Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Ruiz Rosas y un arte integral / Alejandro Romualdo
    La Crónica (Lima, Perú). -- Ene. 9, 1955
    Newspaper article – Reviews
    Valle, Alejandro Romualdo. "Ruiz Rosas y un arte integral." La Crónica (Lima, Perú), January 9, 1955.

In the opinion of Alejandro Romualdo Valle, the work created by Alfredo Ruiz Rosas that recently won a first prize is evidence of a significant improvement in Peruvian art. He sees it as a result of the consolidation of several art trends that are producing work “in a new type of realism;” he calls it “integral art” because it “is nourished by everything.” He considers the push toward “specialization”—a leading characteristic of Modern art—to be a reduction of art to what is purely aesthetic, distancing it from humanism. In other words, this trend has emptied art of its most important meaning. Even if it does create a “new alphabet,” Romualdo believes that Abstract art fails to communicate any “transcendent message” in the midst of the postwar crisis of humanism. On the contrary meaning, “integral art” is the work that blends aesthetics with ethics. Thus, art must bear a message that is both emotional and sensory as well as useful and instructive. Most of all, it must revive our fragmented humanity and provide us with “a hybrid, Latin American, world art.”


Here the poet Alejandro Romualdo Valle praises the painter Alfredo Ruiz Rosas, on the occasion of the prize he was recently awarded for a work the writer sees as a new type of realism. 


In January 1955, the canvas Pan by Alfredo Ruiz Rosas (1926–2002) won the first prize at the Second Salón de Pintura Manuel Moncloa (Lima). [In the ICAA digital archive, see the article by Manuel Jesús Orbegozo, “Un “pan” común de todos los días, amasado por Alfredo Ruiz Rosas, ganó diez mil soles” (doc. No. 859785)]. Awarding the prize to the main representative of social realism in Peru had major repercussions in an art milieu polarized by the debate about Abstract art. Those who opposed nonfigurative art saw a model for contemporary painting in his work, even though it was tied to “reality” and to the general viewing public. For the journalist inspired by Marxism, Alejandro Romualdo Valle (1926–2008), Ruiz’s painting represented “integral art,” combining visual-art experimentation with human commitment. Thus, the winning artwork was a far cry from abstract, aestheticist “specialization.” This reading led to an extended debate with the Modernist art critic and architect Luis Miró Quesada Garland (1914–94), who—as a member of the jury at the Second Salón Moncloa—supported the prize winner for strictly artistic reasons [“En blanca y negra...,” by Garland (doc. No. 859805)]. The resulting debate revealed the intensity of the intellectual and political tensions unleashed by the eruption of nonfigurative art in Peru [see the following articles: by Garland, “En blanca y negra...” (doc. No. 859826), “Sobre un arte integral” (doc. No. 859917) and “Sobre un arte integral” (doc. No. 1227195); and by Alejandro Romualdo, “Sobre un arte integral (respuesta al arquitecto Luis Miró Quesada G.)” (doc. No. 1227139) and “Sobre un arte integral: punto final” (doc. No. 1227176)]. This exchange of opposing opinions can be compared with a debate about a year later when the first prize at the third round of the same competition was awarded to an abstract work by Fernando de Szyszlo (b. 1925) [see the articles: by Sebastián Salazar Bondy, “Artes Plásticas” (doc. No. 859662); by Garland, “En blanca y negra” (doc. No. 859754), and one more in his regular column “En blanca y negra…” (doc. No. 1137283); by Szyszlo, “Cartas al Director” (doc. No. 1227064); by Alejandro Romualdo, “Cuidado con la pintura: el arte por el arte abstracto —comentario al premio ‘Manuel Moncloa y Ordóñez’” (doc. No. 1227101); by Manuel Jesús Orbegozo, “Entrevista concreta a un pintor abstracto” (doc. No. 1227120); “La pintura abstracta: proceso de subjetivación —Szyszlo trata de explicar lo que pocos entienden” (unsigned) (doc. No. 1227046); and by Juan Manuel Ugarte Eléspuru, “12 meses de artes plásticas en Lima” (doc. No. 1137301)].

Ricardo Kusunoki
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Courtesy of a private archive, Lima, Peru