PAINT, GUISE OF POLITICAL DEBATE

In the Fine Arts Exhibition participated Items 561, distributed as follows: 374 in the “painting section”; 81 of which were admitted after opening; 36 jobs in the “departments of architecture”, mostly drawing boards amounted to not make an entire project except, perhaps, the two designs baptistery and a fountain, with 17 exhibitors in total; 9 works in “section woodcut”, an extremely low number gives us an idea of the experience of Newsprint illustrated failed to project outside the company; 9 papers in the “embroidery section”; 13 in the “sculpture section” 8 exhibitor, with the exception of a bronze and marble, rejected his work in such despicable materials with clay, plaster and cardboard; 13 on “section of ornamentation”; 82 in the “photography section” with exhibitors who sent their copies in various materials like silk, glass and paper; finally 25 papers in the “music section” consisting scores and a “mechanical device to learn   music tones “of domestic manufacture. The exhibitors were 41 males and 66 females and although the catalog is not consistent, because sometimes works fine for technical and other for his subject, two modes may know that in the painting section was at least 21 copies of teachers, 91 landscapes, portraits 64, 18 Living Room Paint Ideas, 76 vases and still lifes, genre paintings 21 and a miscellany which included three “decorated with paint walnut bedside”, treatment with 61 crystal, “a” painting on   a “work with butterflies,” etc. As the regulations did not stipulate a limit to the number of works by artist some of them came to fill the galleries with real retrospective of his works. Epifanio Garay, ei busiest time painter, sent 47, and Ricardo Urbina Moros 25. Other, less abundant because just beginning or did not have a large clientele were: Ricardo Alvarez Borrero 9 works, Ricardo Ace: Bernal vedo 8, Eugenio Zerda 7, Jesús María Zamora 5, Roberto Páramo 5, Francisco Antonio Cano with 5 and Eugenio Peña with 4. (1) These names were the group most prestigious and well-known artists of the time.

Alongside these numerical data is noteworthy that the press referred to the event so profusely that news, editorials, notes, letters and critical comments reached the hundred, a figure that has hardly reached any room. Such a profusion of writings found in one of the most interesting documents of Colombian art, booklet of 54 pages Jacinto Albarracín, entitled Artists and critics, the first printed published in Colombia who became sole topic of their pages the contemporary art activity the author. Its same publication, originated in the need to establish you a final balance the critical avalanche broke away on the sample, is an indication of how important it was the political struggle that broke out about national artistic expression.

Three weeks after the exhibition opened, El Heraldo do a couple of references to some internal arrangements made ​​by the organizers and the free flow affecting the public. In one of them he said: “By living naked should not be prohibited entry, but simply tell what specialty of that site, to refrain from entering those fit to have ” (2) . Clearly, this complaint, a prudish atmosphere and narrow criteria were operational modalities created by the ruling class of the time, maximum defender of thought of Regeneration, which would then grant that was Instituting such thoughts when half century earlier, in the lounge 1848, and in a closed society, there had been some nudes painted by Petra González Blandina and sisters, without access to their works be limited or such paintings were considered immodest, nor a subject whose appreciation or execution should be interested forbidden to women (3) . As for the other note of El Heraldo, with it we are at the great political conflict, which in a very direct way unexpectedly burst into the room. He said: “Loe armed police rifle are bad effect on the Sanctuary of art. It would be best if they were unarmed, notwithstanding the state of war ” (4) .It could be said that officers had been deployed to ensure the integrity of works of art on which such verbal battle, it was reasonable to fear any aggression against Rafael Núñez regenerator effigies of President Sanclemente and former President Carlos Holguin broke.

