On Saturday, November 30th, Julio Larraz, one of the greatest contemporary painters and undoubtedly the greatest living Cuban realist, will open his first exhibition in Miami in more than 25 years. Titled Coming Home, the name of one the pieces featured in the show, it is also a symbolic reference to the artist’s much anticipated return to Miami.
Julio Larraz’s homecoming is cause of great excitement in Miami’s artistic circles. Having an exhibit of the legendary Cuban painter in his hometown, after 25 years, is a real treat. The exhibition, curated by Bélgica Rodríguez, will be held at Ascaso Gallery in Miami’s Wynwood Art District. It includes twenty works created between 2012 and 2013. “This show is proof that my father has achieved absolute mastery in his career,” said his son Ariel Larraz, who since January of this year has taken up the responsibility of representing his father through his label, Havoli Fine Art Management. “His paintings are now much more impressive, stronger … he has become a true master,” he adds.
Characterized by light, strength and color, each of Larraz’s paintings has a captivating narrative: brush strokes, light and shadow, details and contrasts come together to tell his stories. Born in Havana (Cuba), in 1944, Julio came to Miami with his parents in 1961 as part of the first Cuban exodus. The family moved to Washington, DC, and later to New York, where Larraz lived for five years. While in the Big Apple, he began painting political cartoons for publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and Vogue, among others.
Thanks to the influence of American artists Burt Silverman and David Levine, in 1967, Larraz underwent a transformation that led him to dedicate himself only to painting. By 1976, already praised for his enigmatic work, he had won awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as the Cintas Grant from the Institute of International Education.
His pieces engross the files of important collections such as the Cintas Foundation and Mitsui & Company in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá, Colombia, the Museum of Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Bank in Washington DC. After traveling the world in search of enlightenment and inspiration, and having lived in New York, New Mexico, Paris and Florence, Larraz is now back in Miami with his family. Under representation by his son Ariel, the artist has exhibited, this year, in places as far away as New York, Monaco and Medellin. He will debut in Miami at the end of this month and is already preparing several exhibitions for 2014: in Italy and London with Contini Art Gallery, in Caracas with Ascaso Gallery, and in Panama with Arteconsult Gallery. ■