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 1973, the Colombian printmaker Luis Ángel Rengifo published the book Caminos, paisajes y museos, an account of his forty-five-day journey through Europe. The book traces his steps from the time he boarded a plane in Bogotá on April 26, 1970, until he returned on June 9. His crowded itinerary took him to several cities in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, and finally, London. “It was such a quick trip” that this chapter only includes his impressions of two Belgian cities, Brussels, and Antwerp. Rengifo describes the Belgian countryside, seeing prairies that he compares to the Bogotá Savanna in Colombia. His notes record his visits to museums and other iconic sites in these two cities with a tour group. He was impressed with the Belgian countryside, and now understands why Flemish artists included it in their paintings; he also now sees a close relationship between those paintings and the countryside and villages they portrayed. After visiting the Royal Museum in Antwerp and some nearby buildings, the group drives to the Dutch border; on the way, Rengifo tells a story and closes this stage of his journey with a description of the tulip fields he sees spread out along the side of the road.
This chapter of Caminos, paisajes y museos—the book by the Colombian printmaker Luis Ángel Rengifo (1906-86)—is important because it is a record of his first trip to Europe. When he returned to Bogotá, he wrote about the emotional experience of visiting “the galleries of those immense artists” and “seeing the work of those geniuses,” referring to the Renaissance and Flemish artists Michelangelo Buonarroti, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Sandro Botticelli, Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, and Johannes Vermeer. This book, now all but forgotten, has never been considered part of Rengifo’s artistic body of work, in spite of the fact that it records his personal impressions of the countryside and art of the Old World. He took a tour of sorts, and in just a few days, visited a number of cities in ten European countries. The speed of the trip notwithstanding, he recorded some amazing descriptions which allow the reader to picture the journey and be swept along through Western and Eastern Europe. In an interview that was published in September 1953, Rengifo confided that his greatest wish was to visit Europe. In time, his dream came true and he took this journey and then published his impressions in this book.
Luis Ángel Rengifo has been described as the pioneer of the printmaking boom in Colombia, because when he returned from Mexico he reinstated the printmaking and lithography chair at the art faculty at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (1951), where he was a drawing and printmaking professor, and was eventually named Deacon of the Escuela de Bellas Artes (1964) at that same university. He was posted to Mexico as the chancellor of the Colombian Consulate (1946), and was then appointed to be the Colombian vice-consul to Mexico (1947?50). When his prints were exhibited at the Galería El Callejón in April 1956, they were favorably reviewed by Marta Traba (1923–83), the well-known Argentine art critic who was extremely influential in Colombian art circles, and the Viennese critic Walter Engel (1908–2005) who, like Traba, lived in Colombia. The prize awarded to Rengifo at the XI Salón Anual de Artistas Colombianos (1958) for his linocut Hambre (1958), indicated a change in attitude toward printmaking, because at this event, drawing and printmaking were classified for the first time as artistic languages in their own right with distinct qualities of their own.