The author of these effigies was Epifanio Garay, an artist who can identify fully with the Regeneration, on whom the public’s attention focused critical both for the high quality of his works in our environment so lofty as the character involved. Of the 47 works on a sample Garay was a copy of Espagnoletto, another was a landscape, 3 were studies, 3 were free compositions, 3 corresponded to religious subjects and 36 were portraits. An d the first reviews in the press, signed with the pseudonym of Lilia and written especially p Chronicle, referring to Garay said: “Only talk about the clou of his works: the portrait of former painfully slow Dr. Sanclemente, a masterpiece by the likeness, by severe natural composition, in harmony with the venerable old man “. immediately added “We say bluntly that no other among the exhibits -the de Garay inclusives that as it has not merited reproach some critics. Everything in this table reveals thorough study of the work before being rushed; also reveals arrested psychological analysis of model ” (5) . Politically this was rather lukewarm assessment of the effigy who was then the president of Colombia, especially when compared with the opinion of the rest of the liberal press. But do not forget, The Chronicle was equally warm to Regeneration.Hence the outside immediate reply: with CD initials, a liberal reader sent a few letters, the first of which raised the outset that the maximum portraiture work of the exhibition was not signed by Garay but was the “José Second Peña “of Ricardo Acevedo Bernal calling it work teacher (6) . Garay of the onslaught against government opponents Thus began, so that his work meant as propaganda system, an onslaught of various writers who always coincide, as if they had an agreement, arguing that Acevedo Bernal was the most notable living artist.

A few lines later CD’s letter stated his disagreement with the views of Lilia, and appropriated without many veils the political heart of the matter: “Straight is not seen long ago the current president of Colombia to find similarity between the face and the venerable octogenarian plethoric and red knight portrait, which looks more like a drinker Bayana an elderly respectable, burdened by the weight of many years of austere, exemplary and simple “life. It must be recognized that speaks up in the attacks and that at a time when the press surveillance exercised, the correspondent knew refine harsh criticism with phrases gallant apparent exaltation of the personality of the president. But not ceased to be sharp to ask: “And the eye jumped, stationary and fixed glass seems, have any resemblance to the flickering look original? And that hard body, which looks like wood, the body of one of the oldest men de Colombia did faithfully copied? What can be founded the saying that before undertaking the work have a thorough psychological analysis model? What state of mind reveals that figure, with wooden body, which serves to support a face of exaggerated colorful, animated by a glassy eye without expression? “. The commentator, in defining Sanclemente as a character from “hesitant look” and as “one of the oldest men in Colombia”, suggested in passing that was a ruler worn with age and, therefore, incapable represented by Garay of a fake cleverly create you an image that did not correspond with reality mode. In response to several questions, the anonymous correspondent was blunt as to leave no doubt of their real contempt for the work under the magnifying glass: “To me and many people heard about the matter, says nothing, absolutely nothing” . However, not all critics agreed with the correspondent of The Chronicle at its conclusion. Others spoke volumes read this portrait and the other of the illustrious political leaders of Regeneration. Comment by El Heraldo is significant in that it did not appear as a column either but as the editorial of day to express in an aside, “Epifanio Garay shows his best portraits. There are the Dr. Nunez and D. Ricardo Carrasquilla. How full of truth and expression are those two effigies of great political and entertaining writer. The cryptic phrase is being developed on the forehead of the thinker, and the festive song seems to come to the lips of the poet epigrammatic ” (7) . Whether it was Sanclemente or Rafael Núñez, was not the individuality of these   leaders but Regeneration and what she meant in all its aspects, which was always in doubt.

The first reaction of Garay, according to a correspondent for the conservative newspaper The National Post, seems like more of euphoria. But we must see where the witness is not an advanced manufacturing in order to present the painter as invulnerable to his critics. In the document it is stated: “We were present when the artist Garay read a letter-criticism that put his portrait on the floor of His Excellency Mr. Sanclemente. Far from upset, only encouraged the artist as he read that letter; and finish with visible satisfaction exclaimed: ‘I’m going to school. I will see my work; the only one mereacid honors censorship. These accusations are not expecting praise. I would have hurt much indifference. Blessed beGod ” (8) .

Garay’s comments, however, were not to be always surrounded by details as laughing. His liberal critics persist in their task of prefixing Acevedo Bernal while pointing insistently defects identified with a painting Regeneration. Max Grillo, in his first note on the hall, calling attention to the Levite woman emphasizing “the bad effect of the figure of the man before him naked.” Immediately speak it to “false or no expression portrait of Mr. Sanclemente, or the colorful imagination of Mr. Pardo, or that scope to guess the lack of model and plenty of photography in others ” (9) . Meanwhile, Ruben J. Mosquera say suspiciously of the Levite woman was a “theme jugosamente exploited in the hall Paris by M. Hener, who won the Medal of Honor in 1898″, criticizing later this work of Garay “For the woman studio has earned its author a forbidden appeal to loyal corrtpositor, which is the stable printing photography, subject to the procedure of the grid”. Coinciding with Grillo, Mosquera rejected the use of photography. However, neither the Sanclemente turned out to your liking, “because truly the colors are exaggerated for an octogenarian man who was born and always lived in hot weather, natural exhausting of red blood cells. The look can not be stronger, especially the eye that best appreciated and whose ostensible fixity and challenging making appearances glass ” (10) .

