Born in Havana in 1950, Alfonzo was exiled from Cuba after being deemed undesirable as a gay man. He left in July 1980 during the Mariel boatlift. Upon his arrival, Alfonzo settled in Miami where he lived and worked until his untimely death from AIDS-related complications in 1991. Leaving Cuba allowed him to embrace and explore his sexuality, and he was quickly embraced artistically in the United States. Alfonzo was a painter known for his vibrant neo-Impressionistic style, as Victor Barrenechea wrote, “He filled canvas after canvas with wildly energetic and anxiously expressive renderings of raw emotion, despair, and alienation.” After his death, Alfonzo’s work was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial. A 1998 exhibition, Triumph of the Spirit: Carlos Alfonzo, A Survey, 1975 –1991 opened at the Miami Art Museum and then traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Alfonzo’s work is included in both collections. His work Ceremony of the Tropics, 1984-86 is on permanent view at Miami’s Santa Clara Metrorail Station. The installation, created with hand-painted ceramic tiles, was a project of Miami’s Art in Public Places program curated by Cesar Trasobares.

Edited front and back Hand with Mamey.jpg

Carlos Alfonzo, Hand with Mamey (front and back), 1985, glazed ceramic, 15” x 6” x 5”


Carlos Alfonso, Untitled, 1987, ink, tempra, and gouache on paper, 48” x 31 ½”, signed: Alfonso 87.


Carlos Alfonzo, Untitled, 1987, Paradiso announcement card image designed and painted by the artist, ink on card, 6”  x  4”, Private Collection