Peru Figurative Arts Part I

By | December 21, 2021

A fundamental contribution to the development of 20th century Peruvian painting came from the National School of Fine Arts, founded in 1918, and from three eminent artists who taught there: the painters D. Hernández and J. Sabogal and the Spanish sculptor M. Piqueras Cotolí. D. Hernández (1856-1932), who spent almost all his life between Paris and Rome, arrived in Peru in 1918, called to direct the school, became the bearer of an academic conception that inaugurated a completely new phase in painting of the contemporary Peru J. Sabogal (1888-1956), who became a professor when Hernández ran the school, succeeded him after his death. Trained in Europe, Sabogal had assimilated the influence of different painters (I. Zuloaga, A. Camarasa, the brothers R. and V. Zubiaurre); during a trip to Argentina, came into close contact with the painter J. Bermudez in Jujuy; in 1922 he stayed in Mexico, assimilating the setting of revolutionary muralism. Personality disputed, Sabogal reacted to Hernández’s academicism by soon conquering a role of leader as founder of the important Peruvian pictorial school asserting indigenous traditions. Supported by a pasty technique, with a vigorous approach, his painting, followed by enthusiastic schoolchildren, represents the claim of the native man, the affirmation of his values, the exaltation of the provincial, local, rural landscape, and renews the Peruvian artistic environment leaving a remarkable and lasting imprint. His painting, while not reaching a defined content of denunciation and protest deriving from a precise political attitude, nevertheless proposes itself as a precise act of faith in the Indian. One of Sabogal’s most significant paintings is considered the Alcalde of Chincheros (Pinacoteca of the Art Museum of Lima). For Peru 2007, please check

The apogee of the indigenist school dates back to the 1920-40s, when it became the official artistic current, but some exponents of this school continued to paint according to the typical stylistic features of the group until a few years ago. And the case of J. Codesido (b. 1892), the most eminent figure of the indigenist school. Fervent admirer of Sabogal, her painting, which at times reaches highly dramatic peaks, is proposed as a rare fusion of extraordinary expressive power and chromatic delicacy in a remarkably personal style that aspires to overcome any rigid dogmatism. Pervaded by a perennial restlessness, his painting, having passed an initial period of strict dependence on the master, after 1935, goes through a phase in which it adheres to the dictates of Mexican muralism (especially DA Siqueiros),

Painters who proclaim themselves independent react to the indigenous school. Among these J. Vinatea Reynoso (1900-1931), an excellent realist painter without reaching the merely descriptive, endowed with high and recognized expressive qualities (among his most famous paintings, The crags on Lake Titicaca, Central Reserve Bank); A. Gonzáles “Apurimak” (b. 1900), who subjects the human figure to various stylizations; R. Grau (1907-1960), trained in Paris and returned to Peru in 1938, bringing you with the new trends of French art an opening and a renewal that contrasts with the localism of the indigenist school: painter of exquisite sensitivity, delicate colorist, harmonious and balanced, he began by painting taverns and portraits and then engaged in the research of pre-Columbian art. In recent times he has worked exclusively on non-figurative compositions, surprising for the casual and effective experimental transition from the figurative to the abstract. M. de la Torre (b. 1893) is a painter characterized by permanent and youthful restlessness. L’ creative urgency and the constant solicitation of research lead him, however, to an excessive production that is at the expense of stylistic coherence. In his paintings, hallucinating and mysterious views of forests and the calm and deep landscapes of the Peruvian coast emerge. C. Quízpez Asín (b. 1900), above all the author of murals, possesses a sense of geometry and a balanced architectural quality that are realized in a sobriety of modules and in a chromatic essentiality dominated by the range of grays and bright white. S. Gutiérrez (1914-1961) represents a singular case of self-teaching: instinctive talent, he began with sculpture and then devoted himself to painting. Passionate expressionist, in his paintings the color dominates the form to the point of canceling the design and the violence with which it is expressed is resolved in radiant brightness. In recent years he painted with anguish in hallucinating and dramatic forms. J. Springett (b. 1914) expresses in his abundant production a chromatic ductility and an expertise in execution that place him among the most talented artists of recent years.

JM Ugarte Eléspuru (b. 1911) directed the national school of fine arts between 1956 and 1973. His high-quality activity takes place both in the field of painting (including mural) and sculpture.

Peru Figurative Arts