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    Débora Arango, una discípula del Expresionismo : una artista colombiana
    El Heraldo de Antioquía (Medellín, Colombia). -- Oct. 3, 1940
    Newspaper article – Interviews
    El Heraldo de Antioquía (Medellín, Colombia). "Débora Arango, una discípula del Expresionismo." October 3, 1940.
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This is an interview, complete with editorial comments, that was published in the newspaper El Heraldo de Antioquia on the occasion of the exhibition of works by the Colombian painter Débora Arango in Bogotá in 1940. Arango mentions the reactions provoked by the nudes she exhibited in Medellín the previous year, defines her work as belonging to the “Expressionist” school, and acknowledges the influence of the mural painter Pedro Nel Gómez. She claims that her specialty is the human figure and that she likes to use bold colors. She also admits to a preference for “pagan expressions that spring spontaneously from my temperament” because she spontaneously finds “passion and paganism” in human faces. The enthusiastic interviewer expresses his/her uncertainty when faced with the artist’s work, “(…) because she is a woman, all the more admirable because of the strength she draws from her gender.”   


In 1939, the Colombian painter Débora Arango (1907–2005) exhibited three works, two of which were female nudes that scandalized traditional-minded audiences. This led to a debate that pitted the conservative press against the liberal press, each one attacking and defending the works, respectively.


This interview was published just before Arango’s exhibition in Bogotá. The most noteworthy feature here is her spontaneity, which confirms that her work at that time was not merely a preconceived break with tradition, but the result of her innermost desire to be true to her own artistic compass. This becomes obvious when she explains that: “(…) one day I tried to draw the chaste face of a woman for La Mística [The Mystic] but, contrary to what I had intended, it turned out to be the face of a sinner.”


The interview ends with a description of the journalist’s visit to Débora Arango’s studio and a discussion of several of the latter’s works in complimentary terms. The interviewer calls the painter an Expressionist “who does not succumb to the total disfigurement that other Expressionists tend to favor.” The exhibition in Bogotá, that included thirteen watercolors, was presented at the Teatro Colón on October 5, 1940 at the invitation of the Minister of Education, the liberal Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. The show was introduced by César Uribe Piedrahíta (1897–1951), who described Arango’s work as “heroic” because it “ripped off the veil of false modesty and hypocritical prejudice behind which corrupt moralists are maliciously wont to hide.”

Santiago Londoño Vélez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Comunican S.A - El Espectador, Bogotá, Colombia