1927-2001 | Cuban
Signed with artist's monogram and numbered 5/8 (on base)
Bronze with black patina on marble base
Infused with a crisp modernity and subtle sensuality, this bronze sculpture by Cuban-born artist Agustin Cárdenas is an exceptional example of late-20th-century Latin American art. Depicting two figures locked in an intimate embrace, Couple represents a marriage of his various influences — both his embrace of an African-inspired aesthetic and a surrealist abstraction that dominated European modernism. In particular, it pays homage to the sculpted works of the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, depicting the same organic forms and consciousness of line as the celebrated artist. Cárdenas proves himself a master in provoking an innate sensuality in his minimalist forms; his poetic, curved Couple embodies his exploration of the fine line between abstraction and figurative representation.
A founding member of the highly influential group of artists known as Los Once (The Eleven), Cárdenas was one of the earliest adopters and advocates of abstraction in Cuban art. Early in his career, he discovered the works of Hans Arp, Henry Moore and Brâncuși, which clearly had a profound impact on the young artist. He eagerly adopted a similar sparseness of figure, creating his own unique version of the modernist, avant-garde style. He moved to Paris in 1955, quickly befriending the Surrealist André Breton, whom he exhibited alongside the following year. Yet, though his sculptures reveal the influence of the Surrealists, his complex output defies a finite categorization.
Born in 1927 in Matanzas, Cuba, Cárdenas studied at the Academia de San Alejandro in Havana. However, he quickly moved beyond the classical tropes that he learned during his formal education. After his move to Paris, he fully developed his distinctive style that incorporated organic forms and elegant silhouettes in a skillful mixture of abstraction and figuration. Couples and women were among his favorite subjects, and he imbued them with a symbolism that allowed him to explore their many facets across multiple forms.
Both during his life and after his death, his work has been the subject of a number of exhibitions, including shows at the Cuba Palacio de Bellas Artes (Havana, 1955), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, 1959) and the National Museum of Bellas Artes (Havana, 1993). Today, his works can be found in museums around the world, including the Musée d'Art Moderne (Paris), the Museo d'Arte Moderna (Rome), the Pompidou Centre (Paris) and the Modern Art Museum (Tel Aviv).
11 3/4" wide x 7" deep x 24" high