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    Portner, Leslie Judd
    2 contrasting exhibits here / Leslie Judd Portner
    Washington Post and Times Herald (Washington, U.S.A). --- Ene. 30, 1955
    Journal article – Reviews
    Portner, Leslie Judd. "2 Contrasting Exhibits Here." Washington Post and Times Herald (Washington, USA), January 30, 1955.
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In her article “2 Contrasting Exhibits Here,” the North American critic Leslie Judd Portner mentions two exhibitions that were held simultaneously at the Pan-American Union in Washington, featuring the works of the Swiss artist Hans Erni (b. 1909) and the Colombian painter Alejandro Obregón, respectively. The article focuses on a formal review of some of Obregón’s paintings. Judd Portner begins with a biographical sketch in which she refers to the painter’s influences, but clarifies that the paintings at the exhibition are examples of the Colombian artist’s characteristic style. She discusses the composition and the shades of color applied in a single chromatic range in some of the paintings; and, in others, she underscores the power of the image as a result of the painter’s drawing skill, the legacy of his training in the craft. In closing, the reviewer points out that although some of the works seem confused and appear to lack a “clear compositional route,” others are “extraordinarily competent.” Judd Portner claims to see a future of great promise in the artist’s talent and good taste.  


Although he was born in Cataluña, Spain, Alejandro Obregón (1920-1992) is considered one of the first modern artists in Colombia to have explored Abstraction, consolidating an artistic language of his own that absorbed a heterogeneous confluence of visual approaches that he saw in European modern art. His paintings are based on a constant analysis of the works of modern artists such as Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso, as well as artists who were born in Colombia such as Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–1970). Obregón also found inspiration in what he saw in his own country: the scenery, political events, and the bloodiest expressions of violence. As a result of his travels in Europe, his various jobs, his frequent quarrels with the Academy, and his shrewd power of observation, he developed a concise and inspiring style of painting that was all his own.     


Leslie Judd Portner wrote for the entertainment section of the Washington Post from about 1952 to 1959, during which time she covered the art events that were taking place in the capital city. She also frequently reviewed the exhibitions that were held at the Pan-American Union, all of which were organized by the Cuban critic José Gómez Sicre (1916–1991). Judd Portner wrote about some of the Mexican artists: José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), the retrospective of works by Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991), and the commercial and market success of José Luis Cuevas (1934), among others. 


This journalist reviewed Obregón’s exhibition and submitted a formal analysis of some of the works he presented. She also discussed his status as a major figure in Colombian art and his fame in other countries. This article was published in 1955, the same year in which Obregón represented Colombia at the III Bienal de São Paulo [3rd Sao Paulo biennial], and exhibited his work Mesa del Gólgota [Table at Golgotha] at the III Bienal de Madrid [3rd Madrid Biennial], where he won the prize.   

Camilo Leyva Espinel
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia