Leon Center Collections

Celeste Woss y Gil is perhaps the first professional female artist of our modernity. He not only devoted himself to his pictorial career, but also to the teaching of drawing and painting at the National School of Fine Arts. In this way he continued his teaching work, which he had started in his own workshop-study, where he created a school among his students. This artist made valuable contributions to national art, ranging from stylistic and formal contributions to her role in teaching. His pictorial work had as distinctive features the representation of elements typical of the Dominican and Caribbean cultures, such as the mulatto woman, and the landscapes and common scenes of this geographical and cultural area. Woss and Gil, a woman advanced for her time, practiced drawing and natural painting, using nude models, which caused a stir in the society of the moment. This practice allowed her not only to perfect the canons of art education in our country, but also directed the attention of the artists towards the Dominican woman and her physical and racial characteristics. It was this incessant search in the psychological and sociological backgrounds of the portrayed that infused a marked character to his work. In Self-portrait with cigarette the artist is challenging in a frontal image, against a background of blue, brown and red spots. It comes with loose black hair, gray dress and cigarette on the lips. This is a strong image that could be read as the challenge to the limitations and limitations that women had in the society of that time. Woss and Gil was a member of the women's suffrage group and her work is a symbol of that feminist and break-up interest.

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