Manuel Carbonell Biography

Manuel Carbonell - Cuban Sculpture

Contemporary and modern Master Sculptor Manuel Carbonell, a Cuban Artist considered among the most important Latin American Masters, together with Wifrido Lam and Agustin Cardenas belonged to a generation of artists that studied at the Academia de Bellas Artes "San Alejandro" in Havana, Cuba, between 1915 and 1950. Other students at the Academia during this period included Mario Carreno, Amelia Pelaez, Victor Manuel and Fidelio Ponce. Carbonell studied under the guidance of Jose Sicre a former student of Bourdelle, who was a great influence in his work.

Upon graduation in 1945, Carbonell received the title of Professor of Drawing and Modeling. He then traveled to France, Italy and Spain to work and study. Upon returning to Cuba, Carbonell received many national and international honors and awards and in 1954 received his first International award for his Capillaina stone carving of the life size sculpture "Fin de Una Raza" at the Third Biennal Hispanoamericana de Arte (Barcelona, Spain).

In 1959, upon arriving in New York, Carbonell moved from his classical and religious period in Cuba during the 1940's and 1950's through the commencement and development of his contemporary and modern expression of the 1960's culminating in Madison Avenue, then pinnacle of the art world. In 1963, he celebrated the first of his seven biannual "One Man Shows" at the former renowned Schoneman Galleries in New York City. During the 15 years that Schoneman Galleries exhibited Carbonell's work, Carbonell was the only sculptor at the gallery among the artists exhibited which included Picasso, Chagall, Braque, Monet, Matisse, Gauguin and Renoir.

In 1976, at a formal ceremony in the Gardens of the White House, Carbonell presented "The Bicentennial Eagle" as his gift to the United States of America. The sculpture is presently part of the Gerald Ford Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The following year Carbonell created the "Madonna of Fatima", his first bronze monument in America: a 26-foot high statue located in Washington, New Jersey. The statue is one of the largest works cast in bronze in America during the twentieth century. In 1987, the Miami gallery, Beaux Arts Gallery began representing Carbonell and in 1990, Carbonell moved to Pietrasanta, Italy, where he had his studio for many years, to carve the statue of Cuban Apostle Jose Marti, a 7-foot marble statue for the San Carlos Institute in Key West, Florida.

Carbonell contemporary sculptures, like those of great masters, have a unique and unmistakable style that makes his work excel and it is easily identifiable. Carbonell imparted to his sculptures a feeling of "Universal Beauty", which transcends the moment and can be appreciated by future generations. His modern museum quality sculptures are what throughout the ages have been considered as classical and not mere forms of untrained free association to satisfy the moment. It is his unique mastery and personal style that makes his work transcend and give it permanence in the art world.

His contemporary monumental works, created in his modern and distinctive personal style, are part of important art collections and public spaces, "Couple in Love" adorns the lobbies of the Mandarin Oriental Miami and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Bangalore, India, "Lovers" is found at the entrance rotunda of the Carbonell Condominium, Miami, Florida (Building was named in the Artist's honor), "Torso", formerly at Selby's Five Point Park in downtown Sarasota, Florida and is now at the von Liebig Art Center, Naples, Florida, and "New Generation" is in Xujiahui Park, Shanghai, China. The Sculpture "Amantes" graces the grounds of the Hotel Bristol, Buenaventura, Republic of Panama and "Abrazo" is at the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Bangalore, India.

Carbonell sculptures are found at important museums and art collections such as the Frost Museum, Miami, Florida, The Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, The Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, Florida and now a Retrospective is in preparations for a museum tour commencing at the MDC Museum of Art + Design, Miami, Florida. Carbonell's works are also found in important private and corporate collections as in The Swire Art Trust, Lefrack Collection, The Nemeroff Collection, The Finkle Collection and in personal collections as those of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Carlton Varney, Gary Brock, Mary Goodman, Wayne Huizenga and many other fine art collectors.

Carbonell's inexhaustible vision and his ever-changing personal style are the product of a brilliant talent and academic background. Incessantly searching for the essence of the form and the absence of details, he imparts a feeling of monumentality to his work. As Dr. Fred Schoneman expressed in 1974, Carbonell is one of the Master Sculptors of our Times.

For a more extensive biography see Wikipedia under Manuel Carbonell