critical texts


Armando Maribona

... In or small world of the Art we do not know for sure where he studied, how, or with whom.

At first glance you could see, and you can still see his humorous, decorative intentions. And he is the only black artist —as far as we know—that deals with black people’s topics in his art (...) Maybe that is why he turns his eyes —restless under the encouragement of irony—, with warmth and tenderness to his underestimated race. Long time before Guillén brilliantly sing his negro bembón, Hernández–Cárdenas was already being the target of criticisms... for caricaturing his physical and psychological characteristic, from his “chiquita de sociedad” to his vieja desahuciada.

Hernández–Cárdenas took by storm the editorial departments —those generous, hospitable editorial departments that do not say no to the talent of their fellow countrymen—, and the Association of Artists, carrying only these weapons: his impeccable white smile, his clear spirit of an understanding man who harbors no envy, and his drawings in which he goes beyond all this between lines and colors. The friendship with this black boy —a friendship he honestly offers— would be hard to reject... or his charming drawings. Just as he knows he is black without getting sad for that reason, for that has not been obstacle to succeed, his drawings are just the way they are, without him getting concern about how other people’s drawings are. And it is that simplicity and frankness of him and his drawings —without twists and turns, without complications, without “isms”, without tricks to impress—, what have make them unmistakable and attractive. He succeeded in Havana and he went to Mexico.

In Mexico he was very successful... A very sad accident temporality shot down his optimistic, good-humored smile. Everybody, his friends and the judges, were by his side. His enemies? He never had any. The sympathies, praises, and requests did not fall after his accident.

Back to Cuba, the volume of his humor and the strokes of his paintbrush continue flowing, reaching us through daily and weekly papers. His line continues to be thick and confident, giving the sensation of a difficult simplicity...

In this exhibition “Exposición Hernández–Cárdenas”, recently brought to a close —his second one in Havana— we already know him as Her–Car, a simplification of his two surnames, in correspondence with his technique. He has taken this sobriety so far that he has produced shorthand —but still majestic— landscapes, and figures full of expression achieved through just a few strokes. His many good moves he does not get them by means of technical juggling, but by means of righteousness and simplicity; virtues of aesthete instead of displays of patient perfectionist.


Armando Maribona

Published in “Arquitectura y Artes Decorativas” (Havana). Year II, Nº 1, January, 1932, pages 36 and 37.