Born Sagua la Grande, Cuba, 1902. Died Paris, France, 1982
La Chevelure (The Mane), 1945
Oil and charcoal on canvas
28 ¾ x 23 5/8 inches
Collection Miami Art Museum, promised gift of Jorge and Darlene Pérez
Credit line: © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
Photo credit: Peter Harholdt
In 1941, as Germany invaded France, Lam left Europe and resettled in Cuba after 18 years of separation. As a result of his extended absence, Lam became highly sensitized to the African traditions of his native land. La Chevelure, is an example of the erotic and sensual forms that became characteristic of Lam's work during this stay in Cuba. This painting is a portrait of a woman who has her back to us, revealing a fantastical chevelure (head of hair). It is a bizarre hybrid of fruits, breasts, leaves, and hair. Rendered only in shades of brown, black, grey and white, this painting allows the underlying charcoal drawing to appear through thin washes of paint, foregrounding Lam's skills as a draftsman.