Wichie Torres is a prolific painter who uses vibrant, intense colors and a short brush stroke. He is known as a Costumbrista for his depiction of the people, the landscapes and the culture of Puerto Rico.
Don Quijote is one of his favorite themes. Throughout the years he has painted Quijotes in all colors and flavors. The paintings emphasize Quijote’s mustache and beard, just like the book by Miguel de Cervantes did.
Quijote Desafiante by Wichie Torres
Quijote by Wichie Torres
Some of Wichie Torres’ paintings can be seen at the Museo de Arte de Ponce; The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan; The Museum of History, Anthropology and Art at the University of Puerto Rico’s; and at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art.
The paintings of Arnaldo Roche Rabell, born in 1955 in Puerto Rico, are best described as huge and dramatic. He uses enormous canvases, bright colors and a pallet knife. He covers his live models in the raw canvas and then rubs the paint on to get a silhouette of their bodies and faces. After their picture is impregnated in the fabric, Roche Rachell keeps putting layer upon layer of paint until a complex expressionistic character arises. Watch how he works in this video.
How many people can you press into one great painting? Well, if your doing a painting of a market and your name is Laurent Casimir 500 or more will do. The Haitian painter (1927-1990) started his series of detailed crowded market scenes in the sixties. Using mostly red, orange and yellow he created an original style that soon was copied by many others, resulting in a Haitian archetype.
Laurent Casimir set the tone for Haiti’s paintings of markets with his ‘Crowded Market Scenes’ series
Laurent Casimir joined the Centre d’Art in Port au Prince in 1946 and later attended the Foyer of Fine Arts. His work soon attracted the attention of international collectors. By the mid seventies he had a school of his own, where his apprentices would fill in the colors and Casimir would add his signature.
Nowadays he is generally regarded as one of the Caribbean’s first great painters. But in his time, Trinidad born Michel-Jean Cazabon (1813-1888) was appreciated more in Europe than in his country.
by Jorge Cuartas
Michel-Jean Cazabon came from a rather wealthy family of free colored immigrants from Martinique, who owned a sugar plantation. At the age of 24 he was sent to Paris to study medicine, where he decided to concentrate on painting.
Cazabon started painting under Paul Delaroche, a leading painter of that time in Paris. He soon became popular as a society painter of Trinidad scenery; and of portraits of planters and merchants of Port of Spain. It is due to his paintings that we have a fair view of Trinidad’s way of life in the 19th century.
His works include images of the Caroni river, the Port of Spain docks, sea views and other landscapes. He preferred using watercolors combining stunning pallets that remain fresh and bright to this day. Some of this most important works are part of the following collections:
‘Views of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1851)
‘The Harris Collection’ (44 paintings, 1848-1854)
‘Album of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1857)
In England and France his work was much admired and he won several awards and medals at exhibitions. His first exhibition was at the Salon du Louvre in 1839, followed by expositions every year from 1843 to 1847. Back at home his art was much less appreciated. Disillusioned with life he became a drunken eccentric.
After his death in 1888, Cazabon’s style gained more recognition in the region and his influence grew. Today he is considered to be one of the first great painters of the Caribbean. His work is appreciated for the rich details and for the use of light and shadow.
His scenes of a clean, natural and unspoiled Trinidad show a country as it was before the heavy industrialization of the twentieth century.To many Trinidadians the scenes are familiar, creating a tremendous sense of nostalgia.