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This article published in El Mate journal in 1967 supports the stance embraced by a group of artists in Uruguay who, thirty years earlier, had decided not to submit work to the Primer Salón Nacional de Artes Plásticas during the dictatorship of Gabriel Terra. In the sixties, the issue surrounding the salon was the repudiation on the part of the Unión de Artistas Plásticos del Uruguay (UAPU) of the fact that, despite the organization’s proposal, there was not a single recognized artist on the jury. The article recounts some details of the controversy and provides information about the work on exhibit. 


The Unión de Artistas Plásticos del Uruguay (UAPU) was created in 1935, the year before the dictatorship under Gabriel Terra appointed the Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes. This period witnessed a flourishing of artists and artists’ groups—the Escuela Taller de Artes Plásticas (ETAP), the Asociación de Arte Constructivo (AAC), the Grupo Cézanne, and many others—that engaged in debate on aesthetics. The military coup staged by Terra in 1933 and the broader situation leading up to World War II divided artists and groups as they felt the need to take a political stance. Indeed, the UAPU, which managed to exercise some influence on the government, divided for political reasons, and disbanded in 1937.


This article in the September 1967 issue of El Mate journal sheds light on the creation of the Primer Salón de los Independientes [on that subject, see in the ICAA digital archive “1er Salón Independiente de Artes Plásticas [agosto 1937]” (doc. no. 1186701)], which opened as a counter-event in 1937 just days before the opening of the Salón Oficial. The “historical” divisions within the UAPU in the thirties were relevant to the conflicts that ensued between organizations of artists and the government in the sixties. Indeed, entire paragraphs from statements issued against the government in the thirties are transcribed in this article. The text also contains paragraphs from a speech by the spokesman for the Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes that urged the country to come together politically and attempted to rally support amongst artists for nationalist and conservative art. Strangely, the “Fatherland” is described as “Dulcinea del Toboso.”


[For further reading, see the following texts in the archive: issued by the Poder Ejecutivo [Executive Branch], Montevideo, Uruguay, “Decreto del P.E. que instituye la Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes” ( doc. no. 1186589); and issued by the Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Previsión Social, “Reglamento del Salón [Primer Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes, Montevideo, 1936” (doc. no. 1186660)].

Gabriel Peluffo Linari
Reproducido con el permiso de Joaquín Aroztegui en su carácter de redacotor responsable de la revista "El Mate".
Archivo del Museo Juan Manuel Blanes