Felipe Jesus Consalvos
1891-c1960 (Cuba/USA)


A self-appointed “artist, healer, and man,” and former tobacco-roller, Felipe Jesus Consalvos extrapolated the vernacular tradition of cigar-band collage to a highly sophisticated, inimitable practice. Born near Havana in 1891 and eventually emigrating to Miami in the early 1900s, Consalvos settled in New York and, finally, Philadelphia, where he passed away in the mid-1960s. It was at a Philadelphia car-boot sale in the early 1980s where his obsessively large body of work was rediscovered posthumously; approximately 850 surviving collages on paper, found photographs, musical instruments, furniture, and other unexpected surfaces.

Consalvos merges the biting socio-political satire and absurdist impulse of Dadaists like Max Ernst, Hannah Höch and Kurt Schwitters with the arcane mysticism of Bruce Conner and Joseph Cornell. Consalvos therefore parallels and foreshadows certain contemporaneous developments in Futurist, Pop collage, Surrealist, design, and even poetry. Preferring to leave his works untitled and undated, one can only estimate that Consalvos created his collages between 1920 and the late 1960s—during the very time in art history that the radical juxtaposition of images were taken to new levels of sophistication.