Raquel Lazaro

Ship, 1984

Raquel Lazaro. Raquel was born in Havana in 1917. Raquel Lazaro's educational career in Cuba was distinguished by prudence, discipline, and enthusiasm. The instruction then offered by the old Academy of San Alejandro-defective and lax sin ce the institution's beginnings -was hopelessly outdated and adverse to freedom of expression. nevertheless, like a plant struggling for survival against a hostile environment, Raquel decided to extract from it all that could possibly be of benefit. Young people of spirit are not wont to put up with narrow-mindedness and lack of generosity, and the Academy has had a long history of student rebellion.

Raquel, however, preferred to apply herself to the point of surpassing in skill some of her instructors. S he was, as I have said, distinguished for prudence. Time and a change of environment have permitted her escape from academic routine, however, and today she has achieved full artistic independence. All is supported by a palette that is skillfully ordere d and rich in significance. As a colorist, Raquel Lazaro is a legitimate descendant of the artists who first brought freedom to Cuban painting. Amid the fervor of artistic novelty that swept Havana in the years in which Lazaro was studying at the Academy of San Alejandro, color was proclaimed to be the true expression of the Cuban spirit and its impact upon the country's painting can still be felt today, forty years later.

The "modern masters" of Cuban art were at their apogee and color blazed in the canv ases of all -Amelia Pelaez, Cundo Bermudez, Carlos Enriquez, Mario Carreño, Felipe Orlando, Osvaldo Gutierrez. One can even find timid reflections of this enthusiasm in the work of Victor Manuel. Though anathema to the official art of the day, it h as stood the test of time. The tradition lives on-and develops With a new awareness of the expressionistic possibilities of color, Cuban artists of today-wherever they may find themselves - are reconsidering the work of their immediate predecessors, see king to restate their lesson of spontaneity and sensuality.

Raquel Lazaro is one of those who hold that the achievement of artistic maturity and the development of a language of one's own must spring from the accomplishment of the generation that went bef ore. The light, the heat, and the tropical sky of Miami help Raquel Lazaro to recreate, in her mind's eye, the color and the spirit of Cuba. Persistent in effort, constant in advance, she strives to enlarge ever more the horizon of her aesthetic sensiti vity. Lazaro participated in group shows in Havana as early as 1956, and her work has been well received at collective exhibitions in the Miami area In 1978 several of her compositions figured in a presentation at the Museum of Modern Art of Latin Ameri ca in Washington, D.C.