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Jose Maria Carbonell was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1914, but at an early stage of his life he decided to follow his dreams and went off to Habana to study painting in San Alejandro School of Arts, where he earned a degree in Arts. He was a contemporary and friend of Antonio Ferrer Cabello. In 1944 he moved back to Santiago de Cuba, where he taught arts particularly drawing and painting at the Jose Joaquin Tejada Art School, which at the time was called Escuela Provoincial de Artes Plasticas de Oriente. Alongside him were professors; Antonio Ferrer Cabello, Arturo Arabigt Pazos and Dr. Daniel Serra Badue, all graduates of San Alejandro in Habana. He was a prolific watercolorist, although he was fascinated by making oil works as well. Most of his works depict the landscapes and ways of life of his native Santiago de Cuba. In the 70s he decided to leave his beloved island and transferred to Madrid, Spain. Later in his life he settled in Miami, FL where he lived the last days of his life.