Carbonell, is the last of the Cuban Modern Master Sculptors of his generation. This generation of Cuban artists, which includes Wifredo Lam and Agustin Cardenas, studied at the renowned Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes “San Alejandro” in Havana, Cuba. At the Academia Carbonell studied under the guidance of Jose Sicre, a former student of Bourdelle, Rodin’s favorite disciple.
In 1959, upon arriving in New York, Carbonell moved from his classical and religious period in Cuba in the 1949’s and 1950’s through the commencement and development of his modern expression of the 1960’s, culminating in Madison Avenue, then pinnacle of the art world. In 1963, he celebrated the first of his seven bi-annual “One Man Show” at the renowned Schoneman Galleries in New York City.
One of Carbonell’s most impressive commissioned works of art is the 53-foot bronze monument “The Pillar of History” located at the Brickell Avenue Bridge, Miami, Florida. His most recent monument “El Centinela Del Rio”, a 21-foot bronze and alabaster sculpture is located at Tequesta Point in Brickell Key, Miami. Carbonell was also the creator of the 15-foot sculpture “Horse and Rider” which Burt Reynolds commissioned for his former theater.
His modern monumental works are part of important art collections and public spaces, “Couple in Love” adorns the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, “Lovers” is found at the entrance of the Carbonell Condominium, named in the artist honor, “Torso” formerly at Selby’s Five Point Park, downtown Sarasota is now at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida, and “New Generation” in Xujianhui Park, Shanghai, China. The sculpture “Amantes” now graces the entrance of the Hotel Bristol, Republic of Panama.
Carbonell presented in 1976 at a formal ceremony at the Rose Garden in the White House his “Bicentennial Eagle” as his gift to the United States of America which is now part of the Smithonian Collection at the Gerald Ford Museum.
Carbonell sculptures are found at important museums and art collections such as The Frost Museum, Miami, Florida, The Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, The Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, Florida, “The Swire Art Trust”, Lefrack Collection, The Nemeroff Collection, The Finkle Collection and in personal collections such as those of Burt Reynolds, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Desi Arnaz, Kay Ballart, Carlton Varney, Eleanor Kosow, Wayne Huizenga and many others fine art collectors.
Carbonell is also the namesake and major benefactor of the Carbonell Awards, highest achievement award for the theater in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Carbonell’s inexhaustible vision and his ever changing-style are the product of a brilliant talent and academic background. Ceaselessly searching for the essence of the form and the absence of details, he struggles to provide a sense of strength, monumentality and simplicity to his work. At 92 years of age, he continues to work daily in his studio. As Dr. Fred Schoneman, Director of the former renowned Schoneman Galleries, said in 1974; “Carbonell is one of the Masters of Sculpture of our times . . .”