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.
Nota periodística sobre la trayectoria artística de José Sabogal, entonces trabajando en una nueva pintura de título Garcilaso. El autor señala que “en el rostro de la figura defínense, gracias a un hábil efecto de luz, las dos razas”, y añade que el pintor sigue “empeñado en la obra que hace tiempo inició y que hoy se ha convertido en credo y escuela de raigambre netamente peruana”. A propósito de la primera exposición de Sabogal en Lima (1919), se remarca que “en un ambiente de influencia y copias extranjeras fue el primero que volvió los ojos hacia lo propio”. Asimismo, el redactor incide en que, para Sabogal, “una pintura peruana debe buscar el camino hacia las tres capas de formación: la india, la española y la chola”. Tras su viaje a México (1923), donde pudo apreciar el auge que adquirió el muralismo a través de la llamada Escuela Mexicana, este “intensificó su labor con resultados amplios y constructivos”. Ello habría suscitado un ataque hacia lo que se consideraba la “pintura fea” del indigenismo, descontento que, a su juicio, provenía de “quienes se muestran partidarios de las influencias europeas”. Al contrario, si este movimiento “llega a abrirse más amplio camino (…) y llega a las representaciones murales en fresco, será posible que con el tiempo cristalice el mote de Escuela Peruana”.
Later interviews, like this one, not only address specific aspects of the Indigenist painter and his work; they also tend to present an overall assessment of his career, seeking to rehabilitate Sabogal at a time when Indigenism (which was harshly criticized by avant-garde movements) was no longer as highly esteemed as it had once been. The interviewer also mentions the outpouring of support for the painter when he resigned his position as director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes del Perú in 1943. After an eight-year interval there was still hope for the emergence of a form of mural art with a social message. As regards the relationship between Indigenism and the traditional arts, the interview underscores Sabogal’s efforts to overcome the art world’s disdain for works of this kind and the general indifference toward them in a country with a sizeable indigenous population. 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 Inca past that was considered to have been glorious, it 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 one-man show, 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, such as Julia Codesido, Alicia Bustamante (1905–68), Teresa Carvallo (1895–1988), Enrique Camino Brent (1909–60), and Camilo Blas (1903–85). In the mid-1930s a powerful movement emerged to oppose the Indigenist style—which was perceived as official and exclusive—and eventually, in 1943, Sabogal was dismissed from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. Supporters of Indigenism viewed this move as unjust, and rallied to the painter’s defense in letters, newspaper articles, and social events. In Sabogal’s final period—from the mid-1940s until his death in 1956—he was hard at work again, producing a large number of paintings in his studio, which led to his last exhibition, held at the Sociedad de Arquitectos del Perú (Lima) in 1954. At this time he was also interested in promoting the practice of muralism in Peru (along the lines of the Mexican example), and in studying traditional art. These were interests he pursued after he was reappointed director of the Instituto de Arte Peruano (Museo Nacional de la Cultura Peruana) in 1946, and returned to his exploration of “mestizo art,” as reflected in his paintings of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. [There are a great many articles about this artist in the ICAA digital archive, notably the following by Sabogal himself: “Arquitectura peruana: la casona arequipeña (doc. no. 1173340); “La cúpula en América” (doc. no. 1125912); “Mariano Flórez, 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)].