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This document is a transcription of one of the last lectures Joaquín Torres García gave at the Escuela Taller de Artes Plásticas (ETAP) in Montevideo. In it, he paves the way for cutting short the series of lectures he had been giving at that study center. Torres García explains that his pronounced Constructivist stance is “incompatible” with the ambiguous and eclectic bylaws of the ETAP.


This text is most likely a transcription of a lecture that Joaquín Torres García (JTG) gave at the Escuela Taller de Artes Plásticas (ETAP) in Montevideo on December 28, 1934. He expresses his bitter disappointment at the lack of enthusiasm for his ideas and at the obstacles he has come across due to the “eclectic” nature of the organization bylaws. The ETAP had been created in 1934, the same year that JTG had formed the Asociación de Arte Constructivo. In the context of that association, the artist gave classes at 1037 Uruguay Street, at a site that came to be known as Estudio 1037. The ETAP, meanwhile, was created by a group of artists who had returned to Montevideo from Paris (painters Carlos Prevosti, Carmelo Rivello, José Cuneo, Luis Mazzey, and Zoma Baitler, and sculptors Germán Cabrera and Bernabé Michelena). It was at the ETAP that in June 1934, JTG began his classes; he also took part in a group show with the ETAP artists held in December of that year. By that time, there was a good deal of pent-up tension and dissent, which led the artist to cut short his lecture series: the last one was given on January 11, 1935. The ETAP artists, who most sympathized with the discourse of JTG, were José Cuneo, Carmelo de Arzadun—who himself went through a “Constructivist” phase in the late thirties—Amalia Nieto, and Zoma Baitler. JTG clearly could not tolerate any approach to art other than his own, any vision that differed from the one at the basis of his own experience and faith. When he realized that his theory and practice would not reign supreme at the ETAP, he decided to leave, taking with him the artists willing to follow.

[For further reading, see the following texts by Joaquín Torres García in the ICAA digital archive: “Con respecto a una futura creación literaria” (doc. no. 730292); “Lección 132. El hombre americano y el arte de América” (doc. no. 832022); “Mi opinión sobre la exposición de artistas norteamericanos: contribución” (doc. no. 833512); “Nuestro problema de arte en América: lección VI del ciclo de conferencias dictado en la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de Montevideo” (doc. no. 731106); “Introducción [en] Universalismo Constructivo” (doc. no. 1242032); “Sentido de lo moderno [en Universalismo Constructivo]” (doc. no. 1242015); “Bases y fundamentos del arte constructivo” (doc. no. 1242058); and “Manifiesto 2, Constructivo 100%” (doc. no. 1250878)].

Gabriel Peluffo Linari
archivo Joaquín Ragni