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  • ICAA Record ID
    Banko, Catalina
    [José Luis Cuevas realiza sus primeros dibujos ...] / Catalina Banko
    José Luis Cuevas : dibujos y grabados en colecciones venezolanas : guía didactica Museo de Bellas Artes. -- Caracas : Museo de Bellas Artes, 1985
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Banko, Catalina. "[José Luis Cuevas realiza sus primeros dibujos ...]" In José Luis Cuevas: dibujos y grabados en colecciones venezolanas: guía didactica Museo de Bellas Artes. Caracas : Museo de Bellas Artes, 1985
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In a text on the drawings and prints of José Luis Cuevas written in 1985, the art historian Catalina Banko compares his work to that of the Mexican muralists in order to show the major differences between them. To accomplish this, the Venezuelan historian makes use of the artist’s own statements and the statements of other Latin American writers, artists, and art critics, including Alejo Carpentier, Fernando de Szyszlo, and Juan Acha. Banko identifies the ideological and educational purposes of the mural movement—which was defined by huge works. This was very different from Cuevas’s intimate, sensitive tone vis-à-vis the drama of man in contemporary society. She notes that most of the artwork created by Cuevas features small dimensions. 


This text by the Venezuelan art historian Catalina Banko on the drawings and prints created by José Luis Cuevas (b. 1934) places the work by this Mexican artist in a most interesting context. Banko compares his artistic outlook and artwork with the historic mural movement, which continued to exercise great influence on Cuevas as he started out in his art life in the mid-1950s. As background for her article, Banko collected statements from artists, critics, and writers in that period who commented on the artist’s work, presented in this Venezuelan exhibition. The show provided a significant selection of Cuevas prints borrowed from Caracas collections; these were works that had not been seen around the city since the first exhibition of the artist’s work in Venezuela (at Galería de Arte Contemporáneo in 1958). Since the language is simple and clear enough to make it accessible to a broad audience, it is evident that this text was designed for educational purposes. However, it should be noted that the Banko text does not cover Cuevas’s printmaking techniques, periods, and the interesting relationship between the artist’s drawings and prints. The works to which she pays most attention are the drawings: “In the drawings, Cuevas often attempts to catch that fleeting moment in which death takes hold of a human being.” The historian emphasizes aspects of interest: the small format of the works, the artist’s intimate tone and his concern with human problems that arise from emotion rather than reason. Such typical features of Cuevas’s work (throughout his entire life in art) are evident in his drawings and prints. 

Milagros González
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Courtesy of Catalina Banko.