Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > "Dream the rest": On the Mystery and Vernacular Modernism of Felipe Jesus Consalvos, Cubamerican "Cigarmaker, Creator, Healer, & Man"

Little is known about enigmatic Cuban American cigarmaker and artist Felipe Jesus Consalvos (1891-c. 1960), whose over 800 collages were discovered at a West Philadelphia garage sale in 1983. By employing diverse disciplinary and critical tools, this thesis examines Consalvos's collage practice by speculatively tracking its orbit within a constellation of enmeshed contexts: the radical sociopolitical world of Cuban American tabaqueros; the fraught history of U.S.-Cuban relations and associated processes of cultural appropriation and hybridization; the rise of collage as a recursive development within both vernacular and elite or academic expressive culture; Consalvos's potential positioning within the aligned discourses of contemporaneous Euro-American modernist art and poetry (especially Dada, Surrealism, and Pop); the artist's self-declared role as healer; and the machinations of the contemporary North American art market. Essentialist notions of the vernacular, the modern, and the authentic interpenetrate and collapse upon a close analysis of his compelling, unclassifiable collages.