Sandú Darié was a contemporary Cuban visual artist. Born in 1908 in Romania to Jewish parents, he originally planned to become a lawyer until he and his family migrated to France due to the increasing political turmoil in his native country, becoming part of the "...first wave of literary and artistic members of the Romanian avant-garde diaspora;" frequenting the circles of famous writers and artists. This close contact with the Romanian avant-garde, as well as the exposure to European and Latin American art movements and philosophies, influenced Darié's decision in becoming an artist. He emigrates to Cuba in 1941, where he creates his most important body of work. In Cuba, he co-founded the concrete abstractionist group Los Diez Pintores Concretos (the Ten Concrete Painters) known simply as, Los Diez (the Ten) along with artists Loló Soldevilla and Pedro de Oraá. He lived and worked in Cuba for the remainder of his life until his death in 1991.
Sandú Darié Laver was a Cuban artist of Romanian heritage, who initially introduced Concretism or Concrete art to Cuba with his 1949 exhibition of eight works at the Lyceum in Havana. He emigrated to Cuba in 1941 and fully embraced the island's culture and artistic vitality, nationalizing himself as a Cuban citizen. In Cuba, he presented himself as a strong advocate for geometric abstraction and concretism; joining and exchanging ideas with similar groups in Latin America such as the Argentinian Concrete Art movement and the abstract art group Madí. He represented Cuba at the 1953 São Paulo II Bienal, took part in the Concrete Cuban manifesto in the 1958 exhibit in Havana of Los Diez Pintores Concretos, and was subsequently referred to as “the prophet of Concretism” by his contemporaries. Darie exhibited globally in such art meccas as New York, Paris, Brazil, Italy, and Japan among others, leading the Cuban Concrete art movement to the international stage.
Darié was not exclusively an artist, the prolific painter also dabbled in writing, journalism and art criticism throughout his career, establishing several important organizations dedicated to the promotion of Cuban art. While in Paris from 1926-1939, Darié worked as a cartoonist for a periodical and contributed many humorous drawings for the French press. In 1949, after deciding to remain in Cuba he co-founded the Asociación de Caricaturistas de Cuba (Association for Cartoonists in Cuba), from 1950-1957 he was co-editor of the magazine Noticias de Arte. From 1958-1961, he was part of the Diez Pintores Concretos, although they were short-lived their impact on Cuban Abstraction, especially Darié's work, gave Cuban Concrete Abstract art great significance in its own right. In 1961, the closing of Galeria Color-Luz marked the official dissolution of Los Diez. However, later that same year Darié also helped establish the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (The Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) known simply as UNEAC; he also worked as an art advisor in El Grupo Experimental de Danza de la Habana (The Experimental Dance Group of Havana); from 1963-1969 he worked as a documentary filmmaker in the Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematography (ICAIC); in 1971, he worked as the director of light and set design for the ballet “Dinamia“ at the National Ballet of Cuba in Havana; in the 1980s he also served as a juror in several art exhibitions and galleries including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Galleria L in Havana. He died on September 2, 1991 in Havana, Cuba at the age of 83.
A pioneer of Cuban concrete abstraction, Darié was also considered to be a neo-constructivist and kinetic artist due to the versatility, geometric simplicity, and the expression of Constructivist values of his works. Constructivism like concretism is an introverted, objective artform, leaving to contemplation a simple compilation of grids, shapes, colors and lines. Concretism also leaned away from emotion, subjectivity and representation; without narrative or natural connections, Constructivism (like Concrete art) developed intrinsic designs that expressed 20th century Europe's social ideas and aesthetics like industrialization, progressivism, and rationality. From which came the fundamental idea of Cuban Concretism: abstraction as a revolutionary, forward-thinking art form, led by the purity of the abstract form, liberating the artist from realism or nationalism.
Sandú Darié's works follow the fundamental stylistic tenets of Concrete art: a varied combination of geometric planes, primary colors and forms geometrically interlocked, similar to that of Piet Mondrian's Neoplasticism. His unique and innovative designs include irregular-shaped canvases, sculptural structures with moving parts that invite the viewer to touch and interact with the piece; touching upon the focus of the Latin American MADÍ movement that, like Cuban Concretism, broke from traditional, vanguardist painting and decided to concentrate on the "concrete" and physical act of art. As a painter, Daríe constantly worked with the relationship of space, light and color with the physical act of viewer participation in the perspective of his works. He often named his works, especially his kinetic sculptures, Transformable in that they were meant to be shifted and interacted with, making his "moving pieces" unique amongst Los Diez. Sandú Darié's work can be found in several private and public collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the David Zwirner Gallery in New York and London, the Beloosesky Gallery in New York, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba, the Kendall Art Center the Rodriguez Collection in Miami, Florida as well as many others across the globe.
- MoMA, Museum of Modern Art in New York Composition in Red 1946; Untitled: Transformable c.1950s
- The National Museum of Fine Arts in Cuba Composition no. 2, Twentieth Century in mid–passage 1950; Untitled 1948; Transformable Structure c.1951-1963; Spacial Multivision 1955; Transformable Painting 1957
- Beloosesky Gallery in New York Untitled Abstract c.1956
- Sandú Darié, Aravelo Fine Arts, , accessed November 13, 2018, web
- Sandú Darié, Aravelo Fine Arts
- Odette Artiles, 3Concrete, an essay in D FINE: Artists and Exhibition in the Rodriguez Collection, pg. 136-141, print
- Sandu Darie, Arevalo Fine Arts
- Sandu Darie, Areval Fine Arts
- Sandu Darie, Beloosesky Gallery: Arist's- Biography and Exhibitions, , accessed November 13, 2018, web
- George Fishman, PAMM, Virginia Miller exhibits explore abstraction, The Miami Herald, , March 23, 2014, web
- Odette Artiles, 3Concrete
- Sandu Darie, Beloosesky Gallery: Arists- Biography and Exhibitions
- Ali Morris, Concrete Cuba: a new London exhibition celebrates Diez Pintores Concretos, Wallpaper Art Review, , September 4, 2015, web
- Kendall Art Center, The Rodriguez Collection- Artists , accessed November 14, 2018, web
- MoMA: Art & Artists, , accessed February 7, 2019
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba, , accessed February 7, 2019
- Sandú Darié Art, , accessed February 7, 2019
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