Wifredo Arcay Cuban, 1925-1997


'The perfection of Cuba’s Cubists'

- Jean Arp

Arcay (b. 1925 Havana, Cuba - d. 1997 Paris, France) emerged among the postwar generation of the Ecole de Paris as a painter, muralist and as a printmaker. Born in Cuba and trained at Havana’s Academia de San Alejandro, Arcay arrived in Paris on a grant in 1949. He quickly assimilated within the milieu of post-Cubist abstraction, studying with Edgard Pillet and Jean Dewasne at their Atelier d’art abstrait. In 1951, at the invitation of André Bloc, the influential editor of the journal Art d’Aujourd’hui, Arcay set up a studio at Bloc’s villa in Meudon, mingling amongst such luminaries of the historical avant-garde as Jean Arp, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Fernand Léger. 


While celebrated as a printmaker, Arcay painted only through the 1950s and 1960s, sending work to the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1951-54) and regularly to Cuba. He exhibited as part of the Cuban delegation to the São Paolo Biennale (1955) and frequently at Havana’s Galería Color-Luz, a pioneering outpost of geometric abstraction. A member of both the Constructivist Groupe Espace, founded by Bloc and Félix Del Marle in 1951, and the short-lived Cuban group Los Diez Pintores Concretos (1959-61), Arcay personified the rich diversity and internationalism of postwar abstraction. 


The artist was recently included in the 2019 Reina Sofia exhibition in Madrid, Loved, Lost and Loose in Paris: Foreign Artists in Paris 1944-1968.