critical texts


Samuel Feijóo in retrospective: notes for an exhibition
Roberto Cobas Amate
The examination of Samuel Feijóo’s visual work, conceived within forty years of intense work (1937-1977), constitutes not only a fact well deserved by the chronologic length of his artistic work, but also an act of historic justice setting on its rightful place the painting of one of the most original and anxious creators of the Island’s plastic scene in the 20th century.

In the paintings accomplished by Samuel Feijóo during the first lustrum of the forties is indispensable to register a resemblance of the aspects that links it with the blazing phenomenon from that time that was the school of Havana. Feijóo acts like a free electron, revolving around within the orbit of this movement. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t take an active role in these events or that his pictures weren’t well-known then. Today, before them, we realize that we are in the presence of a painter whose peculiar artistic gaze has a lot in common with the esthetic hypothesis of Cuban modernism. Some of his most significant canvas from this period represent innermost scenes, of speckled composition and profusely colorful, in which the shapes intertwine themselves and create a luxuriant ornamentation, on the same wavelength with the work of some of the most important artists of the moment. Thus, interesting associations are made, for instance, among the female figures that Portocarrero conceives in his “Interiores del Cerro con Mujer en un interior”(Indoors of the Hill with Female inside) or Feijóo’s “Señora con flor” (Lady with a flower), carried out simultaneously. Or between Portocarrero’s “Festines” (feasts) from 1943 and Feijóo’s “La cena” (The supper) from 1944. There are also attractive coincidences with the painting of Mariano Rodríguez, such as “La pecera” (The fishbowl), title that originates several paintings accomplished by both artists in 1942, and whose theme is employed as a metaphor about the suffocating isolation of the female world at that time.

Roberto Cobas Amate. Samuel Feijóo in retrospective: notes for an exhibition. National Fine Arts Museum, 2008.