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Fine Art Bourse: Cuban art the next big thing as USA extends the hand of friendship
Arte culinario 4, a huge oil on canvas created earlier this year, follows Fabelo’s familiar surrealist themes, featuring his classic naked bird women. Colourful and lively, the 200 x 235 cm painting carries an estimate of $60,000-80,000.

LONDON.- The diplomatic revolution taking place as relations thaw between the United States and Cuba may well herald a new boom in the art world.

So says Global Head of Art at Fine Art Bourse Anastasia Phillips, who has already secured work by leading Cuban artist Roberto Fabelo for her company’s inaugural online auction on September 14.

“The announcement in the last week that the two countries will open embassies on each other’s territory is just the latest sign of the genuine growing warmth in relations,” says Anastasia, who recently returned from Havana.

“If things continue in this vein, there is a good chance that cultural and commercial links will follow, and this poses the exciting possibility of the wider world finally getting to see the flourishing world of Cuban art.”

Anastasia has already secured a wide range of paintings, prints and photographs by some of the leading names of the 20th century across the globe, such as Pablo Picasso and Sydney Nolan art for F.A.B.’s inaugural sale.

Now two works by Fabelo, one of the most successful of Cuba’s living artists, join them, consigned following Anastasia’s visit to the artist at his studio in Havana.

“Fabelo is one of the best-established artists working out of Havana today,” says Anastasia. “He already has a major international following and clearly illustrates the artistic potential that Cuba has to offer. The fact that he already sells to buyers in the United States, for instance – he has just held two important shows in California – also indicates that Cuban art will cross international boundaries when it comes to taste and collecting.”

However, Anastasia also sounds a warning note to those who think that the flowering of relations between Cuba, the United States and other countries is simply an opportunity to exploit Cubans commercially.

“The opening up of Cuban culture to the rest of the world is an exciting prospect, but there is still a long way to go and we have a responsibility to make sure that relationships develop in the right way,” she explains. “Where we add to the portfolios we present to the market, it is important to create as much opportunity for the artists we promote as we do for ourselves. That is what we are setting out to do at Fine Art Bourse, and our recent visit to Cuba reinforced this idea as we invest in the global promotion of artists such as Fabelo.”

Taking the long-term view is essential to protecting and strengthening the Cuban economy and creative industries, as well as the country’s infrastructure, says Anastasia.

“If the country sees the economic benefits, it is much more likely to improve opportunity for artistic talent to flourish, leading to a mature market supporting a broad range of talent” she says.

And it will help to build on established events such as the Havana Biennal, which held its twelfth edition in April, welcoming artists from all over the world, from Aruba to Austria.

“Such a vibrant culture has the potential to enrich the global arts scene immensely. There is a great deal we can learn from the Cubans, the way they live and what they have to say. They have a unique approach to art because of the blend of influences and traditions: African, South American, European and North American. The themes in Fabelo’s art, for instance, add a new perspective to the Western approach to art. But if we only address this relationship from the point of view of what we can get out of it, they will soon turn their backs on us.”

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