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This document is the catalogue to the Salón de Arte Moderno held in the exhibition hall of the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango in November 1957. In addition to an introduction, the catalogue contains a list with basic information (style, dimension, concise biography, and photograph of the artist) about each of the eighteen works included in the event. The introduction explains the nature of the Salón de Arte Moderno. It also describes the twofold motivation for holding the event: to show those attending the Fifth Meeting of Central Bank Technicians of the American Continent the latest tendencies in Colombian contemporary art (painting and sculpture) and to celebrate the opening of the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango’s exhibition hall which, the introduction explains, will henceforth be open to all local artists, regardless of tendency or style.



This document is the first exhibition catalogue printed by the Banco de la República of Colombia’s Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango in Bogotá, an organization key to advocating and spreading Modern art in Colombia starting in 1957. The catalogue to the Salón de Arte Moderno (1957), the event that marked the opening of the library’s exhibition hall, provides a vision of what was considered Modern art in Colombian in the late fifties. The text asserts that the show does not set out to exhibit or to compile art on the basis of critical judgments, but rather to provide an overview of local production at the time. It is on the basis of that criterion that the library would purchase the first works for its art collection and determine a schedule of exhibitions. 


According to the records of the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, the first four works to be acquired for the collection were chosen at the opening of the exhibition hall. The works in question were En Rojo y Azul: Mandolina sobre una silla [In Red and Blue: Mandolin on a Chair] by Fernando Botero (b. 1932), Ondina [Undine] by Hugo Martínez (b. 1923), Ángel volando en la noche [Angel Flying in the Night] by Cecilia Porras de Child (1920–1971), and El Dorado by sculptor Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923–2004). 


The fourteen other artists of different generations, backgrounds, and tendencies selected by Cecilia Ospina de Gómez to participate in the show included Luis Alberto Acuña (1904–1984), Julio Abril (1912–1979), Alejandro Obregón (1920–1992), and Carlos Rojas (1933–1997). 


Related documents include: “Cecilia Vive en una prisión de colores,” Revista Semana. Nº 567, October 11 to 18, 1957, pp. 40-41 (Doc. No. 1132452); and Gil Tovar, Francisco. “La Colección de Pinturas de la Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, núcleo inicial para un posible museo de arte moderno,” Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico, Vol. 3, Nº 12, October-December, 1960, pp. 852-854 (Doc. No. 1131419).


Alexandra Mesa Mendieta
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Sylvia Juliana Suárez Segura, Bogotá, Colombia
Courtesy of Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia