Lorenzo Padilla was born on September 18th, 1931 in Matanzas, Cuba. At age 10 he learned painting at the Tarascó Academy in Matanzas. Later, he entered the school of Fine Arts where he finished his studies in 1957 entitled as professor of drawing and painting. He personally exhibits for the first time in Matanzas in 1952. Between 1951 and 1958, he received several fine arts awards. In 1959, the government gives him a scholarship to study Flemish primitive art in the Prado Museum, Madrid. In 1961 he arrived in France. In 2018 Lorenzo Padilla leaves Montmartre and returns to his native island.
“Our commitments: education, culture, solidarity”
The goal of the Lorenzo Padilla Foundation is to make art and culture accessible to everyone: every year, exhibitions and events are organized around the world, in the largest cities and in the most remote places: everyone must have access to art.
Accompaniment and professionalization of young talented artists dispossessed with the purpose of accessing the main schools of art, culture and recognition through art. Creation of workshops and donation of material to support Culture.
Solidarity for the safeguarding of the pictorial and cultural heritage of Cuba.
“Museum of Art of Matanzas and MAMU project”
When he was a student, Lorenzo Padilla had to travel to Havana to see original works, since there was no museum in Matanzas. So he decided that if one day he could create a museum in his hometown he would. This day has arrived. A few years ago a small museum was created in Matanzas. Lorenzo Padilla fed him with his own creations, his personal collections and the gifts that all their painters’ friends who had known throughout his life had given him. True to its origins, it also fed the museum with original works of African art.
Today, at 88 years old, Lorenzo Padilla looks even further: “Matanzas is my hometown. It is beautiful and blue. Matanzas Bay is as big as Santiago de Cuba Bay. In Matanzas some great Cuban rhythms have been born: the rumba, the danzón, the guaguancó, the mambo too … I wish that the Matanzas Museum becomes the largest museum in the world dedicated to all the unknown or forgotten artists of the planet and that highlight the musical culture of Matanzas”.
We accompany you and support you in your search. This is how we devote ourselves to the absolute dream of Lorenzo Padilla. We will realize the deepest desire of our dear grandfather through the MAMU.
The MAMU will not be an art museum for the glory of Lorenzo Padilla. According to our ideology, the complex will be ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, INTERACTIVE, EDUCATIONAL AND DIVERTIVE: visitors of all ages and nationalities will have access to simple artistic information so that they can document, explore or simply copy what they feel through their journey through the Museum.
Our visitors may, for example, immerse themselves in our workshops – classrooms, to learn modern art and music or simply experience these disciplines. Everyone can find out about the objectives, the technologies, and the philosophy of the museum and participate voluntarily in the daily maintenance of the complex and in the production of food. Nature, music and art are three magical and mystical principles with life on earth. These great principles have always allowed our humanity to remain healthy to face the turbulent world affairs.
Therefore, it is essential for us that everything that is presented, produced or served in the MAMU enriches and beautifies the lives of our visitors, students, tourists … We will continue working on it, whether in the content of the exhibitions, different events, workshops, shops, restaurants and cafes.
We support EARTHING: is a booming movement: it is based on the discovery that the connection with the Earth’s natural energy is essential for dynamic health. The principle of Earthing will be applied in the different structures of the museum, in the gardens, in the residences of artists.
MAMU Project: aims to create a large art complex in Matanzas. It will consist of the collection fund of paintings, prints and collections of African Arts of the previous donations made to the Museum of Arts of Matanzas by Lorenzo Padilla and future donation of our endowment fund. A multitude of works by Cuban artists from Matanzas will be present in the architecture of the site. The museum may also host other recognized or future artists.
The museum will host a space dedicated to the roots of Cuban music and more precisely of Matanzas such as Rumba, Danzón, Mambo… As a kind of photographic and musical tour composed of objects that represent the artistic influence of Matanzas in Cuban culture throughout the world.
On the other hand, another space will be dedicated to highlighting Cuban and international artists. There cultural events can be organized. The museum will also have a relaxing space with shops: visitors can enjoy Cuban specialties and cocktails, all from organic farming. The stores will allow visitors to buy local products, derivative objects, souvenirs…
Workshops will be made available to Cuban and international artists that lack space for the creation and dissemination of their works.
A “Donor Wall” will be erected or all the names of our supporters will appear. The museum will be carried out according to the principle of self-reliance and respect for ecology with modern and recyclable structures such as bamboo, containers, renewable energy…
David and Marie Padilla
Lorenzo Padilla Foundation
Why this Foundation?
On the occasion of the advent of his Foundation, Lorenzo Padilla gave himself an open heart on the project of a lifetime: “I was born in Matanzas, in a humble and loving family. As a child, I wanted to be a musician in the footsteps of my father. In spite of everything I was already passionate about drawing: I had fun with illustrations of the textbooks of my cousins.
