Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Baena, José Gabriel
    Cronología / José Gabriel Baena
    El vuelo del arte : Dora Ramírez. --- Medellín, Colombia : Fondo Editorial Universidad EAFIT, 2009
    p. 111- 146 : ill.
    Book/pamphlet article – Chronology
    Baena, José Gabriel. "Cronología." In El vuelo del arte: Dora Ramírez, 111-146. Exh. cat., Medellín, Colombia: Fondo Editorial Universidad EAFIT, 2009.

This chapter provides a detailed and well-documented chronological profile of Dora Ramírez, the painter from Antioquia, illustrated with photographs from her own personal album. It describes her family life, her early marriage (and her six children), and the art instruction she sought once her kids were in school. She got most of her art education at the Instituto de Artes Plásticas at the Universidad de Antioquia, where she took classes with Aníbal Gil. She also took a couple of classes with the (North) American Richard Kathmann which, together with a trip to New York, convinced her to launch her professional art career. She started an avant-garde artistic and literary tertulia, or gathering, at her house on Caracas Street in Medellín. That house is no longer there. Medellín society took a dim view of her involvement in a tertulia of this nature, because she was a married woman. In time, Ramírez got divorced and focused on her career as a painter and art teacher. She participated in many local, national, and international exhibitions with work that took a very personal approach to some of the principles of Pop Art—such as flat, powerful colors—and indulged her interest in day-to-day activities and pop culture characters. Her particular expression of all these elements sought to encourage a renewal of the regional visual arts.     


This chapter is of particular interest because for the first time it presents a detailed chronological profile of the life and work of Dora Ramírez (b. 1923), the painter from Antioquia, based on some very thorough research. The text reviews the most important moments in her personal and professional life, highlighting her major exhibitions and quoting the response from the critics. It also quotes extensively from newspaper articles and interviews. Her teacher, Richard Kathmann, wrote the following in 1971: “(…) Dora Ramírez’s works are steeped in humanity (…) her work is a tribute to living. It is light, affirmation, joy, it is painting in and of itself, painting for the sake of painting. She creates miracles with her hands.”     


This “Chronology” is part of a book that was published as a tribute to the artist; the book includes statements from friends who used to attend the tertulias [gatherings] at her house, where the most prominent intellectual to participate was the writer Manuel Mejía Vallejo. 


The book includes an extensive selection of oil and acrylic paintings, and pencil and charcoal drawings (produced between 1961 and 1986). In the mid-1980s Ramírez stopped painting and focused more on her tango dancing; since then she has taken part in many public performances at national and international events.

Santiago Londoño Vélez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of José Gabriel Baena Gaviria, Medellín, Colombia