Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

This fully illustrated catalogue to the Primer Salón Intercol de Artistas Jóvenes [First Intercol Salon of Young Artists] (1964) is divided into five parts: the cover, featuring a photograph of the exhibition that took place at the first seat of the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá (MAM); mention of the museum board of directors in 1964; the introduction explaining the reasons for holding the event and its importance for the art scene in Colombia, and in Latin America as a whole; a list of seventy-six of the seventy-eight works ultimately selected for the exhibition, as well as black and white photographs of eight of them; and the decision issued by the jury whose members were Marta Traba, José Gómez Sicre, and Alejandro Obregón. The text not only mentions the award-winning artists, but also describes the process by which participants in the show were selected and the awards were allocated.


This catalogue attests to the rising importance of Latin American art in Colombia in 1964 and 1965, because of an initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS) and financial support from the multinational oil company ESSO.  


The Primer Salón Intercol de Artistas Jóvenes (1964) was open to Colombian artists under the age of thirty-five. The event was organized and sponsored by three major institutions, which also influenced the allocation of awards through their representatives on the jury: Marta Traba (1923–1983), representing the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá; Alejandro Obregón Rosés (1920–1992), representing the International Petroleum Company (Intercol); and José Gómez Sicre (1916–1991), representing the Visual Arts Division of the Organization of American States. The jury unanimously decided to award first prize in painting to Fernando Botero (b. 1932) and second prize in that category to Nirma Zárate (1936–1999). Artists like Carlos Rojas (1933–1997) and Beatriz González (b. 1938) received honorary mentions and purchase prizes. In the sculpture category, first prize was given to Feliza Burztyn [sic] (1933–1982), while Francisco Cardona and Álvaro Herrán (b. 1937) shared the second prize. In addition to a monetary award, winners participated in the Salon of Young Latin American Artists held in Washington, DC, where the OAS headquarters is located. 


This salon would be the first event to launch, domestically as well as internationally, a generation of artists whose work from the sixties resignified Colombian art. With the exception of Botero, none of the award-winning artists had won prizes at the Colombian Salón Nacional. However, this would change one year later, when in 1965—at the initiative of Traba—artists like Beatriz González, Feliza Bursztyn, and Carlos Rojas would gain greater recognition. 


Related documents include “Salón Esso de Artistas Jóvenes: Patrocinado por la Unión Panamericana y Esso” [doc. no. 1091951] and “Primer Salón Intercol de Artistas Jóvenes” by Marta Traba [doc. no. 1097966]. 

Alexandra Mesa Mendieta
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Fernando Zalamea Traba, Bogotá, Colombia.
Courtesy of Diego Obregón, Bogotá, Colombia.
Reproduced with permission of Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia