Uruguay Arts and Culture Part II

By | December 20, 2021

These two artists exemplify the open position that will contribute to the opening in planism, which became a national school in the 1930s. The planisme, which began with the teaching in the Círculo of the painter G. Laborde (1886-1940), whose contributions are however to be noted above all in the field of scenography, will have its driving force in the Teseo association. Representatives of this trend of color planes are J. Cúneo (1887-1977), painter of romantic moons and expressionistically deformed elements, who later, around the age of 70, will sign himself with the maternal surname of Perinetti in abstract experiences, and C. de Arzadum (1888-1968), landscape painter of views of France, Spain and the Uruguay, keen in emotionally fixing the light of his land.

Cubist accents can be found from the end of the 1920s in the works of C. Rivello (1901-1944), C. Prevosti (1896-1955), G. Bellini (1908-1935), H. Sgarbi (1905), pupils in Paris of A. Lhote, whose influence is also found in other Uruguayan artists, such as O. García Reino (1910). Another important point of reference for the artists of this generation is the art of F. Léger. The painters R. (Pérez) Barradas (1890-1929), also illustrator, draftsman and caricaturist, worked for a long time in Spain where he made the most important part of his work, enjoying success as a set and costume designer; R. Aguerre (1897-1967), designer and engraver, A. De Simone (1896-1950), of Italian origin, who lives the city of Montevideo intensely and dramatically, as his works testify. For Uruguay 2015, please check dentistrymyth.com.

Artist in advanced maturity is P. Figari (1861-1938), university professor, politician, essayist, pillar of national culture; he was organizer of the National School of Artes y Oficios – currently Trabajo University of the Uruguay – in which the teaching and promotion of craftsmanship is emphasized: in 1915 he was appointed director, and looking to Ruskin, he tends to transform the school into a teaching place for design: it is worth underlining the beneficial function of elevation of taste that the artisan object assumes in the Uruguay, as almost the only aesthetic element of penetration into everyday life. The protagonists of Figari’s paintings – mostly on cardboard -, full of social content, are natives who move around places in the Río de la Plata. His other publications are Arte, Estética, Ideal (1912) and El Arquitecto (1928).

The Uruguay it remains aloof from the Americanist researches that have been fervent in various Latin American countries since the 1920s, focused on the current conditions of the primitive resident of the continent, because, since indigenous communities do not exist in this nation, the problem of the Indian condition is not felt. In the nineteenth century, when JM Blanes painted El Angel de los Charrúas, he did so without the passion that will be found in other artists of the continent when dealing with such themes. Mexican muralism influences N. Berdía (1900) after Siqueiros’ trip to Montevideo in 1933, but few others are the lovers, and short-lived examples, of this kind.

With the return from Europe, in 1934, of J. Torres García (1874-1949) the search for the native in the art of the Uruguay enters into synchrony with universal language. His Constructive Universalism is a synthesis of opposites, of concrete and abstract, of Americanism and universalism, of the pre-Columbian past and of contemporaneity. With intellectual effort Torres García manages to give Uruguayan culture, with his artistic, theoretical and pedagogical work, the mestizaje (fusion of cultures) that it did not possess, making his long international experience available to his homeland (suffice it to recall Cercle et Carré, founded in Paris in 1930 together with M. Seuphor). In his Taller a good part of the Uruguayan artists among the most significant of today are formed, active in different cities of the world: his son Augusto (1913), J. Gurvich (1927), E. Ribeiro (1921), director and teacher of various schools of art in the province, and his brother Alceu (1919), JU Alpuy (1919), who until a few years ago was severe in the low tones and in articulating the orthogonals with the help of the golden section, G. Fonseca (1922), initially a painter, currently sculptor of very high poetic freedom despite the rules of the master.

From the birth of the Republic until part of the twentieth century it is the state that publicly recognizes artists by asking them for works; the lack of a strong market structure that serves as a filter between artists and the public, as has happened in other countries, has led to the direct state recognition being replaced by the salons and the award ceremonies which initially served as a provisional means of ‘indication of value, with the function of stimulus for the artists and vehicle of contact with the public. The Salón del Centenario in 1930 was the first of its kind, the Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes was created in 1937, the Municipal in 1940 and the Blanes Prize in 1960. It is also necessary to point out two exhibitions that have played a decisive role in the imposition of modern art; the first in 1952 at the Faculty of Architecture of Montevideo, which hosted mainly abstract works; the second, more important, was built in the Municipal Subte (underground) in 1955 with the title 19 artistas de hoy. At the same time, several groups of artists were formed but, with the exception of Taller Torres García, without precise programmatic objectives; since the groupings are heterogeneous, individual researches on common objectives prevail, which, although short-lived, nevertheless contributed to animating the artistic environment: Carlos Federico Sáez Group (1949), Gruppo de arte no figurativo (1952), Gruppo Ocho (1958). With different motivations, that is of teaching, dissemination and enhancement, associations of artists, intellectuals, amateurs are created: ETAP (school laboratory of visual arts) opens in 1932; AIAPE (association of left-wing intellectuals, artists, journalists, writers) and Amigos del Arte (1931) were founded in the 1930s; the Club de Grabado, in 1953.

Uruguay Arts and Culture