My uncle Carlos saved all my drawings and when I turned 10. Carlos showed them to Professor Alberto Tarascó. The latter, delighted with my work, proposed to my uncle to teach me in his academy. Alberto Tarascó initially gave me a one-year scholarship but I stayed in his Academy until I was 16 years old. My teacher wanted me to enter Fine Arts, but my parents didn’t like me to devote myself to painting.
They preferred to see me a lawyer. After many discussions and with my insistence, they finally accepted to enter Fine Arts if I went out with a diploma. So I obtained the diploma of painting teacher.
I can never thank my uncle for what he did so much for me to discover that vocation of mine. I drew without pause, everything I saw. I was excited by contemporary famous painters: Wilfredo Lam, Ponce de León, and Carlos Enríquez.
Then I was lucky to meet Wilfredo Lam in Paris, thanks to my wife Gracia, because his father, famous archivologist and poet, Robert Ganzo was a good friend of the Master. At that time, we went out to Montparnasse: often in “La Coupole”, near the great Cardenas. We were with Van Dongen, Zadkine, Foujita and his wife Fernande Barrey.
Why was an Arts Museum created in Matanzas?
As a student, I had to go to Havana to see original works since there was no museum in Matanzas. Well, I decided that if I could one day, I would create a museum in my hometown I would. That day I arrived and I had the opportunity to provide Matanzas with an art museum. I fed it with my own creations and personal collections, for example 800 original prints among which some Rembrandt and gifts that had been made to me by the painters friends throughout my life.
In addition, pride of my origins, I also brought to the museum original works of African art, being very sensitive to Afro-Cuban culture. Matanzas is my hometown. It is beautiful and blue. Matanzas Bay is as big as Santiago’s. Some of the great Cuban rhythms were born in Matanzas: Danzon, Guaguanco, and also the Mambo…
I dream for the museum: to acquire a great work recognized internationally so that it comes to see it and thus discover works of forgotten or unknown masters. I want the Matanzas museum to be the largest in the world to present unknown or forgotten artists all over the planet.
And now, why this Foundation?
I will die brush in hand but first, my greatest desire is to help artists without resources to develop their art. As a child, I suffered needs … so, I swore to help the most needy artists more than anything in Cuba, in France and elsewhere. Art is essential in the world. The human who makes art and who is interested in art, does not get into wars. I continue in favor of the beauty of the world. I want the war to end. To love, without rancor.
Painting and art are made for others. Art allows breathing and bringing people closer. I was not lucky enough to be released with someone’s help so I want to give that opportunity to others.
With the Cuban Revolution, I received a scholarship from the same Revolution. I was revolutionary from the first hour. I am and will always be a revolutionary! With the brush, I want to help my country: this is my weapon.
I also want Cuba to become an artistic reference in painting. I want to make art available to everyone, to present exhibitions in the most remote corners of the planet: art is for everyone.
My grandson, David Padilla and his wife Maria, help me in this search. They are very engaged. Also my brother Pedro Padilla. I want to dedicate the strength of this Foundation and also to Gracia, my deceased wife, my inspirer who lacks me so much and continues in my heart.
What are your major references?
The biggest for me is Diego Velázquez: forerunner of impressionism, has touches of freedom. But we will add Goya, El Greco, Turner, Monnet. My dream would be to follow the line to these immense artists. I say it without pretense. I do not imitate anyone, I am inspired. I hope that one day he will talk about me as a great painter but more than anything as a great benefactor.
2019 Biennial of Contemporary Art of Havana. For the first time, an extension of the demonstration outside the capital was carried out: Matanzas. Lorenzo Padilla, guest of honor, exhibited some of his most beautiful creations.
2017 Project M.A.M.U. Renovation and expansion of the Matanzas Arts Museum in Cuba and support from the city’s School of Fine Arts.
2016 The Lorenzo Padilla Foundation is officially inaugurated on April 12th at the prestigious Hôtel Particulier Montmartre in Paris.
2014 Exhibition with UNESCO in the framework of the 20 years of the “Slave Route”.
1978 Exhibition at the American Center in Paris, France.
1963 Participates in an exhibition to raise funds for the victims of Cyclone Flora.
1962 – 1966 Participates in several halls in the Grand Palace in Paris, France.
1962 Exhibition at the modern arts museum in Paris in France.
1958 XXIX Modern art show in Havana.
1954 II Hispanic exhibition Américo. Havana Biennial.
1953 VI national exhibition in Havana.
Awards, recognitions and donations
2015 Grand Prix of Honor GemlucArt Monaco under the patronage of her Royal Highness Princess Carolina of Hanovre.
2012 Medal of the French Senate.
2005 Receives the Distinction for National Culture.
2003 He is an honorary member of the Fernando Ortiz Chair.
1990 Receives the honorary title of the Fernando Ortiz chair of the University of Matanzas.
1970 Donation for the Beit Ghetto Historical Museum, Lohamei Haghettaoth, in Israel.