« Jesse Fernandez qui sait si bien voir une idée. »
Jesse A. Fernandez (1925-1986) was a photographer as well as an artist. Raised in Cuba and Spain, in an Asturian family, his early photographs give a unique insight on societies of Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico in the 50s. He portrayed Cuban artists and writers, including his long time friends Wifredo Lam and Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and in 1959 witnessed the first months of Fidel Castro’s takeover. Later settled in New York he photographed the artistic scene of the 60s and started to paint calaveras (skulls), the leitmotiv of his work, while teaching at the School of Visual arts. After a few years in Puerto Rico in the early 70s, he moved to Spain and then to France. There, he exhibited regularly, published his books Retratos and Les momies de Palerme, pursuing both his graphic and photographic work, portraying intellectuals and artists, among them Francis Bacon in his studio in a powerful reportage. Emil Cioran wrote about Jesse Fernandez that he “knew so well how to picture an idea”.