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The author identifies the principal characteristic of the works shown at the Primer Salón Annual de Pintura Peruana “as a strong and cohesive predilection for objectivity.” Among others, he highlights Alfredo Ruiz Rosas for his “successful blending of social and aesthetic values;” proving that “this new generation’s positive organization of aesthetic thought” has already overcome “purely formalist expression and the obsession with morbid disfiguration.” He classifies those who privilege “aesthetic value or aristocratic taste” within the concept of disfigurement. In his text, Alejandro Romualdo also suggests the existence of another type of painter; those who, putting aside their aesthetic achievements, continue “treading the already beaten path belonging to the artistic experiences of the past two wars.” He also believes that abstraction in Peru lacks representatives among the young, and that within the Salón only architect and sculptor Emilio Rodríguez Larraín can be upheld as an example. Nevertheless, he appreciates what he calls “a new pictorial disposition” among the young.


In this article Romualdo Valle reflects on the directions of current painting as seen in the Primer Salón Anual de Pintura Peruana, organized by the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos de Lima.


During the 1950s, Peruvian poet, draftsman and journalist Alejandro Romualdo Valle (1926-2008) was one of the principal detractors of abstract art in his country. In June 1951, he participated in the first local debate on this trend. [See in the ICAA digital archive this text by Valle, “Gran problems del arte peruano es la falta de críticos: “Xanno” (doc. no. 1150928).] His stance on art criticism at that time was contrary to any ideological bias: but this point of view, and his own poetry, were oriented toward a leftist militancy that developed during his time in Europe, between 1952 and 1953, when he studied literature in Madrid. Upon his return to Lima, his art criticism —published in La Crónica newspaper—would stand out for its causticity against abstract art, which was then being debated within the local art scene. At the start of 1955, Valle debated the principal ideologue of modernism in Peru, architect Luis Miró Quesada Garland (1914-94), regarding the triumph of social realist painter Alfredo Ruiz Rosas (1926-2002) at the Salón Moncloa [see “En blanca y negra...” (doc. no. 859826); “Sobre un arte integral” (doc. no. 859917), ambos escritos por Garland]. That same year, in connection with the Primer Salón Annual de Pintura Peruana, Valle evaluated the country’s emerging pictorial orientations that, in his understanding, confirmed the victory of a renascent figuration. Within a context that refuted his predictions about the end of the 1950s, Valle was consistent in his defense of “committed art” through various articles published in magazines circulating in the Peruvian capital.

Ricardo Kusunoki
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Courtesy of a private archive, Lima, Peru