As with many aspects of life in Cuba, art is benefiting from a growth in interest from the outside world. With more visitors comes a greater appreciation for the history and culture of a country that has long been forbidden fruit for the world travellers, and that interest trickles down to the art world.
Cuba may be set to open up to more visitors and trade agreements in the next few years. If this happens, then interest in the country will continue to grow. Investing in Cuban art now means buyers will be able to ride this wave and sell on their works at a profit or hold on to pieces by artists with high reputations for their own collections.
While the quality and desirability of Cuban art have been apparent to sophisticated collectors for quite some time, recent developments in restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba are spiking the interest in Cuban art among a whole new group of world art buyers and sellers.
Howard Farber, Ella Cisneros and Rosa de la Cruz in Miami were early prominent collectors, while Shelley and Donald Rubin, founders of the Rubin Museum of Tibetan art in New York, have amassed a considerable collection of contemporary Cuban art in more recent years. With the art events like the Havana Biennial and the easing of travel restrictions, a new wave of prominent collectors is expected to travel to Cuba and acquire Cuban art or seek to purchase it from galleries outside Cuba and it is, therefore, no better time to start purchasing artworks from Cuban artists.
The first proposal of ArtWizard to the art collectors is one of the most famous, successful and investment worthy Cuban artists from the beginning of the 20th century - Mariano Rodriguez.
He is often called a "magician", who converted nature's light and forms into a beautiful object. He was a "rebel" against all modern trends already established in his time. A trend that would not give way to any new form of expression.
In 1941 started working on his "Gallos" - roosters that gave him great popularity and one of them were acquired by the New York Museum of Art."I consider myself more an expressionist than an abstract artist since the abstract is foreign to reality and the artist can only give it texture and space. Although I always start from reality, I am always thinking of it and in my themes", he says.
Mariano Rodriquez is one of the Cuban painters that have a very high value in terms of investment in his works. One of his early paintings of "Gallos" was sold by Christie's for over 1 million dollars in May last year.
Mariano Rodríguez was born in Havana and was interested in drawing and painting since boyhood. At age 24 he went to Mexico and met the painter Rodríguez Lozano, who assisted him during his early development. Returning to Cuba, he devoted himself entirely to his painting. In 1937 he was appointed assistant professor at the Escuela Libre de Pintura. Mariano's technique then bore a close resemblance to that of the modern Mexicans but he was already striking out in his own direction, experimenting with chromatic valuations and searching for a vehicle to express his personality. Mariano has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, NY and the Museum of Art, San Francisco. His watercolours are on permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, NY.