Domínguez, Alfonso. “Latitud Sur 34º, Longitud 58º Oeste. Exposición Cándido Portinari”. CLINAMEN. Año I, Nº3. Revista Bimestral editada por estudiantes de la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias.(Montevideo, Julio-Agosto 1947):41.
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This article aligns itself among the critiques in 1947 on the work by the artist Cândido Portinari during his stay in Uruguay. They were carried out mainly by the TTA [Taller Torres García]. Alfonso Domínguez was opposed to the deformations and their representation of the human figure, although he himself would demand for “beauty and the love [as these] are the only means to reach the heart of man”. Published in an article in the magazine Clinamen, an article of ample intellectual and academic prestige at that time, these arguments drew attention for its naïveté, and because one of editorial directors responsible for the magazine for was the literary critic Ángel Rama. Such claims could never have been made by a spokesperson of the Asociación de Arte Constructivo [Association of Constructive Art] under the auspices of Joaquín Torres García.
The Brazilian painter Cândido Portinari (1903–62) arrived in Uruguay in 1947, at a time when the country had acquired a relative amount of economic development due to the industries generated following the imports substitution regime caused by the Second World War, and where there was a prosperous middle-class eager of cultural offers. The exhibition of Portinari in Montevideo had in this context a broad welcome, particularly by the intellectual sectors linked to the political left, but also by the more conservative Catholic sectors. Also, since the Brazilian artist had cultivated a Christian background to his works with human figures that he had made in Montevideo in the first sketches for his great painting A Primeira Missa no Brasil. He had received then strong criticism from the liberal sector led by Joaquín Torres García (1874–1949) for creating an “imitative” work of art whose only concern was to arouse various states of emotion.
In the case of the author, Alfonso Domínguez, the critique lacked adequate contextual theory and it seemed nothing but an opinion, possibly, by a student from the Humanities and Sciences Faculty that that most likely was incorporated as a member of the prestigious university press, under the intellectual responsibility of Ángel Rama. Rama acquired relevance as he gauged and highlighted the reductionisms and the conceptual ambiguities that prevailed in these types of polemics even though they were within an academic environment.
[For additional reading please refer to the ICAA digital archive and the following texts by the Brazilian Art Critic Mário Pedrosa on Candido Portinari: (Untitled) [A pintura mural de autoria de Cândido Portinari] (doc. no. 1110857), “A Missa de Portinari” (doc. no. 1075493) and “Portinari” by Afonso Arinos de Melo Franco (doc. no. 1110887)].