Oscar Fernández Morera
Period: Early Republic
1880 - 1946
Vista de la Iglesia Mayor de Sancti Spiritus
View of 'Iglesia Mayor' in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, 1920
oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 24 inches
Oscar Fernandez Morera was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba in 1881. The artist was descended from a large Spanish family which included government officials and persons of various scholarly attainments. In the tradition of his forebears, Fernandez Morera was also an autodidact, who never incorporated formal studies into his artistic evolution. Nevertheless, the totality of his production (more than one thousand works) made him the artist of most prolific sedulousness in his region, and also its first painter to achieve widespread recognition.
The most picturesque corners of the Villa del Espíritu Santo remain, next to portraits and still lifes, as magnificent testimonies of his earliest period which lasted through the decade of the 1920’s. Later, during the 1930’s and 40’s he was captivated by the representation of light, of atmospheres, and of the legerity of forms. During this time, he was also possessed of a meticulous brushstroke containing highlights of color that emancipated him from the picturesque to the sublime. The theme that conjoined all of his creative energies was always referent to the urban landscape. No other artist dignified the surroundings of his natal city with such assertiveness, and in recompense the city conferred upon him the title of Illustrious Child.
The ascension of light and color in his palette shows insightful traces, precursors of modernity that distinguish him from the rest of his coevals, although the formal and conceptual limitations of his work did not permit him to fully identify with the currents at the close of the century or the new avant-garde language which arrived on the island circa 1925.
Manuel Echevarría Gomez