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“El surrealismo de Poleo” is the third of five chapters in Simón Noriega’s book La Pintura de Héctor Poleo. In the chapter’s third section, entitled “Poleo y la cultura figurativa de los años cuarenta, Noriega reports that the Venezuelan artist came into contact with the socially committed figurative aesthetic of muralism while he was studying in Mexico, which was late in that movement’s development; by that time, European surrealist artistic exile including Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and Wolfgang Palen had arrived in Mexico triggered by The World War II. In Noriega’s view, that fact explains the humanist libertarian aesthetic that underlies the artist’s socially committed realism and sheds light on the surrealist facet of his work.


At the time it was written, this text by historian and art critic Simón Noriega (b. 1940) was one of the most extensive and thorough essays on the life and work of Venezuelan painter Héctor Poleo (1918–89). It is crucial to a broad understanding of Poleo’s production through the late sixties. The comments, analysis, and documentary information that Noriega provides regarding the possibility that the artist came into contact with the surreal aesthetic while studying in Mexico are key to understanding the later evolution of his work. The first and most important academic analysis of Poleo’s art, this essay includes a vast number references and ample documentation.


For additional texts on Poleo’s work, see Alberto Junyent’s reviews “Aromas de la gracia” (ICAA digital archive doc. no. 1153851) and “Obras recientes de Héctor Poleo” (doc. no. 1153835); Juan Liscano’s article “Pedro León Castro y Héctor Poleo” (doc. no. 850175); Simón Noriega’s text “Fuentes concretas del surrealismo de Poleo” (doc. no. 1153819); Denys Chevalier’s essay “Poleo: la opción simbolista” (doc. no. 1162167); Alfredo Boulton’s texts “Introducción” (doc. no. 1153883) and “El tema de la figura humana en la obra de Héctor Poleo” (doc. no. 1153964); Bégica Rodriguez’s “Hector Poleo, inventor y fabulador de formas” (doc. no. 1153899), the introduction to the exhibition catalogue for the show Poleo desconocido held in 1997; Sergio Antillano’s essay “Imagen sucesiva de Héctor Poleo” (doc. no. 1172085); Carlos Silva’s “Arte y Estilo de Héctor Poleo” (doc. no. 1172190), which forms part of his book Poleo. Categorías del espíritu; and Simón Noriega’s “¿Reinterpretación o Mímesis?” (doc. no. 1153792), which is featured in his book La Pintura de Héctor Poleo.

Félix Hernández
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Courtesy of Simón Noriega, Merida, Venezuela
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.