Humberto Calzada was born in Havana, Cuba in 1944. He has been a Miami resident since 1960 and attended the University of Miami where he earned degrees in Industrial Engineering (1966) with an MBA in Finance (1968). He practiced engineering for several years but, by 1976 he had completely abandoned the career for a career in art. The theme of his paintings, from the beginning to the present time, has always been the colonial architecture of his native Cuba and of the Caribbean.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Calzada’s work is strongly influenced by his native city’s colonial and neo-classical architecture. He is renowned for placing its architectural imagery in surreal, dreamlike settings to explore themes of loss, decay, and rebirth.
Beloved by collectors and museums alike, Calzada’s prolific output of paintings numbers in the thousands. In 2006, the Lowe Museum of Miami honored his career with a 30-year retrospective entitled “In Dreams Awake.” Previously, the Bass Museum of Miami Beach exhibited his 15-Year Retrospective.
For a full listing of the numerous museums, galleries, and corporate collections that have housed his work, see his curriculum vitae.
Calzada resides in Miami, Florida with his wife. He has an engineering degree and an MBA, which he put to use briefly before dedicating himself to painting full time. His daughter is a designer and his son is a filmmaker. He has three grandchildren.
In 1977, he began exhibiting his work in Forma Gallery in Coral Gables and continued exhibiting in galleries like Galeria Arte Actual (Santiago de Chile); Galeria 9, (Lima, Peru); and Galeria Acquavella (Caracas, Venezuela). He has participated in important group shows like “Hispanic Artists of the Southeastern United States” (Lowe Museum in Coral Gables, Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC); “Cuba-USA—The First Generation” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Fondo del Sol, Washington, DC).
His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Lowe Museum of Art, the Bass Museum of Art, The Museum at FIU, the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, the Museo de Arte de Ponce (Puerto Rico), Museo de Bellas Artes de Santiago (Chile), and the Norton Gallery (West Palm Beach, Florida). His work is also well represented in many private, public and corporate collections.
In 1991, he had a retrospective show of his first fifteen years of work at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, in 2006 he had a thirty-year retrospective at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, and in 2011 he had a one-man show at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University.
Humberto Calzada’s art can, generally, be divided into phases or categories, but not into periods. They are phases in the sense that, during a specific time he painted primarily that category of painting, though not to the exclusion of all else. But they are “categories” in the sense that, throughout his career, he has produced works that have characteristics of any of the different classifications or will revisit any past phase. The general major classifications are: