Secundino Bermúdez y Delgado, better known as Cundo Bermúdez, was born in Havana in 1914. At the age of 13 he began his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, which he would attend for seven years. In 1934 he started studying Diplomatic Law but could not complete his studies due to the closure of the university institution in 1941.

His influences

After travelling to Mexico, where he discovered the work of the muralists, met a young Rufino Tamayo and studied with Rodríguez Lozano, Cundo Bermúdez returned to Cuba with a new vision that was akin to modernity. He had a different way of interpreting his surroundings and produced works that lie somewhere between the wisdom of popular painting from inns and cantinas and the universal tradition of the primitives. The use of colour became more intense and personal, with powerful combinations of opposites, brought to their absolute extreme.

With his own personal poetics denoting Picassian influences, especially cubist, Cundo Bermúdez created works which he affords a certain naif air in terms of their aesthetics and his own particular themes, pointing to a new type of costumbrismo.

Cuban New Figuration

His work Peces (“Fish”, 1990), a print taken from the original in oil painted in the 1950s, Mujeres con peces (“Women with Fish”), shows his modern and international language that, however, does not lose sight of his affiliation with the Cuban school. We see stylised forms on an abstract background, full of colour and tonal varieties. Human figures and fish add dynamism to the work which, along with the striking colour, moves away from the harmonic language of the artist’s first period.

He produced different versions of this work; sometimes there are figures with fish, musical instruments or empty-handed, arranged in the same way one alongside each other, which remind us of Picasso’s work “The Three Musicians” both in terms of their Cubist language and their composition, and in being reminiscent of the musical theme.

These figures, with slender bodies and faces, with elongated noses, similar in shape and size to one another, have become a kind of signature for the artist, his own characteristic iconography.