The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The historian Alfredo Armas Alfonzo studies mid-twentieth century Venezuelan art (between 1940 and 1958) through the survey of the first nineteen years of art salons in the country. Following his analysis of the sociocultural context that certain national modern artists were subjected to (including those artists transitioning from the nineteenth century to the next), Armas Alfonzo describes the facts, which in his judgment, distinguished those years. The critic then relates what he finds during the compilation of information on the winning artwork in each of the nineteen salons. And then finally, he presents each of the prizewinning artists of their own period.
In 1940, two years after the opening of its new site, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas held and the first edition of the Salón Oficial Anual de Arte Venezolano. This event marked the beginning of the artistic contests that, for nearly three decades, would evaluate the emerging talent in the national visual arts scene for nearly three decades. The award made it easy for the winners to travel abroad and make direct contact with the European avant-garde. The Venezuelan writer, critic, and historian Alfredo Armas Alfonzo (1921–1990) highlights the scope of the competitive program. He considers the Salón Oficial Anual de Arte Venezolano (1940–58) to be the most important exhibition in the visual arts and the most important event in the country. Similarly, he also presents the opposing view of the period studied, pointing to inserted ravings within the general historical and artistic context, therefore giving a broader and balanced view of the facts. Regardless of the critical opinion he embraces, the text relies on key research data that is revealing of the evolution of the art salons in Venezuela. It also offers a detailed chronology of the winning entries throughout the entire period, with their respective photographic reproductions and portraits of the artists. The last recorded Salón Oficial Anual de Arte Venezolano was in 1969.