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Wifredo Lam Biography


Wifredo Lam was an artist associated with the Modern Art movement. He was concerned with the representation of the oppressed. Influenced by his sympathy with the poor and the marginalised, his emotionally dark paintings bring to light depictions of people with deep struggle. Lam was born in Cuba, after leaving his native Havana, he went on to study at the Escuela de Bellas in Madrid, Spain. His Afro-Cuban heritage can be seen to have influenced his works. In 1941, Lam served forty days in a prison on the Caribbean Island of Martinique, after escaping the devastation of war in France.


In 1939, Wifredo Lam held his first exhibition in the Gallerie Pierre Loeb in Paris, France. That same year, he went on to exhibit his work alongside his long-standing friend, and renowned artist, Pablo Picasso, who held Lam’s work in high regard. Forty years since the time of his death in Paris – in 1982, at the age of 79, his work has featured in exhibitions across the globe. Over one hundred galleries and museums have held his paintings, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Guggenheim. In 2015, Lam’s work can be seen in the traveling exhibition which begins in Paris at the Pompidou Centre and visits the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain, before reaching its destination at the Tate Gallery, London.

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