Blanc, Giulio V. Cuban Artists of the Twentieth Century. Curated by Jorge H. Santis. Fort Lauderdale: Fort Lauderdale Art Center, 1993. Exhibition catalog.
An exhibition catalog for Cuban Artists of the Twentieth Century, an exhibition at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida from October 1993 to January 1994. This exhibition was the first time in 50 years that an art show displayed paintings from the Cuban greats together, the last time being Modern Cuban Painters at the Museum of Modern Art in 1944. The 1944 exhibit, which was curated by Alfred Barr, helped give Cuban modernists the publicity that they had been looking for. A majority of the painters shown here were educated at the academy but rejected its teachings in favor of modernism. Peláez, for example, began as an impressionist but discovered cubism after moving to Europe and meeting Exter. The painting Marpacífico represents what she learned from Exter about balanced colors and strong lines. In 1934 Peláez returned to Havana and lived at home with her widowed mother and unmarried sister. She loved gardening. Her work developed as the years went by and in the 1940s her works began to show lots of “Cuban colonial feminism”.
Gaztambide, María C. “Amelia Peláez and the Insertion of the Female Sphere: The Cuban Vanguardia Reconsidered.” Athanor 20 (2002): 85-93.
This is a seminar paper about Peláez and the Cuban vanguardia. The vanguardia began in the 20s with artists who mostly studied at the academy and abroad in Paris. Peláez’s art and self discovery blossomed abroad when she met Exter, who taught her many styles of expression and also inspired her as a professional woman. Peláez’s family was part of the culturally elite that were looking for a personalized Cuban identity, and Peláez helped them discover this by touching on traditions in her artwork. The vanguardia played a large role in supporting and encouraging the citizens of Cuba to push for independence from the U.S. This piece also discusses feminism, and how Peláez’s role as an upper class woman affected her reach and abilities.
Gómez-Sicre, J. “Amelia Peláez: Modern Baroque.” Americas 6 (1954): 12-16.
This is a journal article that was written by Gómez-Sicre after a visit to Peláez’s house and an interview with her mother, Doña Carmela. He describes la Villa Carmela’s signature flowerbeds, columns, and a wrought iron fence along with a back patio full of tropical plants and birds that Peláez used as a workshop. Inside the house there are works of Peláez’s hanging up in many rooms. Inside her own room there was a wrought iron bed and a baroque dresser, two styles that greatly influenced her painting. She studied color with Romañach, in New York with Professor C Bridgman, and scene design and color dynamics with Exter at the Académie Moderne. During trips to Madrid, Budapest, and other European art destinations she found inspiration from many modern artists. She returned to Cuban and in 1935 won a prize for her work in the First National Salon. From 1935 to 1936 and on vacation in 1940 she focused almost exclusively on drawings, creating some of her best pencil work. Also during this time she painted two fresco murals, which were later destroyed. The 1940s marked a significant shift and development in her artwork, as natural architecture and baroque styles became more of a focus. In 1941 she had her first show in New York for the magazine Norte, which lead MoMA to purchase her work in 1941, ‘43, and ‘44. From 1950 to 1953 Peláez worked almost exclusively in ceramics. In a studio in Santiago de las Vegas she made the pieces for the 65 foot ceramic mural that now adorns the building of the National Accounting Office. Across from her pottery studio, Peláez rented a small house where she lived sometimes and raised chickens.
Libby, Gary Russell, and Juan A. Martínez. Cuba: A History in Art. Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 2015.
This book contains short biographies on many important Cuban artists. For Peláez, the biography consists of basic family history and tells of her time at the Academy of San Alejandro as well as her time studying abroad in Paris.
Four Cuban Modernists: Mario Carreño, Amelia Peláez, Fidelio Ponce, and René Portocarrero. Edited by Carlos M. Luís. Coral Gables: Javier Lumbreras Fine Art, 1993. Exhibition catalog.
This is an exhibition catalogue that includes the works of four different Cuban artists. Peláez came from a family that was deeply rooted in native Cuban culture, and she was able to purely represent that culture in her artwork by combining fruit and architectural elements. Her paintings also mirrored the Creole traditional stained glass that gave her artwork a new perspective.
Martínez, Juan A. Cuban Art and National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters 1927-1950. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994.
The vanguardia painters were a group that initiated the modern art movement in Cuba. This began in the mid 1920s when many of them started to react against the antiquated teachings of the Academy. Peláez was influenced by many painters, especially during her travels in Paris. Despite the growing numbers of artists, modern art was a movement that was very hard to kickstart. In the 40s Peláez’s art became enriched by her expression of Cuban colonial architecture. The 1940s also put Cuban modernists on the map with a traveling Modern Cuban Art exhibition that visited the U.S, Europe, and Latin America. In terms of money, Peláez found it hard to make a living off of her art. An exhibition in 1935 sold no paintings, and she had to supplement her income with teaching. Over the course of her career, Peláez developed a visual language that she used to convey her form of nationalism and meaning to her audience.
Molina, Juan Antonio, and Helen L. Kohen. “Estrada Palma 261: Still Life with Dream about Amelia Peláez.” Translated by Narciso G. Menocal and Renato E. Perez. The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 22 (1996): 220-39
This article consists of a foreword and the article itself, both which are personal encounters from people who visited La Villa Carmela after the death of Peláez and were able to view her house with a broad knowledge of her art. They are both familiar with her work and are in awe of the atmosphere that they find in the house which still embodies the deceased artist.
Pau-Llosa, Ricardo. “El Verdadero Arte Latinoamericano.” Terzo Occhio (1985): 5-12
This article is written in Spanish and discusses the contributions of many Latin American artists to their culture. Peláez is one of the few women who helped to found the rich tradition of Latin American painting. She re-imagined colonial history in a modern way with the use of visual references to stained-glass windows and other architecture, and influenced generations of painters with her unique style.
Women in Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke University Woman’s College Gallery, 1963. Exhibition catalog.
This is an exhibition catalogue from the Women’s College Gallery at Duke University. Peláez built a reputation in both Cuba and the US for using busy and colorful patterns inspired by domestic stained-glass windows in Cuban architecture. She has had her paintings displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, Museum of Plastic Arts of the city of La Plata, National museum of Havana, as well as in private collections in Europe and America.