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  • ICAA Record ID
    Respuesta de Jorge Romero Brest / Jorge Romero Brest
    Ver y Estimar : cuadernos de crítica artística (Buenos Aires, Argentina). -- Vol. 2, no. 27 (Abr. 1952)
    p. 15-24
    Journal article – Letters
    Romero Brest, Jorge. "Respuesta de Jorge Romero Brest." Ver y Estimar: cuadernos de crítica artística (Buenos Aires), vol. 2, no. 27 (April 1952): 15-24.
    Sarfatti, Margherita

Open letter in which Jorge Romero-Brest, director of the journal Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder], responds to Margherita Sarfatti. According to the heading that introduces it, this argument originated in a private letter—of which the logic can be deduced from the affirmations and questions brought forward by Sarfatti—upon which the Italian critic, who collaborated as a correspondent in Italy for the above-mentioned journal, sent an extensive note under the title: "Carta a un amigo que me increpa de ‘rechazar en bloque’ el arte abstracto. Apología de M. G. de Sarfatti". [Letter to a Friend that Reprimands Me for the ‘En Masse Rejection’ of Abstract Art. Apology by M.G. de Sarfatti.”]


The journal Ver y estimar was an editorial project directed by Jorge Romero Brest (1905-1989) that stimulated critical thought and helped spread the renovation of the artistic languages, as a function of the modernizing perspective advocated by its director. Between April, 1948, and December, 1953, thirty-four editions of the journal went into circulation. After several months of interruption, ten additional editions, corresponding to the second phase, which ended in October 1955, were published. The Ver y estimar editorial project evolved in collaboration with a group of students that emerged from the art history courses that Romero Brest taught after being dismissed as a professor by the Peronist official authorities. The editor-in-chief was Damián Carlos Bayón (1915-95). 

Jorge Romero Brest was a professor, critic, and promoter in the Argentinean visual arts field. During the first government of Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974), after Romero Brest was forced to resign his official posts, he became director of Ver y estimar. Later, the de facto government that removed Perón from power on September 16, 1955, self-named as the Revolución Libertadora [Liberating Revolution], named him Comtroller of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. In 1956, he assumed the museum’s directorship until 1963. During the 1960s, Romero Brest was at the helm of the Centro de Artes Visuales [Visual Arts Center] of the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella. 

Margherita Sarfatti was born in 1883 into a Jewish family in Venice and married attorney Cesare Sarfatti. In 1909, she moved to Milan, the city where she started her career as an art critic in  L'Avanti!, La Voce and La Difesa delle Lavoratrici, among other newspapers. Beginning in 1919, Sarfatti joined the editing team of the daily Popolo d'Italia [People of Italy], under the direction of Benito Mussolini, to whom she became linked in the early-1920s.  Convinced that Milan could conquer a axial role in Italian culture, Sarfatti—together with Jewish gallery owner Lino Pesaro—promoted the Novecento group. Despite her relationship with Mussolini, Sarfatti could not escape the anti-Semitic restrictions established in 1938 and had to go into exile to Argentina, where she stayed until 1947. 

This source has been selected because it brings to the fore Romero Brest’s opinion on Abstract art, as well as the debate initiated with Sarfatti regarding the statements by this Italian art critic. This document involves an open letter sent by Sarfatti to Romero Brest, published in the Ver y estimar magazine, which can be consulted in document no. 742888. 

Cristina Rossi
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fundación Espigas.