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    Varela y Orbegoso, Luis, 1878-1930
    Nota de arte : la exposición Sabogal / Clovis
    El Comercio (Lima, Perú). -- Jul. 15, 1919
    Newspaper article – notes
    Varela y Orgegoso, Luis [Clovis]. "Nota de Arte: la exposición Sabogal." El Comercio (Lima, Perú), July 15, 1919.

The author reviews José Sabogal’s paintings at his first exhibition in Lima, with the caveat that the works were viewed in unfavorable circumstances. An illness prevented him from seeing them at the gallery, and Sabogal himself brought them to his home. None of this made any difference; he still considers Sabogal “one of our best painters” and a remarkable colorist. The reviewer sees the painter Ignacio Zuloaga’s influence in Sabogal’s human figures, and speaks highly of the way “he captures expressions” and his “energetic, clean, and strong” brush strokes. He also notes how the painter captures the light in his landscapes. Finally, Varela y Orbegoso lauds Sabogal’s local emphasis and his use of appropriately local models.


This review of the first exhibition in Lima of work by José Sabogal, the founder of Peruvian indigenist painting, held at Casa Brandes in 1919, is by the Peruvian politician, historian, journalist, and cultural critic Luis Varela y Orbegozo, writing under his pseudonym “Clovis.”

Indigenist painting flourished in Peru from the 1920s to the 1940s as part of a broader movement that sought to redefine Peruvian identity in terms of indigenous elements. Although at some points it was entirely focused on the “indigenous” story and the glorious Inca past that also championed a mestizo identity portrayed as a result of the integration of “native” and “Hispanic” cultures. The main ideologue and unchallenged leader of the Indigenist movement in the visual arts was José Sabogal (1888–1956), whose profound interpretation of the concept of “being rooted” was deeply influenced by regional art movements in Spain (exemplified by Ignacio Zuloaga [1870–1945], among others) and in Argentina (Jorge Bermúdez [1883–1926], to mention just one); Sabogal spent a great deal of time in these countries during his formative years. When he returned to Peru in late 1918, he settled in Cuzco where he produced about forty oil paintings of people and scenes of the city; these works were subsequently shown in Lima (1919) at an exhibition that is considered the formal beginning of Indigenist painting in Peru. Sabogal’s second solo exhibition at the Casino Español (1921), established his reputation. He joined the faculty at the new Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1920, where he was eventually appointed director (1932–43). There he trained a group of painters who joined the Indigenist movement: Julia Codesido, Alicia Bustamante (1905–1968), Teresa Carvallo (1895–1988), Enrique Camino Brent (1909–1960), and Camilo Blas (1903–1985).

[There are many articles about this artist in the ICAA digital archive, including the following written by Sabogal: “Arquitectura peruana: la casona arequipeña (doc. no. 1173340); “La cúpula en América” (doc. no. 1125912); “Mariano Florez, artista burilador de "mates" peruanos, murió en Huancayo: José Sabogal su admirador y amigo, le rinde homenaje” (doc. no. 1136695); “Los mates burilados y las estampas del pintor criollo Pancho Fierro” (doc. no. 1173400); “Los 'mates' y el yaraví” (doc. no. 1126008); “La pintura mexicana moderna” (doc. no. 1051636); and “Sala de arte popular peruano en el Museo de la Cultura : selecciones de arte” (doc. no. 1173418)].

Gabriela Germaná Roquez, Gustavo Buntinx
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Luis Varela y Orbegoso, 1919