The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The exhibition De David a nuestros días was held in Montevideo in 1941 as a result of the efforts of a number of French museums. Art historian René Huyghe, conservationist at The Louvre museum in Paris, oversaw the event. In the first chapter of this essay, Uruguayan critic José Pedro Argul explains the role France has played in the pictorial revolution that began in the nineteenth century and continues into the present. He expresses his unconditional support of how art has evolved in that country since the nineteenth century in what he calls the French revolution of painting—he argues that it is a result of another revolution, one of a political nature. Argul is somewhat impertinent and perhaps overly subjective when in agreement with Lionello Venturi, he affirms that French artists are superior to their counterparts from other European countries.
José Pedro Argul (1903–74) was an art critic who published widely. In his effort to support art in the realm of scholarship and other fields, he was a juror for the Primer Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes (1937) pursuant to designation from the Ministerio de Instrucción Pública; a contributor to the Buenos Aires-based publication Anuario Plástica, which facilitated exhibition exchange between Uruguay and Argentina; a member of the Misión Oficial a Europa (1948), a government-supported mission that traveled to Europe in order to advance Uruguayan art there; and president of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for ten years. This essay had been published previously in the Revista Nacional No. 29 [see the following texts by Argul in the ICAA digital archive: “Del ejercicio de la crítica de arte” (doc. no. 1227229) and “Educación para la belleza y el arte” (doc. no. 1226918)]. In it, Argul discusses the Exposición de la Pintura Francesa de David a nuestros días (1941), a touring show organized by a number of museums in France. The event, backed in Uruguay by the Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes (created in 1936), had great impact on the region, especially on its artistic milieu. Throughout the twentieth century, Uruguayan artists and critics were dazzled by French art. French art was able to transcend ideological differences between powerful local groups. Because cultivated local sectors admired France, the exhibition—held at the height of World War II—enjoyed widespread support and brought people together regardless of their previous opinions about art.