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In this essay, the historian Alfredo Boulton reviews the work of José María Cruxent. Boulton describes a number of the distinctive characteristics of this Spanish-Venezuelan artist’s varia-invención work, focusing mainly on its Informalist style. He points out how the artist’s personality influences his work, mentioning the wide range of materials he uses, and making indirect comparisons by referring to the Informalist works of other artists.
This brief essay by the well-known Venezuelan historian and art critic Alfredo Boulton (1908–95) was originally published in the catalogue for J. M. Cruxent, the exhibition presented at the Galería Champs Élysées in Caracas in 1971. The essay was subsequently used for the Cruxent. Obras recientes exhibition at the Sala Mendoza (1973). It was a landmark essay because, in addition to expressing the views of one of Venezuela’s most distinguished art critics, it also had a powerful influence on later articles written about this artist (such as the one by María Luz Cárdenas, for the Museo de Arte de Coro, in 1992).
This essay focuses exclusively on the Informalist works produced by the Catalan-born Venezuelan artist José María Cruxent (1911–2005), and ignores the “para-Kinetic” works he produced in the mid-1960s. Boulton compares Cruxent’s works to those of other Informalist artists—including Manuel Millares, Antoni Tàpies, and Modesto Cuixart, all of whom were Spanish—who used similar material elements. Boulton particularly notes the artist’s sensitivity, a trait that is all too evident in his work. The historian also mentions the violence, which is expressed in both the chromatic arrangement and in the “triple concept” of the artist’s “line, material, and color.” In the author’s opinion, the “fortuitous” elements that Cruxent uses in his work are just as valid as the traditional oils or watercolors. Boulton attempts to decipher the true meaning of “material” in this case, seeing it as something that goes much deeper than mere aesthetics. It is what Cruxent employs to create the intensely personal language that he then uses to express his own emotional, sensitive message.
For more information on the work of J. M. Cruxent, see his biography, written by María Luz Cárdenas in “El hombre que sabe leer la tierra” [doc. no. 1153744].