At this point, Garay lost his temper. The charge of Mosquera in the sense that it had copied the nude woman Levite , damaged his reputation and called into question its well earned reputation of great cartoonist who did not need to resort to such a procedure, had by illegitimate. His answer, and without the humor found in his first reaction was swift. It consisted of a letter to the editor of The Uncle John in saying, “I will not deal with such criticism as not’ll take care of any leading all initial false signature or pseudonym, or those that are signed by persons who, although when they were respectable social representation, are not recognized competence in the field “. Garay, counterattacking, was so-terrible as his critics. Mosquera was not only a critical well structured but had training as a painter, a profession that ultimately changed the lyrics and, in any case, in the eyes of the time, it was eligible for an exceptional place to discuss the issue mode. To refute the claim that relied on photography, Garay accompanied his letter signed by eight other witnesses to the execution of the Levite woman, including painters Eugene Zerda and Francisco Torres Medina, Silvano Cuéllar sculptor and a citizen He wrote: “I declare, and with an oath if need be, the following: I am an employee of the School of Fine Arts, by appointment in me did the minister of Public Instruction, and as such soil into the studio of Mr. Garay without advertise. There I’ve been coming all the time, since he began his painting “; and concluded by stating, to clarify everything, “one day, when Mr. Garay was over the figure of the woman, vi inserting or removing a camera studio and until today I have known that was to give a copy to Mr. Garay had offered the model, the subject of your picture. ” This letter, published alongside the other occupying half a page of the newspaper, the signing Antonio Cortés (11) .

But Max Grillo wrote a second note and with it went the attacks. Although less aggressive than their previous and other liberal critics began, “Ricardo Acevedo Bernal appears triumphant. His victory is indisputable. ” And then scoring de Garay “in his later works revealed decadence ” (12) . Garay naturally charged again despite having promised not to occupy more of these issues. But the artist, by now, should be in tablet as a member of the organizer of the contest, he fell on suspicion of wanting to be favored with the jury would give the awards and whose choice played the most important role. The minutes of the meeting show that the formation of the jury became an arduous and difficult operation.Officially appointed, elected began to resign the appointment One after other, beginning with the Father Páramo (13) and following the Spanish painter Enrique Recio (14) , then the painter Rosa Ponce de Portocarrero and Italian sculptor César Sighinolfi, who were replaced at the same meeting of the board by Andres Santamaria y León Vilaveces (15) , the first of which also resigned.

The situation was chaotic and took Chronicle went on to suggest that the jury was tested by sending a selection of works to Paris to the French experts will determine which of them was really the best. And he argued: “The decision of the jury bogotano not deny that it is extremely competent; but as its members will not be dispensed at all, rendering its judgment, certain criteria of sympathy or antipathy towards our artists, always gives more security failure foreigners, completely unconcerned – and free from these disturbing elements of judgment ” (16) . Days after the Autonomista would welcome such a request, in an exceptional attitude. given the tensions that existed between the two publications (17) . In the bottom line you can guess the suggestion that such was the inability of the government, that even in matters of art could ensure fair ruling. The setbacks with juries delayed the award and thinned the classroom environment until it reached a critical point. A valuable testimony to res respect is the anonymous CD, which explains in a letter to The Chronicle that “With looks to take some data to complete my magazines that have sent so respectable newspaper of you, yesterday I went to the hall of the Exhibition Fine Arts and had the strangest and most unpleasant surprise at the foot of a multitude of paintings I read this sign:. Out of competition, and someone said, it seems that Mr. Recio has withdrawn from the examining board, and his disciples, for that reason, resolved not to allow their works to enter thecontest ” (18) . The author deplores this attitude and welcomed, if the jury could not fail, then the idea of sending to Paris the best works.

