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  • ICAA Record ID
    [Letter] 1954 June 15, n.l. [to] Roberto García Peña, director del Tiempo / Casimiro Eiger
    2 leaves
    Other – Letters
    Eiger, Casimiro to Roberto García Peña, n.l, June 15, 1954. Historic archives of Casimiro Eiger at Luis Ángel Arango Library, Bogotá, Colombia.
    García Peña, Roberto, 1910-1993; Gómez Jaramillo, Ignacio, 1910-1970

This is a letter written by Casimiro Eiger to Roberto García Peña, the director of the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo, in response to an article published in that newspaper on June 15, 1954. According to the letter in question, the painter Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo questions the “behavior of certain collectors who recently have decided to get rid of some of the paintings in their collections.” In his response to Gómez Jaramillo’s statement, Eiger discusses art collecting and the circulation of art in the world, and suggests that the Colombian painter’s remarks are biased and self-serving. In his letter, Eiger justifies normal and reasonable turnover in public and private collections on the basis of phenomena such as: “financial necessity, fluctuations in standards of living, or changes in taste.”


This is an important document in the history of twentieth-century Colombian art because it records two opposing points of view about modern art collecting in the 1950s. One view is expressed by Casimiro Eiger (1911–87), a foreigner who was born in Poland but lives in Colombia; he is a collector, art critic, and gallery director with close ties to the new generation of artists led by the painters Alejandro Obregón (1920–92) and Fernando Botero (b. 1932), and the sculptors Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923–2004) and Édgar Negret (1920?2012). The opposing view is held by Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–70), a Colombian artist who has been established in the local scene since the late 1930s; he is a painter, draftsman, and muralist, and at the time this article appeared, was inclined to realism in his work.       


In this document, Eiger is opposed to the idea of collecting on the grounds that it creates static collections of works. He instead proposes a more dynamic system that views collections as being alive and evolutionary, allowing them to be impacted by changes in the world and in society. 


Casimiro Eiger advocates art criticism, exposure, exhibition, and promotion on behalf of modernity in all aspects of art, including artistic practices. In 1954, Eiger expressed his ideas mainly in written form, in this case in a journalistic context, as in his response to the article by Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo. But he also spoke out on his radio program Exposiciones y Museos, broadcast on Radio Difusora Nacional de Colombia, and in his role as director of the Galería El Callejón in Bogotá.     

Alexandra Mesa Mendieta
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Jaime Angel Villegas, Bogota, Colombia