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In an interview with Gloria Valencia Diago of the daily newspaper El Tiempo, Ricardo Gómez Campuzano talked about various matters related to his life as a painter. He spoke about his art training at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Colombia and at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain, his professors, work techniques, preference for the genres of portrait and landscape, and his marriage to Isabel Delgado Padilla. After studying art in Brussels (Belgium), she abandoned her own work in support of her husband. The interview was conducted in the artist’s home, which is now the headquarters of the foundation that bears the artist’s name. In the course of questions about matters of art, Gómez Campuzano reveals his inability to understand abstract art, stating that Alejandro Obregón’s work does not speak to him. He does not share the interviewer’s belief that there was a resurgence of landscape painting in Colombia, instead expressing his admiration for artists such as Roberto Pizano and Eugenio Zerda, whom he deems “the best native painter ever, and now as you can see, so forgotten.”


The value of this newspaper article on the painter Ricardo Gómez Campuzano (1891–1981), in which the voice of the interviewee is central, is like an homage to a traditional Colombian artist. Throughout the span of his work life, this artist maintained a distance from the twentieth century avant-garde trends that entered Colombia in the 1930s and 1940s. This was just when the artist’s work began to take hold in Colombia’s artistic milieu, upon his return from Spain, where he was trained in painting at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. In October 1981, a few months after the interview, Gómez Campuzano died in his home/studio, which is now the headquarters of the Asociación Cultural Ricardo Gómez Campuzano (founded in 1978).  


In his responses, the artist mentions his professors at the Madrid academy, which explains his connection with traditionalist art and genre painting, as well as his link to the Colombian artists Roberto Pizano (1896–1930) and Eugenio Zerda (1878–1945). These two also kept their distances from the avant-garde trends during their respective lives as artists and were successful among the economic elites. As a result of these artists’ distance from Colombian avant-garde art, throughout the study of Colombian art history, there was very little research done on their work. With respect to Gómez Campuzano, the distancing was confirmed by the journalist in her statement that the artist “remains unmoved, with absolute certainly in his art and his own focus on things,” and when she reveals that he does not understand the work of Alejandro Obregón (1920–92). 


Gloria Valencia Diago (b. 1927) is a Colombian journalist who wrote on arts matters in the daily newspaper El Tiempo for many years. She studied social communications at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá) and took specialized training at the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana in Madrid. She began her career as a journalist at the magazine Semana, and subsequently moved to El Tiempo, where she served twenty years as editor of the Arts Section; in it, she wrote articles on the visual arts, books, and classical music. She was in charge of the sections “Agenda cultural” and “Esta semana les recomendamos”, as well as the space “Lecturas Dominicales”, in the arts supplement of the same newspaper: “Comentarios y hechos de cultura internacional”. Along with her husband, the art historian Pedro Acosta Barrero, she founded the Galería Acosta Valencia, which performs the important educational work of disseminating art through lectures and guided tours of exhibitions.

Andrés Delgado Darnalt
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia.