Juan Gonzalez (1945-1993)
Cuban born, but American trained, Juan Gonzalez was one of Cuba’s few Surrealist painters. He graduated from the University of Miami with a master of Fine Art in 1973, and won many awards in his lifetime for his artistic achievements.
Originally, Gonzalez wanted to be a priest. He was fascinated by religion at a young age, and the only art that he was brought up with came from the church. His family had no artistic background, so Gonzalez had to go about learning to be an artist on his own.
Throughout the years, art would slowly replace religion in Gonzalez’s life, but the artist still remained highly religious and faithful to his Catholic beliefs. His religion made a tremendous mark on his artwork, and as Gonzalez said was his way of reaching out to God.
Catholic religious iconography and Spanish Surrealist styling are highly apparent in Gonzalez’s styling. He also had a great respect for old masters and art history in general. This is apparent in his 1990 paintings “Memory Piece” and “Rembrandt’s Hands”.
His attention to detail was remarkable, in particular, folds in fabric or leaves on plants. He would often draw from his own experience to paint dreamscapes or actual events, such as “El Sonador” and “Untitled” (1981).
One way to tell for sure if you have a piece of Gonzalez’s artwork is to look at the content. He would often paint visceral cityscapes, tall and endless with a menacing sky and frightening buildings below. Statues were also a common image in his works.
Gonzalez would also work in many different mediums and surfaces, be it paper or canvas or wood. He would also create a number of mixed media pieces. In particular, he created a series of three fold prints on paper, usually of the sea or the night sky in a Surrealist dreamscape.
Today, Gonzalez’s work is housed in private collections all over the world, as well as in many museums across the United States, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. Do you think you may own a piece of art by Juan Gonzalez? We would be happy to assist you in authenticating artwork by this great Cuban master.