The original of this painting is currently on display in one of the most famous museums in
Cuba, the Museo Nacionalde Ballas Artes, known as the Cuban Art Museum.
The original oil, on linen was painted in the 1950’s under Castro’s regime, and has long been a
subject of a great deal of controversy. The man in the painting is believed to actually
be the elusive Cuban spy “Libro Smarto” who has been in hiding underground since the
Although the man in the painting has never been able to reveal his true identify,
there has been much speculation regarding his identity and present whereabouts.
During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis it is
believed that Libro Smarto was involved in covert operations with the CIA and played
a major role in negotiations during that time. Because of the sensitivity of those
negotiations and activities, he went underground shortly thereafter.
Prior to going underground, Libro Smarto led quite a flamboyant life and enjoyed
his notoriety immensely. It was also rumored that he was involved in a torrid love affair
with an unidentified Hollywood celebrity who was also linked to Fidel Castro at the time.
There were many rumors as to the identity of the famous American actress,
but sadly her name was never actually revealed.
Libro Smarto has not been seen or heard from for many years, and is most
likely in his 90’s if he is still alive today. Rumors have it that he actually is still alive
and resides somewhere in the western region of Cuba and involved in the exportation of
high quality cigars throughout the world.
As one might suspect, there have been many forged copies of this famous painting but
the original is safe and secure in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Cuba where it is
on display and can be viewed daily.
** Please note: This is a purely fictional story written by Joyce Marsh for submission in the contest by
Endre Barath, Jr. March Book Smart Challenge
The actual artist of the painting is Paul Julien Freed and the title of the painting is "Book Smart"
Oil on Linen, 36"x24" Available for $4,500.
About the Artist
Paul Julien Freed's body of work is a narrative through color and dynamism. It is an extension of his impactful history, both in a personal sense and by way of his professional background in film and photography. Paul's seemingly instinctive style of painting enables him to explore a perspective that flows naturally through deep rooted creative interdependence. Paul's recent exhibition at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles is, in part, a display of his connection to the hotel.