of Aristides Fernandez, 1933 ). In this portrait of his friend and colleague (who died prematurely a year later) he found his favorite subject matter and his personal style of simplified naturalism. In the following years he recorded himself, his wife, leading intellectuals and artists of his generation, and the apostle of Cuban independence, Jose Marti, in portraits of increasing realistic details, chromatic intensity, and polished surfaces. A salient example is Retrato de Fernando Ortiz (Portrait of Fernando Ortiz, 1941). Arche also painted genre scenes--La carta (The Letter, 1935) and Jugadores de domino (Domino Players, 1941) are examples--and scenes of work--such as Trabajadores (Workers, 1938) and Castillo de Atares (stares Fortress, 1941). Although his style represented a purification and restatement of academic art, rather than a break with it, he nevertheless joined the ranks of the vanguardia movement.

In the First and Second National Salons, held in Havana in 1935 and 1938, Arche exhibited in the rooms reserved for modern (as opposed to academic) art and received purchase awards in both (for La carta 1935 and for Mi mujer y yo [My Wife and I] in 1938). In 1937 he participated in a mural project for a pedagogical school in Santa Clara. That same year he collaborated with other modern artists in teaching at the Free Studio of Painting and Sculpture.

In the last decade of his life Arche helped organize a fine arts school in the city of Camaguey. He also made various trips to Mexico, painting native scenes and landscapes. The majority of his works are in Cuban private collections and his major paintings are in the collection of the National Museum of Cuba.