Victor Manuel Garcia

Gitana Tropical - Tropical Gypsy, 1929

Victor Manuel was the first one; with him started our golden age.

Manuel Garcia Valdes was born in Havana in 1897 and died in 1969. Started to study painting at the age of 12 although was already painting since he was 6 or 7 years old. Studied in the San Alejandro School of Arts and at fourteen is named unofficially as a professor of elemental drawings. Studied with Romañac and was not until he was 19, that his own talent was revealed, as himself confessed.

Opened his first exposition in Havana, at "Las Galleries", in 1924. Traveled to France in 1925 and toured the country for two years, where a group of artist in Montparnase named him "Victor Manuel."

Opens new exhibitions in 1927 at the salons of the Sculpture and Painters Associations. This is one of the first steps for the "modern Cuban painting" era. For a year or two teaches free of charge to other painters along the island. After another trip to Europe which included Spain and Belgium, comes back to Havana in 1929.

Obtains the first prize at an exhibition in the Lyceum in 1935. Open his own exhibitions at the University of Havana, 1945; the Reporters' Association, 1951; Galeria Lex, 1956; Venice, Italy, and national galleries in 1959.

He always thought that artists should first posses expressive simplicity. He would not conceive art that was not human, as he said: "...for me art is not a refuge, but an expression."

The themes of Victor Manuel are out of time, more or less the same in all of his work, the faces of women, landscapes, parks, countrysides. "I am like any Cuban of my era, that not having that much to do, they would make love... ...I once saw a Picasso: a profile of a woman made on fabric that I thought it was wonderful; almost faint at its sight." The classics were his passion, Clouet, Signorelli, Fouquet, Van Dyck, Divino Morales, Leonardo and Giorgione. Of Brueghel he said: "That is what I want for me." Among his work: 'Gitana Tropical',1924; 'Novios',1940; 'Acuarela',1940.