Legendary native Mario Sanchez, born in the Key West Cuban
cigar community known as Gatoville in 1908, was the son of a cigar maker. The
self taught artist started recording recollections of his Cuban emigrant
community in 1930 by drawing his initials ideas on a paper bag, then carved
“intaglios” and painted memories of his neighborhood on cedar boards. His art
has immortalized both Mario and Cuban cultural heritage of early 20th century
The folk-influenced work of legend Mario Sanchez is more than a trend in collectible art. It gives us a warm and picturesque reflection of the street scenes people, and everyday life of early 20th-century Key west.
Key West Artist Mario Sanchez, who began his career by selling sketches on brown paper bags in barber shops, later was revered as one of America premier folk artists whose polychrome bas relief carvings have been valued at more than $50,000.
Born October 7, 1908. Died April 28, 2005. He was 96.