Wifredo Lam

“My painting is an act of decolonization not in a physical sense, but in a mental one.”

Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) was born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, and eventually moved to Havana where he attended the School of Fine Arts. Shortly after, he left for Spain in 1923, where in Madrid, he studied at the studio of Salvador Dali’s teacher, Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor. (Read More)

Explore artwork

With an increased interest in artist Pablo Picasso, whom Lam worked with, he was encouraged to study primitive art. Surrounded by the artistic movements rising in Europe at the time, the effects of Surrealism are evident in his work. As a person of mixed heritage, the son of a Chinese father and a mother of mixed African, Indian, and European descent, Lam became heavily influenced with a religion called Santería. The blending of various traditions and beliefs is evident in Lam’s work and his signature muted palette is well recognized around the world. 

Lam exhibited his work alongside Picasso at the Perls Galleries in New York and there’s been many retrospectives on his work in museums worldwide. He is known for his fusion of Surrealism, Cubism, and elements of Caribbean culture. He developed a new awareness of Afro-Cuban traditions and focused on evolving his style that sought to show humanity. 

In 1964, he received the Guggenheim International Award and his work has been acquired and exhibited in major museum, including Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City;  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; Museum of Modern Art, Brussels,Belgium; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana, USA. He passed in 1982 with well more than one hundred personal exhibitions. 


Important Exhibitions

2021    Wifredo Lam: Pleni Luna, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, USA

2016    The EY Exhibition: Wifredo Lam, Tate Modern, London, England

2015    Wifredo Lam, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2010    Wifredo Lam, 1902 – 1982, Voyages entre caraïbes et avants-gardes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France

2008    Wifredo Lam: An Homage, Coral Gables Museum, Florida, USA

2007 – 2008    Wifredo Lam in North America, Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California

2006    El Último Viaje del Buque Fantasma, Museo Histórico Provincial de Cienfuegos, Cuba

2002 – 2003    Wifredo Lam: The Changing Image, Centennial Exhibition, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan

1993    Wifredo Lam, Grafik, National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Wifredo Lam, obras sobre papel, Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, México

1991    Wifredo Lam desconocido, Cases de Las Americas, Cuarta Bienal de la Havana, La Havana, Cuba

1985 – 1987    Wifredo Lam, Pintura y Obra Gráfica 1938-1976, Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá, Colombia; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museo de Artes Plásticas, Montevideo, Uruguay

1982 – 1983    Wifredo Lam, 1902-1982, Musée d’Arte Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Musée d’ixelles, Brussels, Belgium

Homenaje a Wifredo Lam 1902-1982, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, Spain

1979    Wifredo Lam, The Jungle, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France

1978 – 1979    Wifredo Lam, Bosque de Chapultepec, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, México

1968    Wifredo Lam, Museum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland

1967    Wifredo Lam, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

1952    Wifredo Lam, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England