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    Lurçat, Jean
    Pintura al óleo y pintura mural / Jean Lurçat
    Signo (Buenos Aires, Argentina). -- oct. 1, 1933
    p. 1, 4-7, 10 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Lurçat, Jean. "Pintura al óleo y pintura mural." Signo (Buenos Aires), no.11 (October 1, 1933): 1, 4-7, 10.
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Taking readers on a journey through history, French artist and tapestry expert Jean Lurçat describes the difference between easel painting and frescoes. In Lurçat’s opinion, easel painting pertains to private property; whereas the fresco is a social product. He analyzes the relationship between painting and architecture in the “wall paintings” that would prepare the artworld for a renaissance in painting. In addition to Argentine art, Lurçat refers to historical examples.


After he was deported from the United States, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) traveled to Montevideo in February 1933 and on to Buenos Aires, where he set up a studio in late May. In the River Plate, he conducted technical testing and engaged in polemics based on his lecture, Los vehículos de la pintura dialéctico-subversiva  [The Vehicles of Dialectical/Subversive Painting], drafted on his last trip to the United States.

In the Argentine capital, Siqueiros showed his work at Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art Association], a liberal institution that sought to modernize the arts. His controversial lectures polarized the art world between the defenders of “arte puro” [art for art’s sake] and those who defended “arte político” [political art]. He drew support from Contra: La revista de los francotiradores [Contra: the Magazine for Snipers], whose editor was the leftist writer Raúl González Tuñón (1905–1974). He contributed to the daily newspaper Crítica [Critic], whose editor, Natalio Botana, commissioned him to execute a mural. The mural was to be made for the bar in the basement of Botana’s house, Los Granados, in Don Torcuato, in the province of Buenos Aires. The Equipo Poligráfico [Polygraphic Team], consisting of Siqueiros, Antonio Berni (1905-81), Lino Enea Spilimbergo (1896-1964), Juan Carlos Castagnino (1908-72) and Enrique Lázaro, created Ejercicio Plástico [Plastic Exercise] (1933) based on projected photographs of nude figures distorted by the curved surfaces. It was executed as a fresco on cement, with technical innovations in the use of power tools and industrial silicates.

This article appeared in Signo [Sign], a journal whose editor was the art critic, Leonardo Estarico. In June 1933, Siqueiros gave a controversial lecture at the Signo Art Gallery, and in December, he exhibited the sketches and photographs used for the mural Ejercicio Plástico. This document includes a series of notices published in Signo about the artist’s activities in Buenos Aires; the journal was important as a vehicle for circulating information in the Argentine art world. Signo would not take a position in these polemics but served as a democratic channel for airing them. In this issue, the journal also published an article by Jean Lurçat (1892–1966), a French artist who was an expert on tapestry cartoons as well as mural and easel painting. Thus, Signo was indirectly involved in the discussion about Siqueiros’s aesthetic positions on public art by placing them in an international context, not limited to either Latin American or communist ideology.

Roberto Amigo
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fundación Bartolomé Hidalgo, Buenos Aires.