José Joaquín Tejada
1867 - 1934
(Cuban Countryside), 1908,
oil on artist palette,
14 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches
José Joaquin Tejada (1867-1934) was born in Santiago de Cuba in the Oriente province, where he created most of his work and also died. As a young man, his studies were made possible by a scholarship from his native city’s government, which permitted him to visit museums in Spain, Italy, France, and Holland.
Upon returning to Cuba he visited New York, where he exhibited works in 1894. There he established a friendship with José Martí, who praised his talent with a favorable review entitled A Cuban Landscape Painter. Martí exalted Tejada by asserting, “In him we find- humanitarian and robust- the new Cuban painter. And from this day forth we can say: his name shall be glory.”
Tejada served as both Professor and Director of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts in Santiago de Cuba. He also acted as President of the Artistic Association of Oriente. His works were included in the important exhibit Colonial Painting in Cuba at Havana’s National Capitol Building from March to April of 1950, where five of his oils were presented. Tejada’s most acclaimed painting, La Lista de la Loteria (The Lottery List) is permanently exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. Other works can be found at the Museo Bacardí in Oriente, Cuba, and at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida.
In his title Notes On Painting and Print in Cuba, the art historian Jorge Rigol declared of this distinguished painter: “José Joaquín Tejada forms, with his cousin Guillermo Collazo and Federico Martínez, the triad of great painters from Santiago de Cuba. And, with Leopoldo Romañach and Armando Menocal, that of turn of the century landscape artists from the first republican decades."