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The artist, Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, presented an exhibition of the Colombian painters, Darío Jiménez Villegas and Jorge Elías Triana, at the Biblioteca Benjamín Franklin [Benjamin Franklin Library] in Mexico City. In his essay, Gómez Jaramillo highlights the fact that Triana and Jiménez are showing their work in a cultural milieu as demanding as that of Mexico. He also praises the personality and artistic independence of the two young artists, which will keep them from being shipwrecked on the “isms” of the time. Regarding Triana, the writer mentions his earlier training at the Academia San Carlos de México [San Carlos Academy in Mexico]. In Triana’s mastery, the writer recognizes the instruction provided by the Spanish painter, Antonio Rodríguez Luna, who lived in Mexico City at the time. Gómez Jaramillo believes the young painter sets a priority on a “muted palette, cool tones among the rich simplicity of earth colors.” In turn, Jiménez is “a painter with an extraordinary imagination” who, in the writer/artist’s opinion, even surpasses his own painting. The writer predicts that if the young painter does not allow his imagination to become watered down, given his lyricism and tortured soul, Jiménez will capture the “magic touch that is missing in the work of so many creators of paintings.”
The text “Dos pintores colombianos” [Two Colombian Painters] is the introduction to the only international exhibition in which the painter, Darío Jiménez Villegas (1919–1980), would participate, and the first for Jorge Elías Triana (1921–1999), who worked for many years as a painter and muralist.
During his lifetime, Jiménez held only five exhibitions: in 1942, at the Conservatorio del Tolima [Tolima Conservatory]; 1943, in the foyer of the Teatro Colón [Columbus Theater] in Bogotá; 1946, in Mexico City [—the exhibition discussed in this introduction]; 1972, at Galería 70 in Bogotá; and, in 1979, when the Galería Belarca in Bogotá organized a retrospective of his work. In recognition of, and based on the discovery of his life as an outstanding painter, there were two major retrospectives organized after his death: Darío Jiménez: Exposición antológica 1938–1980 [Darío Jiménez: Retrospective Exhibition] (1987) at the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango [Luis Ángel Arango Library] in Bogotá and Darío Jiménez: Un testimonio poético [Darío Jiménez: a Poetic Testimony] (1995) at the Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art] of Bogotá.
In October 1946, Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, as well as being an artist, was serving as cultural attaché at the Colombian Embassy in Mexico. Taking advantage of a long visit to the Mexican capital by the young Colombians, Triana and Jiménez, Gómez Jaramillo organized this exhibition. Jiménez’s admiration for the writer’s strict discipline and “monastic love of art” began during his studies with Gómez Jaramillo at the Escuela de Bellas Artes [School of Fine Arts] (now the Escuela de Artes Plásticas [School of Visual Arts] de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia [of the National University of Colombia]). Being in Mexico, each artist showed [only] 12 works at the Biblioteca Benjamín Franklin [Benjamin Franklin Library], the official information center of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. In principle, Jiménez wanted to do his training in Paris, but the events of World War II sent him on a detour to Mexico City, with financial support from his father, Félix Jiménez. Meanwhile, Triana, who had studied painting at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas [School of Visual Arts] in Tolima between 1940 and 1944, was in Mexico on a scholarship granted by the Department of Tolima to study mural painting at the Academia de San Carlos.
The artist [and writer], Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, was an outstanding painter and muralist in Colombia, along with Pedro Nel Gómez (1899–1984). For example, in 1936, he was sent to Mexico by the liberal administration of President Alfonso López Pumarejo (1934–38) to study Mexican muralist artwork. The social effects of the Mexican Revolution made Mexico an important political and cultural referent during both López administrations, the one mentioned above and 1942 to 1945.