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In Bernardo Chataing’s preface, he explains that the Taller Libre de Arte (TLA) invited young painters to participate in its exhibition, which would hold them responsible for creating new art forms. In turn, this would generate multiple trends. The writer comments that the participants are enthusiastic because they are eager to go beyond the precepts established by the academies. What interests these emerging artists is representing the energy of daily life, assuming the freedom to choose the themes through which to express themselves. Similarly, Chataing considers this to be a generation of painters with the desire to consolidate a new chapter in the history of painting in Venezuela, perhaps without forgetting sensitivity as the eternal source of art.


The catalogue for which Bernardo Chataing wrote the preface was presented at the first group exhibition held by the Taller Libre de Arte (TLA), at the Liceo Fermín Toro, from October 3–17, 1948. In his book Textos sobre arte (Caracas: Fundación Editorial El Perro y la Rana, 2007, p. 266), Francisco da Antonio recalls an episode that marked this high school as the site where the TLA would be organized and take shape. In the second semester of 1947, the social realism activist group Barraca de Maripérez used this school building as a meeting place along with a handful of alumni from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas. Their leaders at the time were Jean Nouel, Rafael Rivero Oramas, and José Fernández Díaz. Certain phrases from the catalogue suggest the profile and aesthetic intentions of the participants, as stated by the writer of the introduction: “release from the requirements of canons,” “freedom in the expression of themes,” “a multiplicity of trends and explorations,” “new forms,” “unknown worlds of feelings,” “forms freed from academic and conceptual rigor,” among others.


[For more texts on the TLA, see the ICAA digital archive: the preface for a TLA exhibition written by the critic Rafael Pineda, “Sin Título” (doc. no. 1101650); the preface, “Exposición de cuadros abstractos 1948: El movimiento moderno de abstracción–invención–concreción,” in which the TLA collective states its interest in invention and creative freedom (doc. no. 1101635); and the article, although rife with inconsistencies, is informative about the closing of the TLA and its replacement by another institution, the INCIBLA “Han sido destituidos todos los profesores del Taller Libre de Arte” (doc. no. 1172267)].

Félix Hernández
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Bernardo Chataing, 1948
Biblioteca Personal Félix Hernández