The Tito Enrique Cánepa Jiménez Collection, 1916-2012
Biographical Note: Painter Tito Enrique Cánepa Jiménez was born in 1916 in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. Young Tito began to protest the increasingly totalitarian regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, and as a result of these political activities, his parents sent him to Puerto Rico and then to New York City. Upon his arrival in New York City in the mid-1930s, Cánepa worked in the Experimental Workshop led by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros and Bolivian painter Roberto Berdecio. These artists as well as the art education provided by Dominican art historian Américo Lugo strongly influenced Cánepa’s painting style. His paintings display strong commitments to portraying Dominican political, cultural, and religious life. Important Dominican political figures portrayed in his paintings include the Mirabal sisters and heroes of Dominican independence Gregorio Luperón and Juan Pablo Duarte. Among his most notable paintings are “Peasant Family” (1939), “Tryptyc: Enriquillo, Duarte, Luperón” (1971), “Anacaona” (1988), and “Self Portrait” (1946). Cánepa was married to dancer and actress Florence Lessing. The couple had two children, Eric and Cathy. Cánepa’s work received early recognition, when his works were exhibited in New York City in the early 1940s. In 1943, Dominican critic Rafael Díaz Niese named Tito Cánepa, Jaime Colson, and Darío Suro “the three most accomplished Dominican painters” (Pelligrini 1996). The Tito Enrique Cánepa Collection consists of approximately seven cubic feet of drawings and sketches; correspondence with his cousin, Dominican social scientist and educator Juan Isidro Jiménes Grullón (253 items) 1945-1982); subject files; motion pictures and newsreel; photographs and contact prints depicting Cánepa, his family, and his paintings; and other documents produced or collected by Cánepa. The collection also contains three paintings: “Ojeda y Caonabo,” 1984; “Las hermanas Mirabal” (The Mirabal Sisters), 1985; and “El golfo de las flechas,” (The Gulf of Arrows), 1987
Scope and Contents Note: The Tito Enrique Cánepa Collection consists of 53 drawings and sketches; correspondence with his cousin Dominican social scientist Juan Isidro Jiménez Grullón (253 items, 1945-1982); subject files; numerous photographs and contact prints depicting Cánepa, his family, and his paintings; photographs; 27 motion pictures (restricted) and other documents generated or produced or collected by Tito Enrique Cánepa from c.1939 to 1992; a computer diskette containing a manuscript relating to the colonial history of the Dominican Republic (228 pages). The collection also contains three paintings: “Ojeda y Caonabo”, 1984; “Mirabal Sisters” (“Las Hermanas Mirabal”), 1985; and “The Gulf of Arrows” (“Golfo de las Flechas”), 1987.