Eduardo Michaelsen

Los Gallitos - The Little Cocks, 1986

Eduardo Michaelsen, Santiago de Cuba, 1920. "My grandfather was a German Consul to Cuba. He was quite versatile; he was a musician and an artist and spoke eight languages. My mother was Cuban. I first arrived in Havana on May 1 1939 at th e age of nineteen but it was not until 1944 that I started at San Alejandro. I lasted only five months there; drawing courses were required for two years and I was interested in color and naive painting. My real teacher was Walt Disney; I am quite childis h when it comes to painting. In 1945 I was hired by the National Museum as a tour guide and three months later I was promoted to the technical department. The restorers taught me their technique .The first person to encourage me to show my work was Angel Acosta in 1961. Every time I exhibited my work in Cuba it was a sell out to the Italian Embassy and the French and Yugoslavian as well. Most of my collectors in Cuba were foreigners. I hove always pointed the tropics regional customs folklore and I find i nspiration in the songs of the Matamoros Trio; nothing can be more Cuban than that. Perhaps that is why I was so successful. But in spite of it I could not stay there. The local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution declared me persona non grata bec ause for some time I gave room and board to people who were awaiting exit permits. Prior to leaving I was under house arrest for fourteen days. The French Cultural Attache sent me food with his chauffeur until I was able to leave through Mariel. I feel co mfortable in San Francisco painting my colonial landscapes."