Daniel Serra Badue (1914-1996)

The Letter

Born in Santiago de Cuba, Daniel Serra Badue became one of the first Surrealist Cuba painters out of the “second generation.” During his lifetime, he became the director of La Escuela Normal de Maestros in Santiago. Today, the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA) gives an award each year in his honor to one deserving artist.

Educated in Barcelona, Badue attended school with the likes of Salvador Dali. By this time, Dali was already well-known and revered as a Surrealist painter. Though this Spanish-style of Surrealism rubbed off on Badue, Cuba was never far from his thoughts. He has been most closely related by critics to another Surrealist painter, Giorgio de Chirico.

In general, Badue was a lithographer and sketcher. Although he created Surrealist compositions in oil, some of his more striking pieces are sketches or prints. Badue said that his lithographs, especially those created after he left Cuba, were meant to be reflections of his Cuban heritage, and were a symbol of what he left behind.


Before his exile in 1961, Badue rendered a series of self-portraits. These self-portraits, like most, are meant to be Surrealist depictions of his inner struggle. They slowly change and become more personal as the date to his exile to the United States neared.

While he was in the United States, he was a chairman and also an Assistant Director of the Art History department at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ. He was twice awarded as a Guggenheim fellow as well.

Because of his widespread travels to Europe and the United States, the possibility for a piece of work by Badue to surface is endless.

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