A Cuban painter whose abstract figurative contour lines and passages of color depicted the tropical nature and the Cuban women. Portocarrero’s paintings have been largely influenced by Wifredo Lam’s work.
Born in the neighborhood of El Cerro, Havana, in 1912. He began painting from an early age and at 14, René Portocarrero entered the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts. Having a strong temperament and unable to adapt to this apprenticeship, he left the institution and started working on his own. His work was first exhibited at the Salon of Fine Arts in Havana. Portocarrero was a professor at the Free Institute of Painting and Sculpture directed by Eduardo Abela in 1939. The artist traveled through Haiti, Europe and the US, where he opened an exhibition at the Julian Levy Gallery, in New York, in 1945. He also worked on many murals and ceramics.
He painted tirelessly since his childhood and never planned any of his work. In his spontaneity, he had no idea what work he would create until the brush was about to strike the canvas.
Portocarrero's works are exhibited in the permanent collections of the Museums of Modern Arts of: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and San Francisco; at the National Gallery in Canada; at Bellas Artes, Caracas; the Milwaukee Art Center, The Pan American Union in Washington; Modern Arts of Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Art Museum, Indianapolis; Bellas Artes, Montevideo; Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Instituto de Arte Contemporaneo, Lima, Peru; and at the National Museum in Havana.
The artist died in Havana on April 7, 1985.