René Portocarrero was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1912. He was, above all, a self-taught artist. In 1957 and 1963, he participated in the Sao Paulo Biennial, and in 1952 and 1966 in the Venice Biennale. Throughout his career, he received various awards and distinctions. His works are exhibited in multiple public collections around the world. Conscious of his artistic notoriety, Portocarrero dealt with numerous subjects, mainly about Cuba, its spirit, its people, and its popular festivals.
An outstanding figure in the generation which initiated the modern art movement in Cuba, René Portocarrero drew acclaim for his paintings that depict the tropical environment and women of colonial Havana. He was among the leading figures of the second Avant-gard generation, alongside artists such as Cundo Bermúdez and Mario Carreño. He explored the poetics of color and baroque lines. His horror vacui manifests in his ornate, chromatic, and expressionist compositions.