The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this text, Germán Arciniegas, director of the magazine Universidad, describes how he discovered George Franklin, a young draftsman who would later become one of the magazine’s leading caricaturists. The author tells the story of how, one fine day, Franklin visited the magazine’s offices with an album full of drawings. Arciniegas was astonished by Franklin’s skill, though the artist was retiring and doubted that his work would be accepted for publication. Arciniegas mentions Franklin’s three “gifts” as a caricaturist: first, the ability to “capture motion” and gestures in order to shape an image; second, the ability to “print the gesture like a photograph, to grasp what’s really at play in the smile of an individual that, in the false poses of gallery portraits, seems stiff, incomprehensible and lacking in spirit”; third, the ability to “kill expression” and freeze life at specific moments, turning them into a form of geometry, “making a nose a prism and a mouth a cube.” In Arciniegas’s view, rather than a promising talent, Franklin was an undeniable phenomenon in the world of caricature in Colombia.
Little research has been done on the history of the graphic arts in Colombia. In the last few years, major figures, as well as connections with other areas of the arts, have been discovered. The twenties and thirties in Colombia witnessed the resurgence of the graphic arts in the country’s press as many magazines and newspapers made space for illustration, caricature, and advertising. It was in this context that figures like draftsman and caricaturist George Franklin emerged with work in the liberal magazine Universidad (first period 1921-1922; second period 1927-1929), directed by essayist and historian Germán Arciniegas (1900–1999). Franklin formed part of a group of draftsmen that not only revitalized the medium, but also used an avant-garde language little explored by artists in Colombia.
In the first decades of the 20th century, caricature was considered a minor art form, less important than painting or sculpture. Draftsmen whose work centered on caricature were viewed as craftsmen rather than as artists. This distinction meant that, with the exception of Ricardo Rendón (1894-1931), caricaturists were seen as second-rate creators.