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In this essay on Luisa Richter [written in 1969], the critic Juan Calzadilla provides an overview of Venezuelan art during the 1950s and 1960s. He refers to some of the artists whose work has evolved whether through different styles (Action painting, Kinetic Art, Constructivism, figurative art and Pop Art), or by abandoning painting. He describes in detail the nature of Richter’s work as well as her main influences and the identifying traits of the work she creates. Calzadilla leads us on a tour through the artist’s different phases and styles, from Expressionism and Informalism to figurative art, all marked by her dedication to drawing.
The art critic and historian Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931), writer of this essay on the Venezuelan artist born in Germany Luisa Richter (1928 – 2015), is distinguished by being the main promoter of Informalism in Venezuela. That is why he accords special importance to this trend in Richter’s work. While this essay is broader, with several changes of form and content, the critic’s idea is based on the text of a catalogue assembled for the exhibition Luisa Richter. Dibujos (Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 1964). Calzadilla considers this to be her most important exhibition. Here, the writer provides an overview of Informalism in Venezuela, placing Richter’s work in context and relating it to various artists working in that trend. Emphasis is placed on the way she has confronted what was called the “Action painting problem.” One of the important ideas in this essay is that while Richter tries out the different techniques and styles, she manages to maintain a great coherence in her work, most likely inherited from German Expressionism. This influence (also reflected in the work of German painters such as Willy Baumeister and Wols) is evident in two outstanding characteristics in her work: her dedication to drawing and the destruction of form. Moreover, Calzadilla compares Richter’s work with that of Armando Reverón, given the autobiographical nature of both bodies of work. To the writer, this text is an informational review, designed to bring to light the merits of this little-known artist.
[As a supplementary reading, see the ICAA digital archive for another essay by Juan Calzadilla (untitled) [“En los últimos años se ha suscitado un gran interés por el dibujo…”] (doc. No. 1161048) and one written by Ricardo Pau-Llosa “Luisa Richter: Trascendiendo lo abstracto” (doc. No. 1161822)].