Amelia Peláez del Casal (5 January 1896 – 8 April 1968) was an important Cuban painter of the Avant-garde generation.
Amelia was born in 1896 in Yaguajay, in the former Cuban province of Las Villas (now Sancti Spíritus Province). In 1915, her family moved to Havana, to the La Víbora district, and this gave her the opportunity to enter the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes “San Alejandro” at the rather late age of 20 years (students at this academy usually start at 12–13 years of age). She was among Leopoldo Romañach’s favourite students. By 1924, she exposed her paintings for the first time, along with another Cuban female painter, María Pepa Lamarque. She transferred to Europe in 1927, and established herself in Paris, although she paid short visits to Spain, Italy and other countries.
In Paris, she took drawing courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière (1927), and later entered the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and the École du Louvre. In 1931, she started studying with female Russian painter Alexandra Exter. The Zak Gallery hosted her paintings in 1933, and next year she returned to Cuba.
She received a prize in the National Exposition of Painters and Sculptors in 1938, and collaborated with several art magazines in Cuba, such as Orígenes, Nadie Parescia and Espuela de Plata. In 1950 she opened a workshop at San Antonio de los Baños, a small city near Havana, where she dedicated herself, until 1962, to her favourite pastime: pottery. She sent her paintings to the São Paulo Art Biennial in 1951 and 1957, and participated in 1952’s Venice Biennale. In 1958 she was a guest of honour and integrated the International Jury of the first Inter-American Paints and Drawing Biennale.
Aside from painting and pottery, she dedicated time to murals, located mainly at different schools in Cuba. Her most important works of this type are a 65-foot-tall (20 m) ceramic mural at the Cuban Ministry of Internal Affairs (1953) and the facade of the Habana Hilton hotel in 1957.
She died in Havana in 1968.