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Written in the form of a letter, this article discusses the composition of the Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes, the agency charged with organizing and operating the first Salón Nacional de Artes Plásticas, which includes selecting jurors to judge the competition. The article blames the Ministro de Instrucción Pública y Previsión Social for having excluded artists from the decision-making process; it also identifies the non-artistic interests that benefit from this marginalization. Though brief, the article is of particular interest because it mentions the rejection of official initiatives sponsored by the more conservative segments of society, which were all supporters of the Gabriel Terra (1933-39) dictatorship. The article warns about the government’s arbitrary selection of juries, thus complementing other documents that express the same concern, which became an obsession during the 1930s.        


The author calls the CNBA (Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes) a surrogate for the ideological and economic interests of the Gabriel Terra (1873–1942) dictatorial regime that took power in Uruguay in 1933. He describes it as an eccentric organization consisting of large land owners, businessmen, lawyers, and pelucones [a name used for powerful members of the local aristocracy]—in a word, insensitive people. The CNBA, according to the article, is a conservative institution in terms of its ideas about art because it provides no guarantees for artists. The author warns about the danger of granting this Comisión the legal power to select most of the jurors for the first Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes. He rejects the idea on social and political grounds, and lays the blame for the appointments at the feet of Eduardo Víctor Haedo, the Ministro de Instrucción Pública y Previsión Social. He also calls for “art” that contradicts the government’s view: artists do not produce their art to flatter.         


[On the subject of the Primer Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes and the ideological clashes with contemporary art groups see, in the ICAA digital archive: “1er Salón Independiente de Artes Plásticas [agosto 1937]” (anonymous) (doc. no.1186701); “Decreto del P.E. que instituye la Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes” (anonymous) (doc. no. 1186589); and “El jurado designado por la Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes no contempla las aspiraciones de los plásticos” (anonymous) (doc. no. 1225373)].

María Eugenia Grau, Gabriel Peluffo
Archivo Joaquín Arozteguy