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    Cuidado con la pintura : el arte por el arte abstracto : comentario al premio “Manuel Moncloa y Ordóñez / por Alejandro Romualdo
    La Crónica (Lima, Perú). -- Oct. 23, 1955
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Valle, Alejandro Romualdo. "Cuidado con la pintura: el arte por el arte abstracto: comentario al premio "Manuel Moncloa y Ordoñez." La Crónica (Lima, Perú), October 23, 1955.

Alejandro Romualdo Valle critiques the III Salón de Pintura Manual Moncloa which, in his judgment, posits “abstract art as a complete substitute for art,” arguing that abstraction divides man from art, thus debilitating the latter. [He states] that because abstract art is born of negations and complicit muteness, it becomes “non-figurative, non-ideological, non-committal, and we do not hesitate that is non-painting.” He also believes that the self-proclaimed “unlimited artistic possibilities” only result in repetitive forms. From the supposed vacuity of the trend displayed in this competition, the author only exempts the winner, Fernando de Szyszlo, for his “chromatic style.” He also identifies the realist work by Alfonso Ruiz Rosas (who did not participate in the competition because he had won the previous year) as an authentic manifestation of the Peruvian reality in the manner of “a passive protest.” Romualdo laments the absence of figurative painters in the competition, which he believes indicates the “disappearance of painting” due to the “hegemony of audacity.”


In 1955, painter Fernando de Szyszlo (b. 1925) won first prize at the III Salón de Pintura Manual Moncloa, which eventually became the most important [competition] within the Peruvian arts scene. Szyszlo had played a key role in the defense and dissemination of abstract art since his return to Lima (in 1951), both through his own work and his contentious zeal that sparked debate (see the ICAA digital archive article “Dice Fernando Syszlo que no hay pintores en el Perú ni América: el joven pintor peruano declara sentir su pintura y la de los demás pero no puede explicarla” (no author) (doc. no. 1137793)]. The success of “non-figurative” art shows its growing importance within the Lima arts scene, especially considering that the previous year’s prize had been awarded to Alfredo Ruiz Rosas (1926-2002), a painter of the social realism trend. This was another event that marked the era, and one that generated its own debate.

[For more on this topic, see the following: by Orbegozo, “Un ‘pan’ común, de todos los días, amasado por Alfredo Ruiz Rosas, ganó diez mil soles” (doc. no. 859785); by Luis Miró Quesada Garland “En blanca y negra…” (doc. no. 859805), “En blanca y negra” (doc. no. 859826), “Sobre un arte integral…” (doc. no. 1227195), and “Sobre un arte integral” (doc. no. 859917); by Alejandro Romualdo “Sobre un arte integral (respuesta al arquitecto Luis Miró Quesada G.)” (doc. no. 1227139), “Sobre un arte integral : punto final” (doc. no. 1227176), and “Ruiz Rosas y un arte integral” (doc. no. 1227027)]. Although figurative artists had boycotted the III Salón Moncloa, the higher participation by abstract artists is evidence of the trend’s success among young artists, a fact later confirmed by the I Salón de Arte Abstracto in 1958.

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