La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega
La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega
La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega

La Maja by Gilberto Hernandez Ortega

  • This visually compelling oil is the work of the great Gilberto Hernández Ortega
  • Entitled La Maja, the work embodies the visual intensity of his distinctive style
  • It reveals the influences of Cubism, Expressionism and Abstraction on the painter
  • With its bold lines and vibrant color, it is a masterwork of Dominican art
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Item No. 31-0014
$62,500
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description
Gilberto Hernández Ortega
1924–1978 | Dominican

La Maja

Signed and dated "H'dz Ortega / 57" (lower right)
Oil on panel

This visually compelling oil is the work of the great Gilberto Hernández Ortega. A Dominican artist, Ortega explored a number of different pictorial traditions throughout his impressive career, including Surrealism, Expressionism and Abstraction, and he did so with absolute originality. This work, entitled La Maja, embodies the visual intensity of his distinctive style.

The Picasso-esque oil captures a distorted view of the female form. In typical Cubist style, Ortega deconstructs and reconstructs his subject with a rigor that also reveals his Expressionist influences. Unlike traditional Cubist compositions, Ortega embraces the vibrant colors of the Dominican Republic, bringing together brilliant blues, greens and oranges to highlight the otherwise shadowy composition. Boldly defined by his brush, the composition's lines are thickly applied, contributing to the overall geometry of the work while also creating the impression of volume. As a whole, it offers an impressive study of form and space.

Ortega was heavily influenced by the famed Cuban painter Wifredo Lam and, by extension, the great Pablo Picasso. Both of those associations are clearly seen in La Maja, which boasts the distilled forms and angularity of Picasso's Cubist compositions, as well as the surreal cosmopolitanism of Lam. Yet, the vibrant colors and heavy use of line is distinctly Ortega — together, they create a true masterwork of Dominican art.

Born in 1923 in Baní, Ortega first studied under the famed female portrait painter Celeste Woss y Gil. At first, he was undecided about his career as an artist, and for a period of two years, he pursued engineering as an alternative path. However, he soon came back to painting, graduating from the National School of Fine Arts in 1945, where he had studied with Josep Gausachs. Just a year later, he accepted a position as a professor at the school and was eventually named Vice Director in 1954.

During that time period, he also exhibited extensively on the national level, earning his first solo exhibition in 1946 at the young age of 23. His first international solo exhibition took place in 1951 in Caracas, Venezuela, and thereafter he showed his works around the world in the United States, Spain, Argentina, Israel and Taiwan. While primarily a Surrealist, many of his works also bear the influence of Expressionism and Abstraction, the present piece included.

Dated 1957

Panel: 28" high x 20 3/8" wide
Frame: 34 3/8" high x 26 7/8" wide
specifications
Framed:26.875"W x 34.375"H
Unframed:20.375"W x 28"H
Period: 1919-Present
Subject:Portrait
Depth:1.5 Inches
Width:26.875 Inches
Height:34.375 Inches
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