Attacked by critics and challenged for being the organizer and participant time and Garay responded indignantly Grillo second criticism: “It seems that my silence to repeated criticism (I do not believe that the same author) in different newspapers are published in order to exalt some artists and depressing to another, I’ve always been, more and more exalted bile those who attack me. No prohibited weapon has not been presented against me; However, I will keep silent in order to show the respect due me gentlemen composing the examining board; their integrity is unquestionable, and exercising with written influences on his judgment, is unusual and claim ridiculous ” (19) . Nervousness de Garay could not be greater: intended silent contempt, when in fact kept respond to critics with his letters. But at the same time was extremely lucid as critics had guessed that actually chased influence the award and thus prevent or Sanclemente Núñez winners will result in effigy. The note of the Autonomista, accepting the idea Chronicle send works to Paris, that pressure is betrayed and was intended to invalidate any decision different from that proposed by the liberal, pro-Acevedo Bernal, when it stated: “Since the public has issued its rulings on the tables in the -Exposition Nacional ” (20) , an attitude that also in contranos in Grillo saying “Ricardo Acevedo Berrial appears triumphant” and “victory is indisputable” already cited in note. Clearly it was not the public but liberal critics, who had issued that ruling.

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INDEX

 

 

1 See Catalog of the National Exhibition of Fine Arts and Music in 1899 arranged by Peter A. Quijano, typography Messenger, Bogotá, 1899. (Return 1)

2 “Notes on the Exhibition” in El Heraldo, no. 847, Bogotá, September 5, 1899.  (Back 2)

3 J. MIGUEL FIGUEROA and J. CELESTINO FIGUEROA, “Rate of works” in The Vta, no. 533, Bogota, August 2, 1848. The end of the century pacatería well illustrated Pedro Carlos Manrique, who wrote purpose of the prize awarded in Paris to his excondiscípulo Frenchman Paul Chabas, as follows: “We looked at our cari several sketches as a precious I remember we retain our friend and including preliminary studies of the nude he made ​​his first painting p (…).Unfortunately, those drawings are not published in this city “(PCM,” The award of the Paris Salon ” Pictorial, no. 15, Bogotá, August 22, 1899).  (Back 3)

4 “Notes on the Exhibition” in El Heraldo, ibid.  (return 4)

5 LILIA, “National Exhibition at the School of Fine Arts” in The Chronicle, no. 632, Bogota, August 17, 1899.  (back in May)

6 CD., “Portraits and Landscapes”, in The Chronicle, no. 634, Bogota, August 18, 1899.  (Back 6)

7 “Fine Arts” in El Heraldo, no. 842, Bogota, August 24, 1899. (return 7)

8 CV, “Criticism and artist” in El Correo Nacional, no. 2552, Bogotá, August 23, 1899. (back 8)

9 Max [Max CRICKET], “The Statement”, in The Journal, no. 5, Bogotá, August 24, 1899. (back 9)

10 J. Reuben MOSQUERA, “Fine Arts” in El Tio Juan, no. 106, Bogota, September 10, 1899. ( return 10)

11 “personal Section – Rectification” in El Tio Juan, no. 108, Bogotá, September 21, 1890.  (Back 11)

12 M [Max CRICKET]. “Impressions” in The Autonomista, no. 292, Bogota, September 27, 1899.
(back 12)

13 “National Exhibition – Act Number 15 July 25″, Official Journal , no. 11,067, Bogotá, August 19, 1899.  (Back 13)

14 “National Exhibition – September 21 Act Number 5″, in The National Unity, no. 120, Bogotá, October 5, 1899.  ( return 14)

15 “National Exhibition – Act Number 22 September 13″ in The National Unity, no. 129, Bogota, October 16, 1899.  (Back 15)

16 “Art and government” in The Chronicle, no. 647, Bogota, September 3, 1899.  (Back 16)

17 “For the art” in THE Autonomista, no. 279, Bogotá, September 12, 1899.  (back 17)

18 CD, “National Exhibition” in The Chronicle, no. 656, Bogota, September 14, 1899.  (Back 18)

19 Epifanio Garay, “On Painting” on E! Autonomista, no. 294 Bogotá, September 29, 1899.  (Back 19)

20 “For the art” in The Autonomista, Ibid.  (return 20)