Cuban painter, ceramicist and printmaker. He studied at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana (early 1930s) and at the Academia de S Carlos in Mexico City (1938), where he also became familiar with the work of the muralists. He had his first one-man exhibition at the Lyceum in Havana in 1942.
Bermúdez shared with many of his contemporaries an interest in Cuban realities and themes painted in a manner that was in keeping with 20th-century art movements. His work from the 1940s is characterized by popular Cuban scenes and types depicted in an almost caricatural, naive style with loud tropical colours (e.g. The Balcony, 1941; New York, MOMA).
In the 1950s Bermúdez abandoned the folkloric themes and tropical voluptuousness of his earlier paintings, instead depicting elongated, barely human, Byzantine-like figures. The most accessible of these paintings are of acrobats and musicians. In 1967 Bermúdez left Cuba for political reasons and settled in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There he continued to evolve metallic colour harmonies and surrealistic imagery including clocks, ladders and turbaned figures in his paintings. He also produced murals and lithographs, and his best-known print is the silkscreen entitled Virgin of Charity (1970; Segunda Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinamericano, exh. cat., San Juan, Inst. Cult. Puertorriqueña, 1972, P. 111, no. 91a) depicting the patron saint of Cuba.
Giulio V. Blanc
From Grove Art Online
© 2009 Oxford University Press