Havana, 1901 – 1971
Loló Soldevilla was an avid painter, sculptor, collage artist and draughtsman. She began painting in 1948, and in 1949 traveled to Paris as Cuba’s cultural attache, something which allowed her to travel extensively throughout Europe and Latin America, influencing her art style and career immensely. In Paris, she was influenced by the European avant-garde, most notably abstraction. In 1956, Soldevilla along with her husband and fellow artist Pedro de Oraá, returned to Cuba and founded Galeria Color-Luz, an artistic space solely focused on the promotion of abstract art. Oraá and Loló, along with Romanian-born artist Sandu Darie among others, were the pioneers of Concretism or Cuban Abstraction in 1950s Cuba, as well as the founders of the group Los Diez Pintores Concretos (The 10 concrete painters) or known simply as Los Diez (the ten).
Soldevilla graduated from the Falcón Conservatory for singing and the violin, founding the short-lived group La Orchestra de Loló (Lolo’s Orchestra) before taking up painting in 1948. During the 1930s, she was a seminal political activist, enduring detainment for participation in several political rallies, as well as imprisonment in the Prison for Women in Guanabacoa, in 1935 for her positions against the Machado dictatorship. She also helped found the Partido Aprista of Cuba, along with Enrique de la Osa and Guillermo de Zéndegui among others and integrated the Executive National Committee for this political organization.
In 1949, she traveled to Paris as a cultural attaché for the Cuban Embassy and enrolled in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where she started to develop works that would later on that year, encompass her first two shows. Among her returns to Cuba, Soldevilla traveled extensively during her career, she was influenced by the avant-garde of several countries in Europe and Latin America including Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, Venezuela, and Brazil among others. In 1951, she joined the artist workshop Atelier d’Art Abstrait founded by Deswane and Pillet, with whom she collaborated with for two years; she also attended a course on engraving techniques with Hayter and Cochet.
Soldevilla traveled back and forth from the island exhibiting her works and garnering a group of contemporaries who would soon help her expand the influence of concrete abstraction in Cuba.
In 1957, after a stint in Venezuela Soldevilla returned to Cuba with her husband and fellow artist Pedro de Oraá and together founded Galeria Color-Luz, gallery focused on Concrete Abstraction and the Ten Concrete Painters (Los Diez). Although Los Diez and Color-Luz were short-lived, lasting only from 1957-1961, Soldevilla kept painting and collaborated with several magazines and newspapers such as Revolución.
From the revolution in 1959 to the early sixties, she became the professor of Fine Arts in the School of Architecture at the University of Havana. In 1964, she founded the group of painters Espacio, and became a member of UPEC, a journalist union and the group UNEAC (La Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba) the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba